New projections show Tennessee population will see big changes by 2040

(University of Tennessee)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The University of Tennessee's Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research says Tennessee will have a population of 7.84 million by 2040.

The new projections show the state is expected to grow by 50,000 per year and metro areas will see continued growth while rural counties will see decreases in population.

During the 2000s, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, Wilson, and Sumner counties accounted for 38 percent of all net migration in the state. Now, those same counties have accounted for 62 percent of all net migration during the current decade according to the study.

Meanwhile, net migration to the state's other 90 counties has seen a decrease of more than 50 percent.

The projections show significant growth for Davidson County, which is expected to go from 684,410 residents to 853,744 residents by 2040. Sumner County will grow from just over 180,000 currently to 244,290. Williamson will see a jump from 219,107 to 345,619 and Wilson from 132,781 to 188,101. Rutherford, already boasting 308,251 residents, will grow to 490,374.

The state is also seeing shifts in births and deaths, leading to the changes in net migration. According to the study, women are waiting longer to have children. The number of births in Tennessee for 2015 was 81,000 -- a decrease of 5,000 when compared to 2007.

From 2007 to 2015, birth rates are also sharply lower among women under the age of 25 but slightly higher for women between the ages of 35 and 44.

Meanwhile, deaths per year in the state increased from 2007 to 2015, rising from 56,800 to 66,329. During that same time period, 86 of Tennessee's 95 counties saw an average increase of 110 deaths per county, per year.

Lead researcher Matt Harris says the trends imply Tennessee will see greater racial and ethnic diversity as the state population continues to grow.

Based on projections, by 2040 Davidson County will see the black, Hispanic, and other non-Hispanic population total 463,795 compared to a projected 389,949 caucasian population. Currently, whites account for 386,047 of the county's population compared to 298,363 of all other races.

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