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Advance Knox: State of the County report shows strong population growth, $24 billion county GDP

The report also said the average Knox County wage is around $53,000 per year, and around 21% of all workers are self-employed.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — There are around 478,000 people in Knox County, according to a new report from Advance Knox released on Thursday. That number is expected to grow to about 557,000 people by 2040.

Advance Knox is an effort to create a specific and solid vision to guide the county's growth over the next 20 years. The reports and plans gathered during this effort can be used to guide commissioners on any issues that arise during that time, ranging from zoning decisions to county policies.

The effort is expected to take 18 months to complete. They held the first round of public input in March 2022, before releasing the report. The second round of public input is set for fall 2022, before a final public input session in early 2023. A final plan is expected to be created by May 2023.

The report found that 55% of Knox County residents live in areas outside of Knoxville and Farragut. The report said that a large portion of people who moved to the unincorporated parts of Knox County since 2010 is over 65 years old. That trend is expected to continue, according to the report.

By 2040, a fifth of county residents is also expected to be over 65 years old. That population can differ dramatically from the younger, college-aged population in Knoxville who are attracted to the city by the University of Tennessee. While that population is large, making up more than 40,000 people, it is not expected to grow as much as older populations.

Credit: Advance Knox

The report found that around 92% of people over 25 years old in Knox County have a high school education, and 39% have a bachelor's degree. Around 15% of people in the county completed a graduate or professional degree.

The report also said that Knox County's cost of living is around 89% of the national average, similar to surrounding counties. Meanwhile, households living outside city areas make a median of $73,528 — almost $20,000 higher than the state's median.

According to the report, Knox County has a Gross Domestic Product of around $24 billion, representing all goods and services produced in the county. The county's overall economy also grew faster than the Metropolitan Statistical Area's numbers, which covers eight counties including Knox.

Compared to the MSA, the report said Knox County's economy fared better from the COVID-19 pandemic and has an economy valued just slightly less than it was in 2018.

On average, people make $53,662 in the county. The report said that number grew 35% since 2010. It also said that around 21% of all workers in the county are self-employed, a similar number to the MSA and the state.

Most people work in healthcare and social services, according to the report. More than 37,000 people work in it — 25% larger than the retail sector.

Compared to 2018, the transportation and warehousing industry also saw massive growth. Few people worked in it in 2018, but more than 10,000 now worked in the industry in Knox County during 2020.

Around 66% of Knox County workers are under 29 years old, and around 71,000 people live in Knox County but work outside the county. The report said almost 112,000 people live outside the county, but work in it.

Credit: Advance Knox

Outside of Knoxville, the report said there were 98,578 detached housing units in 2020, 77% of which were single-family units. Around 64% of people living in the county own their own homes, while 36% rent. The median price of new homes in Knoxville was around $359,000 at the beginning of 2022, according to the report.

In 2016, the price per square foot for a home was around $104 in the county. In 2022, it ballooned to around $176 on average.

As of 2020, the report also said home prices grew at 2.2 times the rate of wages in Knox County, and around 70% of households in Knoxville could not afford the median price of a new home. They were considered "cost-burdened" for spending 30% or more of their income on housing.

In outer areas of Knox County, the report said the average household spends around 30% of their income on transportation expenses alone. That includes costs associated with buying new cars, maintaining them, paying for insurance, fuel, or paying for public transportation.

Around 1,721 miles of road stretch around the county, and there are 134 bridges in Knox County with 381 miles of county-owned stormwater pipes. People said around 52% of their travel time was to go to either work or home.

Around 23% of trips people take are for shopping, with Turkey Creek and Cedar Bluff shopping centers located in the county.

Credit: Advance Knox

On average, commutes are around 23 minutes in Knox County and around 88% of roads are considered to be at least in "fair" condition. A section of Pellissippi Parkway up to Hardin Valley Road sees more than 55,000 vehicles per day, along with highways in Knoxville.

More than 30% of households do not have access to a car in a portion of South Knox County along Maryville Pike, along with several areas in downtown Knoxville.

Water and sewer utilities in the county are almost equally divided between KUB, Knox Chapman, Hallsdale Powell, Knox Chapman and First Utility. Around 81% of single-family homes built since 2017 have been outside Knoxville, according to the report.

Significant construction is also expected in Hardin Valley areas, with other development plans for Karns and Farragut. The report said 7,048 subdivisions are expected to be built in Knox County, and 1,379 are in the process of being built.

Credit: Advance Knox

   

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