Your Guide To Demographics In Memphis, TN

Memphis city has an estimated population of 652, 236 people (2017 Census). Located in Shelby County, which is Tennessee’s most populous county, the city lies within a 315-square mile area. It also has unique landscapes and several distinct neighborhoods. The planned city was established in 1819 with the help of some wealthy Americans such as John Overton. Memphis holds Tennessee’s largest Black population and is the place where Martin Luther King Junior, who led the Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated in 1968. Today, the city is a regional business hub, with iconic blues clubs. Constant social and economic issues have continued to result in persistently high poverty and crime rates in the city.

The 2006 American Community Survey showed that the population of Memphis was comprised of the following: 62.6 percent Black, 31.7 percent White, 29.5 percent Non-Hispanic White, 5 percent Hispanic/Latino of any race, 1.7 percent Asian, 0.2 percent Native American, and the rest, including 2 or more races, shared the remaining percentage. The 2010 Census revealed there were 245, 836 households in Memphis, with a population density of about 2, 327 persons per square mile and 271, 522 housing units.


According to the 2010 Census, Memphis’ racial composition was about 63 percent Black, 29 percent White, 1.5 percent Asian American, 1.6 percent Native American, whereas the rest was shared among Hispanic or Latino ancestry, Pacific Islanders, and two or more races. Similarly, the median household was estimated to be $32, 285, which was not very different from that of a family ($37, 767). Males seemed to earn a bit more than females because they had an estimated median of $31, 236 whereas females reported a median income of $25, 183. Memphis had a per capita income of $17, 838. Moreover, about 20 percent of the city’s population and 17 percent of families were living below the federal-defined poverty line.

Poverty and Crime

About 30 percent of the younger population (under 18 years) and 15 percent of the elderly population (65 years and over) were living below the poverty line. Memphis has always ranked high among the poorest cities in America, as the 2011 Census named the city as the nation’s poorest metro area. However, Dr. Wallace of the UoM pointed out that this problem could be attributed to years of segregation. As a low-cost job market, not much economic empowerment can be expected even though other places worldwide could be providing much cheaper labor. According to Dr. Wallace, the labor force seemed to be too undereducated to effectively handle today’s challenges. Perhaps with more training workers could bargain for higher wages.

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