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Gray, Boones Creek see population growth, based on five-year U.S. Census survey

Zach Vance • Dec 15, 2018 at 11:47 PM

How is the population in Washington County trending? 

That’s a question asked by many local business leaders and government officials, and while the 2020 Census is about to commence, newly released results of the American Community Survey five-year estimates provides a glimpse of which parts of the county are growing — and which are not. 

Unlike the census, the American Community Survey is an ongoing household survey conducted each year that gathers information on income, migration, employment and housing characteristics. That data is then compiled into five-year estimates, with the most recent period covering 2013 to 2017. On Dec. 7, the Tennessee State Data Center took that 2013-2017 population data and compared it to the 2008-2012 figures to analyze which parts of the state have seen the most population growth. 

Based on the Tennessee State Data Center’s analysis, just five of Washington County’s 23 census tracts produced enough change to be deemed “statistically significant.” 

Four of those five census tracts, all located in rural or partially rural areas, saw statistically significant population gains between 2012 and 2017, while the one census tract in Washington County to see a statistically significant decline was located in western Johnson City. 

According to the American Community Survey results, the census tract covering Gray saw the largest growth in the county as its population increased by 1,188 people between 2012 and 2017.

Census tract 614.01, covering the northeast section of Boones Creek, from Flourville to Buttermilk Road, saw its population grow by 855, and on its southern border, census tract 617.01, encapsulating the Stewart Hill and Hale communities, increased its population by 630 people. Located in the midwest part of the county, the Fairview and Keys Mill communities within census tract 616.01 grew by an estimated 480 people. 

Covering a largely commercial and urban area that includes the Johnson City Medical Center, Market Street and State of Franklin Road, census tract 620 saw its population decrease by an estimated 598 people. 

Using data from the same American Community Survey, the population in occupied housing units for each of those five census tracts provides a little insight into how those populations might have changed.

For instance, census tract 620 saw its population of renters in occupied housing units decrease 644, while its population in owner-occupied housing units actually increased by 145 people. Census tract 615 covering Gray saw gains in both renters, 959, and homeowners, 227. The Stewart Hill and Hale census tract saw its number of renters decrease by 313, but the 816 increase in homeowners offset the loss of renters.  

Based on the cumulative countywide American Community Survey data, Washington County’s population has increased by 3,597 people since 2012 — the only Northeast Tennessee county to experience a gain.

However, between 2012 and 2016, Washington County saw 492 more people move to a different state than move into the county from a different state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Flows Mapper. Similarly, Washington County had 142 more people move to a different Tennessee county than move in. 

 Washington County Population 2008-2012 Population 2013-2017 Change in Population 2012-2017
Census Tract 614.01 (Northeast Boones Creek, Flourville to Buttermilk Road) 4,831 5,686 855
Census Tract 615 (Gray) 6,844 8,032 1,188
Census Tract 616.01 (Fairview and Keys Mill communities) 3,680 4,160 480
Census Tract 617.01 (Stewart Hill and Hale communities) 5,983 6,613 630
Census Tract 620 (Commercial western Johnson City, Johnson City Medical Center, Knob Creek) 4,098 3,500 -598
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008-12 and 2013-17

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