Special Report

Knoxville, TN Has Affordable Living and One of the Fastest Growing Populations

Each year, tens of millions of Americans move to a new area. Historically, a new job or job transfer has accounted for about one in every 10 of those moves, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. However, as remote work becomes an option for a growing number of workers, more Americans are free to prioritize other factors when choosing a place to live — and one of them is cost of living.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that before the pandemic, only 20% of Americans who could work remotely did so. During the pandemic, that figure surged to over 70% — and many of those workers may not be required to return to the office.

As fewer workers are tethered to a physical office, places like New York City and Silicon Valley — employment hubs with nation-leading costs of living — are reporting net population declines. Meanwhile, many cities where the cost of living is relatively low have grown considerably.

Goods and services in the Knoxville, TN metro area are about 11.6% less expensive than they are on average nationwide. The Knoxville metro area had an estimated net inflow of 2,984 new residents from July 2020 to April 2021 — the 26th most of the 93 metro areas with available migration data and a lower than average cost of living. The number of Americans who moved there in recent months is equal to about 0.3% of the local population.

According to online search data from Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, the interest in real estate in Knoxville is coming more from the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA metro area than anywhere else. An estimated 11.5% of all online searches for homes in the Knoxville area are from the New York metro area.

All data on population change from net migration and online real estate searches are from Redfin.com, a national real estate brokerage. Data on regional price parity, or cost of living, is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is for 2019.


Rank Metro area Net inflow, July 2020 to April 202 Cost of living Top feeder metro area
1 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 33,255 1.3% less than avg. Los Angeles
2 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 31,326 3.1% less than avg. Los Angeles
3 Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 28,952 0.7% less than avg. San Jose
4 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 24,381 2.1% less than avg. New York
5 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 20,523 1.2% less than avg. Orlando
6 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 17,612 2.3% less than avg. Chicago
7 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 15,786 5.6% less than avg. New York
8 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 15,499 1% less than avg. New York
9 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 11,806 5.6% less than avg. New York
10 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 11,086 6.7% less than avg. Houston
11 Raleigh-Cary, NC 10,377 3.9% less than avg. New York
12 Jacksonville, FL 8,207 4.6% less than avg. Washington, D.C
13 Boise City, ID 6,424 6.4% less than avg. Los Angeles
14 Salisbury, MD-DE 5,548 10% less than avg. Washington, D.C
15 Bakersfield, CA 5,267 3% less than avg. Los Angeles
16 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 5,248 3.6% less than avg. Washington, D.C
17 Wenatchee, WA 5,080 0.5% less than avg. Seattle
18 Charleston-North Charleston, SC 4,964 2.9% less than avg. New York
19 Salt Lake City, UT 4,798 1.4% less than avg. Los Angeles
20 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 4,457 10.1% less than avg. Detroit
21 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 4,314 7.8% less than avg. Washington, D.C
22 Albuquerque, NM 3,385 6.4% less than avg. Denver
23 Reno, NV 3,329 1.6% less than avg. San Jose
24 Kansas City, MO-KS 3,215 7.2% less than avg. Denver
25 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 3,106 6.9% less than avg. Los Angeles
26 Knoxville, TN 2,984 11.6% less than avg. New York
27 Asheville, NC 2,983 6.5% less than avg. Washington, D.C
28 Greenville-Anderson, SC 2,498 9.3% less than avg. New York
29 Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI 2,124 8% less than avg. Detroit
30 St. Louis, MO-IL 1,973 9.9% less than avg. Denver


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