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City of Memphis

  •   State: 
    Shelby County
      County FIPS: 
    35°07′03″N 89°58′16″W
      Area total: 
    304.62 sq mi
      Area land: 
    294.92 sq mi (763.83 km²)
      Area water: 
    7.63 sq mi (19.77 km²)
    337 ft (103 m)
    1819; Incorporated December 19, 1826 ( 1826-12-19 )
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Memphis, TN-MS-AR
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    2,146.71 residents per square mile of area (828.85/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 

Memphis is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is the seat of Shelby County in the southwest part of the state. The city is situated along the Mississippi River. The first European explorer to visit the area of present-day Memphis was Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto in 1541. The high Chickasaw Bluffs protecting the location from the waters of the Mississippi was contested by Spanish, French, and English colonizers as Memphis developed. By 1819, when modern Memphis was founded, it was part of United States territory. Based on the wealth of cotton plantations and river traffic, Memphis grew into one of the largest cities of the Antebellum South. Since the USSR collapsed in 1991, Memphis has superseded Anchorage as the busiest cargo airport in the world. Memphis is a center for media and entertainment, notably a historic music scene. With blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sound, the city has been nicknamed the "Home of the Blues". Its music has continued to be shaped by a multicultural mix of influences: country, rock and roll, soul, and hip-hop. The largest employer is FedEx, which maintains its global air hub at Memphis International Airport. Memphis-style barbecue has achieved international prominence, and the city hosts the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. Home to Tennessee's largest African-American population, Memphis played a prominent role in the American Civil Rights Movement. The National Civil Rights Museum was established there and is a Smithsonian affiliate institution.


Memphis is the primary city name, but also Bartlett are acceptable city names or spellings, Mem, Mphs on the other hand no longer accepted or obsolete and are no longer used as a designation. The official name is City of Memphis. The site of Memphis has been a natural location for human settlement by varying indigenous cultures over thousands of years. In the first millennium A.D. people of the Mississippian culture were prominent; the culture influenced a network of communities throughout the Mississippi River Valley and its tributaries. The Chickasaw people, believed to be their descendants, later inhabited this site and a large territory in the Southeast. In 1796, the site became the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee, in what was then called the Southwest United States. The city of Memphis was founded less than five months after the U.S. takeover of the territory, on May 22, 1819 (incorporated December 19, 1826), by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. It was named after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. Many African Americans worked on the outlying cotton plantations of the Delta in the 1850s and 1860s under waves of immigration and domestic migration. Memphis briefly became a Confederate stronghold during the civil war and was occupied by the Union Army for the duration of the war. In June 1861, the city and state were captured by the Confederate Army and were occupied by Union Army commanders. This allowed the city to maintain its government during this period, but most veterans of this period were excluded from the office of the city's government. The total population was 22,623 in 1860, but 23,2% by 1860, when the state seceded from the Union.


Memphis has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa, Trewartha Cf) with four distinct seasons. July has a daily average temperature of 82.8 °F (28.2 °C), with high levels of humidity due to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are frequent during summer, but usually brief, lasting no longer than an hour. Winter weather comes alternately from the upper Great Plains and the gulf of Mexico, which can lead to drastic swings in temperature. Snow occurs sporadically in winter, with an average seasonal snowfall of 2.7 inches (6.9 cm) The city is located over four natural aquifers, one of which is recognized as the "Memphis Sand Aquifer" or simply as the 'Memphis Aquifer' It is estimated that this first phase of the de-annexation process will reduce the city's size by 5% and its population by 0.03%. The next two phases will have a much more significant impact. The city and metro area spread out through suburbanization, and encompass southwest Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. Several large parks were founded in the city in the early 20th century, notably Overton Park in Midtown and the 4,500-acre (18 km²) Shelby Farms. The Memphis Riverfront stretches along the Mississippi River from the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in the north, to the T. O. Fuller State Park in the south. The River Walk is a park system that connects downtown Memphis from Mississippi River Greenbelt Park, to Tom Lee Park.


As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 652,078 people and 245,836 households in the city. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the Memphis area as the poorest large metro area in the country. For several decades, the Memphis metro area has had the highest percentage of black population among the nation's large metropolitan areas. In 2009, places of worship exist for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. The international headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, is located in Memphis. This auditorium is where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his noted "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in April 1968, the night before he was assassinated at his motel. The National Civil Rights Museum, located at the Lorraine Motel and other buildings, has an annual ceremony at Mason's Temple of Deliverance where it honors persons with Freedom Awards. For historical population data, see: History of Memphis, Tennessee. According to the 2020 United States census, the racial composition of the city of Memphis was: African American, White, Asian American, Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04%. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.49% of the population. The total metropolitan area has a higher proportion of whites and a higher per capita income than the population in theCity.


As of 2014, Memphis was the home of three Fortune 500 companies: FedEx, International Paper and AutoZone. The city is home to Memphis International Airport, the world's busiest cargo airport, surpassing Hong Kong International Airport in 2021. Several major motion pictures have been filmed in Memphis, including The Silence of the Lambs, The People Vs. The Delta, and A Painted House. A third interstate, I-69, is under construction, and I-22, has recently been designated from the former High Priority Corridor X. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also has a branch in Memphis. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a training facility in the city, as well as a training center in Shelbyville, Tennessee, which is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is based in Knoxville, and the University of Arkansas at Chattanooga has a base in Memphis as well. Memphis is the site of the World Series of Poker, which began in 1998. The tournament is one of the largest in the world, with more than 2,000 teams competing each year. It is also home to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, which started in 2000. The NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament began in 2008, and runs through the end of the year. The NBA's Division I Women's Championship began in 2010. The National Basketball Association's Women's Tournament of Champions began in 2012, and ends in 2014. The NFL's World Series began in 2013.

Arts and culture

Carnival Memphis, formerly known as the Memphis Cotton Carnival, is an annual series of parties and festivities in June that salutes various aspects of Memphis and its industries. Mid-South Pride is Tennessee's second-largest LGBT pride event. Memphis sponsors several film festivals: the Indie Memphis Film Festival, Outflix, and the Memphis International Film and Music Festival. Memphis is the home of founders and pioneers of various American music genres, including Memphis soul, Memphis blues, gospel, rock n' roll, rockabilly, Memphis rap, Buck, crunk, and "sharecropper" country music. Many great blues artists recorded there, such as W. C. Handy, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Beale Street is a national landmark and the impact of the city has had on American blues, particularly after World War II as electric guitars took precedence over acoustic guitars over the original acoustic guitars. Memphis has been home to the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which is the largest pork barbecue-cooking contest in the world. The Memphis Italian Festival is run almost completely by former and current Holy Rosary School and Church members and begins with a 5K run each year. The 2019 festival will be its 30th and has hosted musical acts, local artisans, and Italian cooking competitions. It also presents chef demonstrations, the Coors Light Competitive Bocce Tournament, the Galtelli Cup Recreational Bocces Tournament, a volleyball tournament, and pizza tossing demonstrations. Memphis International Jazz Festival is held the weekend before Thanksgiving in Downtown Memphis.


The Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association are the only team from one of the "big four" major sports leagues in Memphis. The Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A East are a Minor League Baseball affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The University of Memphis college basketball team, the Memphis Tigers, has a strong following in the city due to a history of competitive success. The city is also the site of Memphis International Raceway, which held NASCAR events from 1998 to 2009, when Dover Motorsports closed it. In 2011 it reopened under different ownership. It no longer holds NASCAR races, but the Arca Menards Series returned to the track in 2020. The annual St Jude Classic, a regular part of the PGA Tour, is also held in theCity. Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart are among the sport's most well-known figures who came out of the city. Sputnik Monroe, a wrestler of the 1950s, like Lawler, promoted racial integration. Ric Flair also noted Memphis as his birthplace. The former WFL franchise Memphis Southmen / Memphis Grizzlies sued the NFL in an attempt to be accepted as an expansion franchise in the 1970s and 1980s. The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium also served as the temporary home of the former Tennessee Oilers (now the Titans) while the city of Nashville worked out stadium issues. In 1993 the Memphis Hound Dogs was a proposed NFL expansion that was passed over in favor of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers.

Parks and recreation

Major Memphis parks include W.C. Handy Park, Tom Lee Park, Audubon Park, Overton Park including the Old Forest Arboretum. Shelby Farms park, located at the eastern edge of the city, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Memphis Botanic Garden, the Lichterman Nature Center (a nature learning center), and Jesse H Turner Park are also located in the city. The city is home to the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which was founded in 1872. The Memphis River runs through the city and is a major tourist attraction. The Tennessee River, which runs through Memphis, is a popular tourist attraction and was once called the Tennessee River Trail. It was once known as the River River Trail and was built in the early 1900s as a way to connect the city to the rest of the country. It is now called the Memphis River Trail, which is now part of the American River Trail System. The river is also home to a number of nature-based attractions, including the Memphis Botanical Garden, and the Memphis Museum of Nature and Science, which dates back to the early 19th century. Memphis is also the home of the National Zoo, which opened in 1876. The National Park Service is based in Memphis, Tennessee, and maintains a large number of parks across the country, including several in the Southeast and the Mid-South. The national park system was established in the late 1800s.

Law and government

Consolidation was a referendum item on the 2010 ballots in both the city of Memphis and Shelby County. The referendum was controversial in both jurisdictions. Black leaders, including then-Shelby County Commissioner Joe Ford and national civil rights leader Al Sharpton, opposed the consolidation. City voters narrowly supported the measure for consolidation with 50.8% in favor; county voters overwhelmingly voted against the measure with 85% against. In 2011 the Memphis city council voted to dissolve its city school board and consolidate with the Shelby County School System. The city had authority for this action under Tennessee state laws that differentiate between city and county powers. In the last week of December 2014, the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals upheld that decision, ruling that the referendum for consolidation did not pass and would not have passed even if there had been no dual-majority vote requirement (with the vote counts combined)." The state argued that with the election decided, the lawsuit should be dismissed, but the federal court disagreed. As noted below, in 2011 the city council vote to dissolve the city schoolBoard without the collaboration or agreement of Shelby County, as required by Tennessee state law. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2014, on the grounds that the vote would have failed when both jurisdictions' votes were counted together. The case is still pending, and the state is appealing the court's decision to dismiss the lawsuit. The state is also appealing the decision to throw out the lawsuit, which was dismissed on the basis that the decision was based on a mistake in counting the votes.


The city is served by Shelby County Schools. Shelby County School System operates more than 200 elementary, middle, and high schools. Memphis area is also home to many private, college-prep schools. University of Memphis, Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, Memphis College of Art, LeMoyneOwen College, Baptist College of Health Sciences, Memphis Theological Seminary, Harding School of Theology, EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide. Remington College is a local nonprofit post-secondary institution. The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry was founded in 1878, making it the oldest dental college in the South, and the third oldest public college of dentistry in the United States. The Christian Brothers High School Band is the oldest high school band in the U.S., founded in1872. Memphis Harding Academy, a co-ed school affiliated with the Churches of Christ, is also included in this list. The city has campuses of several for-profit post- secondary institutions, including Concorde Career College, ITT Technical Institute, Vatterott College, and University of Phoenix. Memphis also has campuses for Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis, Visible Music College, Mid-America Baptist The theological Seminary and William R. Moore College of Technology. In Shelby County, six incorporated cities voted to establish separate school systems in 2013. In Memphis, residents voted to dissolve the charter for Memphis City Schools, effectively merging it with the Shelby City School District.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee = 14.7. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 64. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 21. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Memphis = 4.8 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 633,104 individuals with a median age of 34.3 age the population dropped by -3.41% in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 2,146.71 residents per square mile of area (828.85/km²). There are average 2.49 people per household in the 245,356 households with an average household income of $35,927 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 11.00% of the available work force and has dropped -4.22% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 20.56%. The number of physicians in Memphis per 100,000 population = 267.3.


The annual rainfall in Memphis = 56.9 inches and the annual snowfall = 1.1 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 111. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 218. 91 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 31.1 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 30, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee which are owned by the occupant = 49.10%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 40 years with median home cost = $77,720 and home appreciation of -6.25%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $11.46 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,575 per student. There are 17.7 students for each teacher in the school, 679 students for each Librarian and 516 students for each Counselor. 4.81% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 13.72% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 8.01% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Memphis's population in Shelby County, Tennessee of 102,320 residents in 1900 has increased 6,19-fold to 633,104 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 52.53% female residents and 47.47% male residents live in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.

    As of 2020 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee are married and the remaining 55.57% are single population.

  • 24.6 minutes is the average time that residents in Memphis require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    77.14% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 15.52% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 2.81% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 1.74% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, 49.10% are owner-occupied homes, another 38.73% are rented apartments, and the remaining 12.17% are vacant.

  • The 40.73% of the population in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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