Johnson City leads region’s 2021 population estimates

NOTE: The Census Bureau has added its contribution to the often-talked-about topic of population growth. Any of the discussions should contain the disclaimer that precise population counts are difficult, if not impossible due to the ever-changing number of deaths, births, and new residents relocating to the region. Even the 10-year Census data is subject to revision for undercounts, etc. Most of the counts are estimates. Some are better than others. The Census city and incorporated places count is the first cousin to county population county. A report on that can be by CLICKING HERE. With that said, here’s what the 2021 Census Bureau population estimates for cities and incorporated places in Northeast Tennessee look like.

Johnson City claimed the lion’s share of the city and town population growth in 2021. Its April 1, 2020 – July 1, 2021, estimated gain was 702 people – that’s better than double any other city or town in the most current count. The next American Community Survey will be the first population count for the 2021 calendar year. It should be available in April next year.

Sorted by population estimate gain/loss

Jonesborough had the area’s best year-over-year growth rate. And its percentage gain was significantly higher than the other entities.

It’s also noteworthy that Washington Co.’s two jurisdictions accounted for more population gains than the larger Sullivan Co.

All but three of the region’s 17 cities and towns saw population gains. The three with population losses were Elizabethton, Erwin the Unicoi.

As expected, the highest population gains were in the region’s larger cities, with one exception – Greeneville. What wasn’t expected by many observers is that Bristol gained more population than Kingsport, which has one of the region’s most aggressive relocation media and social media presence.

There were six cities or towns with a year-over-year population growth rate of 1% or better. That’s a strong one-year growth factor. Only two of the area’s major cities – Bristol and Johnson City – were at that level.

According to the Census Bureau, although the COVID-19 pandemic has not officially ended, the first release of population estimates for cities and towns this decade reveals how population growth trends shifted during the first year of the pandemic.

Some of the fastest-growing cities before the pandemic grew at a much slower rate after it started, changing the rankings among the top 15 gainers. While many rankings of cities and towns remained roughly the same, there were notable differences in the magnitudes of change.

The new estimates also show that small towns in the South grew on an average of 0.4%.

Here’s how the Census Bureau calculated the estimates, “Unlike the decennial census, which aims to count every person living in the United States, the annual population and housing unit estimates for states, counties, cities, and towns are developed using various administrative data sources, such as birth and death certificates and tax return statistics on people who changed residences.

The decennial census serves as a starting point for each decade of subcounty population estimates.

Cities and towns are more likely than larger geographies to annex land or disincorporate. We apply these types of legal boundary changes to the decennial census to create an updated base for population and housing units.

Such geographic updates are made annually, so that each new time series of estimates we produce begins from a newly updated geographic base. This “estimates base” created from the census is essential to accurately distributing the population.

More details on city and town populations are available in the subcounty methodology statement.