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September 01, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Marianne Wanamaker provides more data about Knoxville region’s in-migration

Most people with whom you might be talking in the Knoxville region feel that the community is on fire with people such as Sean O’Malley (see today’s feature post in moving here, and the data do not lie.

In a two-part series in January (Part 1 and Part 2) that came from an interview with Maribel Koella, a long-time commercial realtor, the topic of so many people relocating was one of the highlights. Throughout 2021, we have posted other articles underscoring the point – Knoxville ranking #7 in the nation on U-Haul’s “Top 25 U.S. Growth Cities” listing and PODS reporting that Knoxville ranked #3 on its list of the top 20 destinations for PODS customers.

During a presentation on August 27 to the East Tennessee Economic Council, Marianne Wanamaker, Executive Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, further validated the belief about people like the O’Malleys moving here with additional empirical data.

  • One of the charts she used compared the job postings in the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area since February 2020 with other hot spots. One of those recognized for its entrepreneurial growth is Austin, TX, and Knoxville is tied with that region with a roughly 55 percent increase in listings.
  • Wanamaker cited the U.S. Postal Service’s change of address database which showed 4,000 household moves from elsewhere into Knox County between April 2020 and May 2021. With an estimated average of 2.5 people per household – Wanamaker says it could be more or less, that’s 10,000 people moving into the community from other parts of Tennessee and other states.
  • Finally, she referenced data from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors that ranked the top 10 cities from which people relocated. Leading the list was New York City with 14.7 percent of the new residents followed by Chicago (10.7 percent), Los Angeles (9.9 percent), Washington, DC (5.9 percent), Bay Area of California (5.5 percent), San Diego (2.9 percent), Denver (2.8 percent), Seattle (2.6 percent), Miami (2.4 percent), and Atlanta (1.8 percent).

In a follow-up email discussion to make sure we had not missed or misunderstood anything, Wanamaker shared with us a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Research Group that also highlighted the growth in and around the Volunteer State. Specifically, there were 15 metro areas in the country with a population above 200,000 citizens that saw the most net migration gains, and seven of those were in four states – Tennessee (Knoxville), Alabama (Huntsville), North Carolina (Wilmington, Raleigh, and Charlotte), and South Carolina (Myrtle Beach and Greenville). Knoxville was #12 nationally.


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