Analysis of Memphis Area Demographics

The Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis published two recent articles considering demographic trends in the Memphis area. Follow the links below for more details.

Can Memphis Survive with Slow Growth? An Analysis of Demographic and Economic Data Help Answer the Question

by John Gnuschke, Ph.D., Director and Jeff Wallace, Ph.D., Research Professor

Shelby County Demographics on the Maps

by Ryan Hanson, MA, MSBA, Senior Researcher

A Better Understanding of Memphis Health with Data from the 500 Cities Project

By Ryan Hanson

The 500 Cities project is a collaboration between the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation. The goal of this partnership is to provide communities and decision makers with data and tools to better identify health disparities and create targeted interventions. Typically, data relating to public health are only collected at the state and county levels. The 500 Cities project provides statistics on a select number of chronic disease measures for 500 U.S. cities at the city and Census tract level.  Currently preliminary data is available on the CDC’s Chronic Data Portal and through a series of interactive applications and map books on the project’s website. The project is scheduled to be officially launched in the Summer of 2017 with more interactive web applications and GIS capabilities.

The Tennessee Opioid Epidemic by the Numbers

By Ryan Hanson

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States is in “the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic.”  More people died from drug1 overdoses in 2015 than in any other year on record.2 Since 1999, the death rate from overdoses involving prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled.  Between 2000 and 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses, and 91 people die in the United States daily from opioid abuse.3

FedEx Corporation Ranks No. 1 in the Top 50 Global Freight Carriers

By Jeff Wallace, Ph.D.

The trucking and freight newspaper, Transport Topics, in cooperation with SJ Consulting Group, recently released a ranking of the top 50 global freight carriers by revenue in 2016.  At the top of the list in first place is Memphis’ very own FedEx Corporation with Louisville, Kentucky based UPS a close second. Below is a table showing the top 10 on the list. In addition to FedEx, Memphis also benefits from local service and employment from No. 2 UPS, No. 5 Union Pacific Corporation, and No. 8 BNSF Railway.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Shelby County, alone, there were nearly 53,000 persons employed in transportation and warehousing in 751 establishments 2015 (latest available data).

  Source:  Transport Topics at    in cooperation with SJ Consulting Group.

Source:  Transport Topics at in cooperation with SJ Consulting Group.

Understanding Shelby County Migration with IRS Filings

By Ryan Hanson

A recent article in the March 27th edition of the Commercial Appeal described the stagnating growth of the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), referencing the most recent U.S. Census population numbers. 1 The Memphis MSA has had 0.2 percent growth in the last year, considerably less than that of other metros such as Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville and the State of Tennessee as a whole (see Table 1).  The Census data reflect population change that occurs due to births, deaths, and migrations.

New Data Showing Memphis’ Aviation and Highway Noise Exposures

By Ryan Hanson

This week marks the first-time release of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Noise Map.  The new data is part of the ongoing National Transportation Atlas. The map shows sound footprints of the average 24-hour noise exposure from aviation and highway noise. The good news is more than 97% of the nation live in areas with an exposure of 50 decibels or lower. That is equivalent to a humming refrigerator. However, there are still areas where people are exposed to higher levels of noise

Are Low Unemployment Rates in Middle and East Tennessee An Opportunity for Memphis?

By John Gnuschke

Most counties in Middle and portions of East Tennessee are nearing full employment. Only the frictionally unemployed (those waiting to take a job) or those unemployed for structural reasons are available to fill new jobs.  Employment costs rise in direct relation to the severity and duration of the labor shortage.  Employers can expect employee wage and non-wage costs and turnover to increase as the competition for employees heats up.  Meanwhile, areas with higher unemployment such as Memphis may have opportunities for growth associated with their available labor pool?