University of Tennessee

ACS: Spring Hill, Nashville Metro Lead Fastest-Growing Areas in Census Release

December 12, 2018

The Spring Hill and Thompson’s Station communities showed the highest growth in the state, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.

Since the last data release in 2012, the census tracts—located south of Nashville and roughly bounded by Interstate 65, Interstate 840 and Columbia Pike—grew by 6,190 people from 21,051 to 27,241.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008–12 and 2013–17, Compiled by Tennessee State Data Center, Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Updated statistics for each of Tennessee’s nearly 1,500 census tracts were included in the 2013–17 ACS data. Tracts are sub-county sized and are used to tabulate population and other demographic information.

Across the state, 268 tracts (18 percent) showed statistically significant increases in population. Measurable declines were seen in 90 tracts (6 percent).

Neighboring areas in metro Nashville continued to lead growth across the state. Twelve of the 20 fastest-growing tracts were located in the 14-county metro area. Nashville accounted for 46 percent of tracts with increases.

“Population change across communities tends to be uneven,” said Tim Kuhn, director of the Tennessee State Data Center. “These small-area trend numbers give insight into where communities are growing—or declining—relative to the state as whole.

“Changing population affects demand for services and infrastructure, and it’s important for communities to be able to understand both the location and the degree of change.”

Of the 90 tracts in the state showing statistically significant declines in population, 29 were located in rural areas and 28 were found in metro Memphis.

*Includes tracts with statistically significant increases or decreases in population. Tracts without population changes falling with the survey margin of error are excluded.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008–12 and 2013–17. Compiled by Tennessee State Data Center, Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“Aside from growth in Middle Tennessee, the decreasing population stands out in some rural counties and in the core of Memphis and Shelby County,” Kuhn said.

Thursday’s release features data collected between 2013 and 2017 on more than 40 demographic, housing, social and economic topics, including subjects such as commuting, education, employment, home value, income, poverty and health insurance.

As the nation’s largest household survey, the ACS is the only annual data set that produces this range of statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties. For the three-fourths of counties with populations too small to produce single-year statistics—2,323 counties—it is the only available data set and covers all geographic areas, regardless of size, down to the block-group level. Access the five-year ACS statistics through the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Tennessee State Data Center is housed within the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, a part of UT’s Haslam College of Business. Its mission is to provide efficient access to U.S. census data and products, training and technical assistance to data users and feedback to the Census Bureau on data usability, as well as assisting with state and local government data needs and operational issues.

Additional content:

An interactive online map is available to include in your publications. The map shows the 20 fastest-growing census tracts across the state. Navigate through the list of tracts by clicking the bullets at the top of the screen.

View Map


Tim Kuhn (865-974-6070,

Erin Hatfield (865-974-6086,