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Background Report

Population Growth and Characteristics
In 2000 the sector had 20,354 residents. Between 1990 and 2000, the total population of the sector increased by 5%, after a 2.6% decrease in the previous decade. In the last decade the sector’s population increase mirrored that of the city (5.1%). The two most western census tracts (44.01, 44.02) grew in population, while the most eastern census tracts (25, 37) decreased or remained the same.

Census Tract Population
Census Tract
2000 Population
Percent Change 1990-2000
25
3,640
0%
36
463
-48.9%
37
3,833
-4.8%
44.01
4,665
+3.4%
44.02
7,980
+10.2%
West City
20,354
+5.0%
City
173,890
+5.1%

Age Distribution
The median age of this sector is slightly higher (estimated 37.9 years) than the City of Knoxville’s median age of 33.4 years. Census tract 25 retained the greatest proportion of older residents from 1980 to 2000.

The fact that the median age increased rapidly over the past 20 years indicates that a large proportion of the population has likely “aged in place.” In other words, many of the same people are still living in the same area, and they have all grown 20 years older. This observation is supported by the fact that a high percentage of homeowners remained in the same house for the five-year period prior to 1990.

Excluding the population of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, the number of persons age 65 and over increased by almost 1,600 during the 1970s and 1980s. By 1990 the sector had the highest median age of any sector, 37.1 years. Today, more than 17% of the sector residents are over the age of 65. The aging of the sector is particularly dramatic in tract 25, the Sequoyah Hills area, where 20% of men and more than 30% of women are over the age of 65.

While tract 44.01 has seen a small amount of growth in the total number of children, all tracts have shown a considerable drop in the proportion of children in the population. The total number of children in the sector has dropped steadily since 1970, with 4,049 fewer children as of 2000.

median age photo
With its long established neighborhoods, the median age of West City residents is higher than most areas in Knoxville-Knox County.

Economy
The largest employment center within the sector is West Town Mall (1,400 employees), which is located along Knoxville’s busiest commercial corridor, Kingston Pike. The Mall and surrounding commercial development on or adjacent to Kingston Pike play a key role in making Knoxville a regional destination for shoppers. One of the main reasons Kingston Pike is experiencing reinvestment in vacant properties is due to the volume of traffic that passes along I-40, which closely parallels Kingston Pike from Walker Springs Road to Papermill Drive.

 

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