The immediate Tri-Cities region – comprised of Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol as well as many smaller, outlying communities – boasts a population of approximately 500,000 people. When expanded to encompass the total trade area for Tri-Cities Crossing, the population exceeds 1 million people.
The Tri-Cities region is unique. Unlike a central metro flanked by suburbs, the region includes three distinct cities as well as numerous small communities between and beyond the cities. Regionalism is alive and well in the Tri-Cities. Residents who live in one city or one of the smaller communities often work in another of the cities. It is commonplace for people in Johnson City and Bristol to commute to Kingsport each day and vice versa.
In the most recent Cities on the Rise in Tennessee article produced by NerdWallet.com, Kingsport ranked first statewide in both population growth and median income growth. From 2009-2012, the working-age population in Kingsport increased by 14.3 percent. During the same period, median income grew by 16.2 percent.
“Double-digit growth in income and population put this eastern Tennessee city at the top of our list of cities on the rise. Education drives growth in Kingsport. In 1999, the city created a first-in-the-nation program from kindergarten to post high school, which gives every student in town the opportunity to learn specific skills required by local employers. The city also built higher education institutes and job training facilities in an “academic village” in the downtown area, where businesses are encouraged to set up shop to help revitalize the local economy. Adults can also take classes in advanced manufacturing, health care, automotive technology and business management.”
The growth in the Tri-Cities region is not limited to Kingsport. Johnson City was also in the top 10 list of Cities on the Rise in Tennessee. This growth is not just happenstance. The Tri-Cities region and the state of Tennessee have much to offer both residents and businesses. The area is very affordable with a low cost of living, no state income tax and no personal property tax.
As noted by NerdWallet.com, the region has a strong educational system. In addition to Kingsport’s innovative K-14 Educate & Grow program, the area is home to many colleges and universities, including East Tennessee State University, which encompasses a broad spectrum of bachelors degrees, numerous masters degrees and several doctoral programs, including the Quillen College of Medicine and the Gatton School of Pharmacy. The area is home to strong private colleges and universities as well, several of which have been ranked nationally for program quality.
According to 2010 census data, 50 percent of residents in the immediate area surrounding Tri-Cities Crossing have at least some college or more educational attainment. The estimated median household income for this area is $50,833, based on 2010 data. When expanded to the entire trade area, 2010 census data reveals that 36 percent of residents have some college or more educational attainment, and median income is $36,785.