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Location & Climate

Founded in 1791 where the French Broad and Holston Rivers converge to form the Tennessee River, Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee and ranks third largest in the state. It is located in a broad valley between the Cumberland Mountains to the northwest and the Great Smoky Mountains to the southeast. These two mountain ranges help provide a moderate climate, with an annual average temperature of 58 degrees. There are 104 square miles in the City of Knoxville and 526 square miles in all of Knox County. Downtown Knoxville is 936 feet above sea level.


The Knoxville area is frequently cited in national surveys as a quality place in which to live. The University of Tennessee calls Knoxville home, making an array of educational and cultural opportunities available to area residents. Affordable housing, health care costs below the national average, a low crime rate, and a pleasant climate with lakes and mountains nearby are factors which make Knoxville an attractive place to settle.

Recent honors for Knoxville, Tennessee:

2013 - Knoxville ranked in the Top 3 Best Big Cities by Blue Ridge Country for their Best of the Mountains Readers Poll. Source: Blue Ridge Country June 2013.

2013 - Knoxville named as one of "Top 10 Outdoor Adventures Via Public Transportation." Source: Outdoor Magazine Jan. 2013.

2013 - Knoxville named #2 on the list of "Happiest Cities to Work in Right Now" by CareerBliss.com Source: Forbes.com Jan. 2013. | See List

2012 - Knoxville named in a Brookings Institution Report as one of three cities in the country to have recovered from the recession. Source: Reuters.com Nov. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville Wins IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant. Source: IBM.com Nov. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named as a finalist for Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge. Source: Bloomberg Philanthropies Nov. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville's Gay Street named one of 10 Great Streets for 2012 by the American Planning Association. Source: Great Places in America Oct. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville ranked in the Top 10 for economic growth potential by Business Facilities Magazine. Source: BusinessFacilities.com Aug. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named one of "20 Best Vacation Destinations" by Frommers.com. Source: Frommers.com June 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named one of "25 Best Places to Retire in 2012" by Forbes.com. Source: Forbes.com June 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named as one of the "Best Mid-Size Cities for Jobs" by Forbes.com. Source: Forbes.com May 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named as one of ten fastest growing U.C. cities by ManpowerGroup. Source: CNN Apr. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named as one of the two metropolitan areas for "Best Cities for Jobs This Spring" by ManpowerGroup. Source: Forbes Mar. 2012.

2012 - Knoxville named one of "Best Sports Cities in the South" by BleacherReport.com.. Source: Bleacher Report Mar. 2012.


Location Per Capita Income Average
Tennessee $27,611
Knoxville MSA $28,466
Knox County $30,327
City of Knoxville $35,506
Anderson County $27,100
Blount County $25,353
Loudon County $26,212
Sevier County $24,603
Union County
* MSA refers to Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union Counties.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis


Location Population
Knoxville 178,874 (2010)
Knox County 432,226 (2010)


Tennessee is a business-friendly state. Corporations, as well as citizens, benefit from the Tennessee tax structure. It is profitable to do business in Tennessee and cost effective to live here. Various tax credits are applicable, further lowering tax liability of corporations within the state. Tennessee is one of the few remaining state with no personal income tax.

Under Tennessee Constitutional law, property taxes are assessed as follows:

Residential property is assessed at 25% of appraised value
Commercial/industrial property is assessed at 40% of appraised value

As of July, 2013, the property tax rate for Knox County residents is $2.32 per $100 assessed value, and the tax rate within the City of Knoxville is $2.3857 per $100 assessed value. Residents of the city are subject to both city and county property taxes.

Business taxes, payable in both the city and county, vary from 1/30 of 1% to 1/8 of 1% of taxable gross receipts, of which the state receives 15%. The minimum business tax is $20. Most professional offices and manufacturers are exempt. More information can be obtained from the city at 865-215-2083 and the county at 865-215-2392.

The state sales tax is 7%. The local sales tax is 2.25%, bringing the total sales tax in Knox County to 9.25%.


In 2000, nonagricultural employment in the Knoxville MSA* was distributed as follows:

Industry Employees
Construction 17,200
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate 15,100
Government 55,200
Manufacturing, total 47,700
Manufacturing - Durable Goods 32,000
Manufacturing - Nondurable Goods 15,700
Services 96,400
Trade 91,000
Transportation, Communications, Public Utilities 15,600
TOTAL 338,200
* MSA refers to Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union Counties

The Knoxville economy has no one dominant employment sector. The diversified labor force is credited as the primary factor for the area's low unemployment rate. Total employment in June 2004 was 384,600.

Labor Force

The Knoxville MSA total labor force exceeded 380,000, as of March 2004. The average MSA unemployment rate in March 2004 was 3.9%. The rate for Knox County was 2.6%. Both are lower than the statewide average rate of 5.2% and the nationwide average rate of 6.0% for this time period.

Commerce and Industry

Manufacturing forms located in the Knoxville MSA produce everything from shoulder pads for professional football teams to medical devices, electronic components, chemicals, manufactured housing, apparel and automobile parts. These firms employ from as few as five to as many as 12,000 employees. Industrial investment in the Knoxville MSA in 2000 totaled $509 million, creating 2,662 additional jobs.

Four regional shopping malls, six major chain department stores, and a number of shopping centers and factory outlets meet the retail needs of the Knoxville metropolitan area. MSA retail sales totaled $9.4 billion in 1999 and ranked 75th out of 323 MSAs in total retail sales nationwide.

Links of Interest:

US Census Bureau
Metropolitan Planning Commission
Population Reference Bureau
TN Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development
UT Center for Business and Economic Research

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