Davidson County, Tennessee

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Davidson County
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
Davidson County Courthouse
Davidson County Courthouse
Official seal of Davidson County
Map of Tennessee highlighting Davidson County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 36°10′N 86°47′W / 36.17°N 86.78°W / 36.17; -86.78Coordinates: 36°10′N 86°47′W / 36.17°N 86.78°W / 36.17; -86.78
Country United States
State Tennessee
FoundedOctober 6, 1783
Named forWilliam Lee Davidson[1]
SeatNashville
Largest cityNashville
Area
 • Total526 sq mi (1,360 km2)
 • Land504 sq mi (1,310 km2)
 • Water22 sq mi (60 km2)  4.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total715,884
 • Estimate 
(2021)
703,953 Decrease
 • Density1,400/sq mi (530/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district5th
Websitewww.nashville.gov

Davidson County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is located in the heart of Middle Tennessee. As of the 2020 census, the population was 715,884,[2] making it the second most populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Nashville,[3] the state capital and largest city.

Since 1963, the city of Nashville and Davidson County have had a consolidated government called the "Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County", commonly referred to as "Metro Nashville" or "Metro".

Davidson County has the largest population in the 13-county Nashville-Davidson–MurfreesboroFranklin Metropolitan Statistical Area, the state's most populous metropolitan area. Nashville has always been the region's center of commerce, industry, transportation, and culture, but it did not become the capital of Tennessee until 1827 and did not gain permanent capital status until 1843.[1]

History[edit]

Davidson County is the oldest county in the 41-county region of Middle Tennessee. It dates to 1783, shortly after the end of the American Revolution, when the North Carolina legislature created the county and named it in honor of William Lee Davidson,[4] a North Carolina general who was killed opposing the crossing of the Catawba River by General Cornwallis's British forces on February 1, 1781. The county seat, Nashville, is the oldest permanent European settlement in Middle Tennessee, founded by James Robertson and John Donelson during the winter of 1779–80 and the waning days of the Revolutionary War.

The first white settlers established the Cumberland Compact to establish a basic rule of law and to protect their land titles. Through much of the early 1780s, the settlers also faced a hostile response from the Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), and Shawnee who while not living in the area used is as a hunting ground and resented the newcomers moving into there and competing for its resources. As the county's many known archaeological sites attest, Native American cultures had occupied areas of Davidson County for thousands of years. The first white Americans to enter the area were fur traders. Long hunters came next, having heard about a large salt lick, known as French Lick, where they hunted game and traded with the Native Americans.[1]

In 1765, Timothy Demonbreun, a hunter, trapper, and former Governor of Illinois under the French, and his wife lived in a small cave (now known as Demonbreun's Cave) on the south side of the Cumberland River near present-day downtown Nashville. They were the parents of the first white child to be born in Middle Tennessee.[5] A number of the settlers came from Kentucky and the Upper South. Since the land was fertile, they cultivated hemp and tobacco, using the labor of enslaved African Americans, and also raised blooded livestock of high quality, including horses. Generally holding less land than the plantations of Western Tennessee, many Middle Tennessee planters nevertheless became wealthy during this period.

Map of Tennessee Districts in 1817: Tennessee, Davidson, and Sumner

Davidson County was much larger when it was created in 1783. However, four more counties were carved out of Davidson County's territory between 1786 and 1856.[6][7]

Following the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the voters of Davidson County voted narrowly in favor of seceding from the United States: 5,635 in favor, 5,572 against.[8] However, the Union Army occupied the county in February 1862, which caused widespread social disruption as the state's governing institutions broke down.

Notable people[edit]

See List of people from Nashville, Tennessee for notable people that were residents of both Nashville and Davidson County.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 526 square miles (1,360 km2), of which 504 square miles (1,310 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (4.2%) is water.[10]

The Cumberland River flows from east to west through the middle of the county. Two dams within the county are Old Hickory Lock and Dam and J. Percy Priest Dam, operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Important tributaries of the Cumberland in Davidson County include Whites Creek, Manskers Creek, Stones River, Mill Creek, and the Harpeth River.[11]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

State protected areas[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
17903,459
18009,965188.1%
181015,60856.6%
182020,15429.1%
183028,12239.5%
184030,5098.5%
185038,88227.4%
186047,05521.0%
187062,89733.7%
188079,02625.6%
1890108,17436.9%
1900122,81513.5%
1910149,47821.7%
1920167,81512.3%
1930222,85432.8%
1940257,26715.4%
1950321,75825.1%
1960399,74324.2%
1970448,00312.1%
1980477,8116.7%
1990510,7846.9%
2000569,89111.6%
2010626,68110.0%
2020715,88414.2%
2021 (est.)703,953[12]−1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790–1960[14] 1900–1990[15]
1990–2000[16] 2010–2020[2]
Age pyramid Davidson County[17]

2020 census[edit]

Davidson County racial composition[18]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 386,835 54.04%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 171,489 23.95%
Native American 1,309 0.18%
Asian 27,660 3.86%
Pacific Islander 303 0.04%
Other/Mixed 30,169 4.21%
Hispanic or Latino 98,119 13.71%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 715,884 people, 289,427 households, and 152,833 families residing in the county.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 569,891 people, 237,405 households, and 138,169 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,135 people per square mile (438/km2). There were 252,977 housing units at an average density of 504 per square mile (194/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 67.0% White, 26.0% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. 4.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2005 the racial makeup of the county was 61.7% non-Hispanic white, 27.5% African-American, 6.6% Latino and 2.8% Asian.

In 2000 there were 237,405 households, out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,797, and the median income for a family was $49,317. Males had a median income of $33,844 versus $27,770 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,069. About 10.0% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Davidson County is a Democratic stronghold, due to it comprising the liberal bastion of Nashville.[20][21] It last went Republican when George H. W. Bush won the county in 1988, and Democratic presidential candidates have handily won the county by double-digit margins since. However, Davidson County has trended even more Democratic in recent years while most of the rest of the state has shifted Republican. In 2020, Joe Biden won Davidson county with 64.5% of the vote and a 32.1% margin of victory, the best Democratic performance in the county since Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide victories.[22]

In local elections, the county is equally Democratic. Since the end of the Civil War, Nashville has mostly been in the 5th district, however, between 1875 and 1933, and 1943 and 1953, it was located in the 6th district. No Republican has represented Nashville in the Congress since Horace Harrison left office in 1875.[23]

United States presidential election results for Davidson County, Tennessee[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 100,218 32.36% 199,703 64.49% 9,737 3.14%
2016 84,550 33.95% 148,864 59.77% 15,654 6.29%
2012 97,622 39.76% 143,120 58.29% 4,792 1.95%
2008 102,915 38.80% 158,423 59.73% 3,885 1.46%
2004 107,839 44.51% 132,737 54.78% 1,726 0.71%
2000 84,117 40.33% 120,508 57.77% 3,963 1.90%
1996 78,453 39.15% 110,805 55.30% 11,124 5.55%
1992 76,567 37.57% 106,355 52.18% 20,885 10.25%
1988 98,599 52.18% 89,270 47.25% 1,077 0.57%
1984 98,155 51.99% 89,498 47.40% 1,161 0.61%
1980 65,772 37.45% 103,741 59.08% 6,093 3.47%
1976 60,662 37.54% 99,007 61.27% 1,929 1.19%
1972 82,636 61.30% 48,869 36.25% 3,292 2.44%
1968 44,175 32.34% 44,543 32.61% 47,889 35.06%
1964 45,335 36.35% 79,387 63.65% 0 0.00%
1960 52,077 46.25% 59,649 52.98% 871 0.77%
1956 37,077 39.08% 56,822 59.89% 975 1.03%
1952 35,916 40.99% 51,562 58.84% 152 0.17%
1948 8,410 22.34% 20,877 55.46% 8,356 22.20%
1944 10,174 27.68% 26,493 72.07% 93 0.25%
1940 8,763 24.11% 27,589 75.89% 0 0.00%
1936 4,467 14.81% 25,530 84.65% 161 0.53%
1932 7,004 24.43% 21,233 74.07% 429 1.50%
1928 15,322 53.21% 13,442 46.68% 34 0.12%
1924 4,516 26.18% 11,363 65.88% 1,370 7.94%
1920 6,811 33.48% 13,354 65.63% 181 0.89%
1916 3,168 25.71% 8,958 72.71% 194 1.57%
1912 1,428 11.44% 9,517 76.25% 1,536 12.31%
1908 2,721 24.23% 8,309 73.98% 202 1.80%
1904 1,900 19.08% 7,735 77.69% 321 3.22%
1900 2,501 25.78% 6,869 70.81% 330 3.40%
1896 5,720 41.88% 7,511 54.99% 428 3.13%
1892 2,993 24.40% 8,480 69.14% 792 6.46%
1888 9,321 47.16% 9,715 49.15% 730 3.69%
1884 8,111 49.55% 8,165 49.88% 94 0.57%
1880 6,449 44.66% 7,543 52.24% 448 3.10%


Federal officers[edit]

State officers[edit]

Local officers[edit]

Communities[edit]

All of Davidson County is encompassed under the consolidated Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. However, several municipalities that were incorporated before consolidation retain some autonomy as independent municipalities. These are:

For U.S. Census purposes, the portions of Davidson County that lie outside the boundaries of the six independently incorporated municipalities are collectively treated as the Nashville-Davidson balance.

Unincorporated communities[edit]

In addition, several other communities in the county that lack the official status of incorporated municipalities (either because they were never incorporated or because they relinquished their municipal charters when consolidation occurred) maintain their independent identities to varying degrees. These include:

Education[edit]

Metropolitan Nashville Public School District is the school district of the entire county.[24]

Tennessee School for the Blind is a state-operated school in Nashville.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Carroll Van West, "Davidson County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: June 26, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 101.
  5. ^ Thomas C. Barr, Jr., "Caves of Tennessee", Tennessee Division of Geology, Bulletin 64, 1961, p 148.
  6. ^ see List of counties in Tennessee for sourcing
  7. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1817). "State of Tennessee". Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Lovett, B.L. The African-American History of Nashville, Tn: 1780–1930 (p). University of Arkansas Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-61075-412-5. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Kizziah J. Bills". McKay Library Special Collections, Brigham Young University Idaho (BYUI). Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Morris, Eastin (1834). Tennessee Gazetteer. Nashville: W. Hasell Hunt & Co.
  12. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  15. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  17. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  18. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  20. ^ Ross, Janell (October 31, 2020). "A big blue dot in a deep red state, ready for Biden". NBC News. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  21. ^ Allison, Natalie (October 14, 2020). "How Belmont, Nashville and Tennessee have changed since hosting 2008 presidential debate". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  22. ^ a b Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  23. ^ "District View". Archived from the original on July 16, 2021.
  24. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Davidson County, TN" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 23, 2022. - Text list

Further reading[edit]

  • Nashville, Chattanooga; St. Louis Railway (1898), "Davidson County", Information for immigrants concerning middle Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn: Marshall & Bruce Co., printers, OCLC 7110225

External links[edit]