The State of Tennessee lies in the Southeastern region of the United States. It’s a peaceful country that’s perfect for all those that like music and mountain activities. If you want to be one of the 6.9 million residents there, check out our rankings of the safest cities in Tennessee to get informed about where and where not to go.
With a total population of 6.9 million, Tennessee is the 15th most populated state in the United States. It got its name from the Native American word “Tana-see,” which means “the meeting place,” and is full of rich history and cultural charm. Tennessee borders eight states: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.
What is Tennessee Known For?
The state’s nickname is “The Volunteer State,” due to a large number of volunteer soldiers during the War of 1812. At that time the state sent out more people to the Confederate Army than any other state.
Tennessee is home to Nashville, the most famous country music location in the world. People from all over travel to witness stars in action or try their hand at becoming the next Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, or Taylor Swift.
Tennesseans use around 80% of the state land for agricultural purposes. This state has more tree species than any other state in America.
Is Tennessee Safe?
Tennessee has one of the highest crime rates. Its crime rate is 3,248 per 100,000 residents, and the occurrence of violent crime ranks third in the entire country.
Notably, Tennesseans report that they feel safe in Tennessee. This is likely due to the concentration of crime in certain big city areas that drive the rate up.
Earnings in Tennessee
The median household income in Tennessee is $53,320, and the per capita earnings amount to $29,859. Nearly 14% of Tennesseans live in poverty.
Safest Cities in Tennessee for 2021
1. Church Hill
Church Hill belongs to Hawkins County of Tennessee. It’s part of the Kingsport-Bristol Metro Area and the “Tri-Cities” region, and it currently has 6,664 residents.
Church Hill was first established as a trading post. It encompassed two stagecoach stops called Patterson Mill and Spencer Mil, and after a Methodist church opened in the area, the town received the name Church Hill. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1958.
As one of the most attractive small towns in Tennessee, it has other popular sites, such as the Carter’s Store and Smith Place.
Church Hill is also one of the safest towns in the state. Its crime rate is 150 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported ten property and zero violent crimes.
Residents of Church Hill earn below the state average, with a median household income of $46,024 and per capita earnings of $25,398. Over 15% of people live in poverty, properties are relatively cheap, with the median gross rent at only $593, and the median house price sits at $160,400.
2. Mount Carmel
In the top 10 best places to live in Tennessee by crime rate is Mount Camel. Mount Carmel is part of the “Tri-Cities region” that includes Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City. Its population consists of 5,294 people.
Even though it’s famous for its level of safety, Mount Carmel has been facing economic hardship since the 1980s. The poor leadership and the outsourcing of municipal and retail services to Kingsport and Church Hill, neighboring communities, made it hard for Mount Carmel to surpass its problems.
Despite these issues, the residents of Mount Carmel have earnings that are pretty similar to the ones in other Tennessee cities, with a per capita income of $29,769 and a median household income of $53,253. Almost 13% of people live in poverty, and rent is cheaper than in most other towns in Tennessee, with the median gross rent of $682 and the median home price is $163,800.
Mount Camel has an extremely low crime rate of 586 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 29 property and only two violent crimes.
Brentwood is part of Williamson County in Tennessee. It’s among the best suburbs of Nashville for families and currently has 42,783 residents.
When settlers first came to the state, they were drawn to Brentwood for its rich land. In 1810, John Frost came to the area and purchased the Mayfield Station. His home became the center for all business activities in that part of the state. Not long after, residents built a post office, general store, and grist mill. More and more residents came to Brentwood, establishing small farms and bigger plantations.
Today, Brentwood is one of the best places to live in Tennessee. It is a city with a low crime rate and high salaries. The median household income in Brentwood sits at $168,688, which is way above the state average, and the per capita earnings amount to $72,854. Only 2.5% of residents live in poverty.
In case you’re interested in living in this city, you should be prepared to pay more than what you would in other similar towns. The median gross rent in Brentwood is $2,085, while the median house cost sits at $894,600.
Brentwood is among the safest places in Tennessee, with a crime rate of 953 offenses per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported 374 property and 38 violent crimes.
Loudon is the county seat of Loudoun County, and it’s part of the Knoxville Metro Area, which lies on the Tennessee River. According to the latest official data, Loudon has 5,890 residents.
The residents of Loudon have moderate salaries that are close to the state average, and the per capita earnings amount to $24,125, with a median household income of $41,860. Around 13% of people from the area live in poverty.
Loudon is one of the safest cities in Tennessee, with a crime rate of only 971 per 100,000 residents. In 2019, the police filed reports for a total of five violent crimes and 52 property offenses.
Those interested in renting in Loudon will pay below the state average, as the median gross rent sits at $743, and the median house price in the city is $323,500.
Even though it’s among the smaller towns in Tennessee, Loudon is a pretty exciting place to visit. Downtown Loudon, for instance, is a great place to start your tour. It’s full of interesting shops and great restaurants you can explore. Those who want to learn more about the town’s history should go to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. There, you will learn more about the life of Sequoyah, who was a statesman, silversmith, and the creator of the Cherokee writing system.
5. Spring Hill
Spring Hill belongs to Williamson and Maury Counties. It’s around 30 miles away from Nashville, making it part of the Nashville Metro Area. Those wondering where is the best place to live in Tennessee should look into Spring Hill as it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. Its population is constantly changing, but, according to the latest estimates, the town has 43,769 residents.
Spring Hill was established as a city in 1809. History fans will recognize the name of this town as one of the battles during the Civil War. The Battle of Spring Hill happened in November of 1864. After the war, Branham and Hughes Military Academy was built in the area, which attracted more residents.
Spring Hill is among the most popular cities in Tennessee, so much so that its Board of Mayor and Aldermen came up with the “Spring Hill Rising: 2040” plan. This plan’s purpose is to reorganize the city to accommodate its growing population.
The median household income in Spring Hill is $90,778, which is way above the state average, and per capita earnings sit at $32,770. Only 2.8% of residents live in poverty. Spring Hill may be one of the best places to visit and live in Tennessee. Higher wages come with pricier properties, though, and the median house price is $383,100, and the median gross rent sits at $1,401.
Another reason why this town is so appealing is its low crime rate of 1,002 per 100,000 people. In 2019, residents reported 381 property and 53 violent offenses.
Nolensville belongs to Williamson County, and it’s located in Middle Tennessee. If you’re researching what is the best small town to live in, Tennessee, you should look into Nolensville. It’s a beautiful, small community with only 10,062 residents.
Nolensville became a popular place of relocation after the American Revolutionary War. William Nolen, its first known resident, accidentally reached the town when his wagon wheel broke. After noticing the rich soil and lots of natural resources, he decided to build a home there.
One of the main reasons to move to Nolensville is the median household income, which sits at $134,740. The per capita earnings are above the state average, at $43,070, and only 1.4% of people live in poverty.
Nolensville is among the safest places in Tennessee. Its crime rate is 1,159 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police filed reports for 94 property crimes and 16 violent offenses.
If you liked what you read and you want to move to Nolensville, you should know that the median house price there is $562,300, and the median gross rent sits at $2,263.
Franklin is the county seat of Williamson County. It’s among the principal cities of the Nashville Metro Area. According to the latest data available, the city has 83,097 residents.
If you’ve been typing “Where is the best place to retire in Tennessee?” trying to find a lovely, safe town to grow old in, you might have found it. Franklin is full of beautiful parks that will be great for walking, biking, and playing. Furthermore, it offers lots of fun activities, and it has a historic feel. The city’s government is working hard to protect the town’s older buildings, and there are five historic districts to enjoy.
Franklin harbours a low crime rate of 1,274 per 100,000 people, making it one of the safest cities near Nashville, TN. In 2019, residents reported 926 property and 138 violent offenses.
Franklin is also a city with high earnings. The median household income amounts to $98,231, while per capita earnings sit at $48,318. Approximately 6.6% of residents live in poverty, which is way below the state average, but this security comes at a cost as the median house cost is $625,400, and the median gross rent amounts to $1,481.
With a population of 58,113, Hendersonville is the most populous city in Sumner County, and it’s also the fourth-largest city in the Nashville Metro Area. Those interested in living in Tennessee should not forget to do some research on Hendersonville, as it offers high salaries, safe living, and exciting activities.
The city is named after one of the first known settlers of Hendersonville, William Henderson. His house was later used as a field hospital during the Civil War and can be visited to this day, as it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the Old Hickory Dam was completed in 1954, more and more residents came to the area, making it the fastest-growing city in Tennessee.
The crime rate in Hendersonville is 1,288 per 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest cities in Tennessee. Data from 2019 shows that there were 652 property and 100 violent crimes in the city.
Residents of Hendersonville earn above the state average, with a per capita income of $38,779, and a median household income in the city is $72,539. Only 6% of residents live in poverty, and the median house price is $367,200, with a median gross rent of $1,173.
Germantown belongs to Shelby County, and it borders Memphis. The city’s beautiful greenery granted it the “Tree City USA” title for 23 years in a row, and currently, the Germantown, Tennessee population sits at 39,225.
The first settlers arrived in this area in 1825, and a few years later, the land was named Pea Ridge. After surveyor N.T. German took the initiative to lay out the lots and organize the town, the name was switched to Germantown in 1836. Coincidentally, many German families chose this area as their next place of residence, and the community built churches, founded garden clubs and civic organizations.
This city is one of the best places to live in Tennessee when it comes to earnings. The median household income is over two times higher than the state average at $118,163, and per capita, earnings sit at $60,956. Only 2.5% of residents live in poverty, and the median house price is $418,200, while the median gross rent amounts to $1,387.
Germantown’s crime rate is 1,350 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, the police reported 36 violent and 492 property crimes.
Kingston is a city in Tennessee that’s also the county seat of Roane County. It’s part of the Harriman Micro Area and is one of the best small towns in Tennessee for crime rates, and it only has 5,994 residents.
Kingston is the second oldest city in Tennessee, and in 1807, it was actually the state capital for one day. Those interested in getting to know the history of this town and Tennessee, in general, can visit the Roane County Museum of History and Art.
The crime rate in Kingston is only 1,360 per 100,000 residents, which means this city is among the safer places in Tennessee. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 72 property offenses and seven violent crimes.
Earnings of Kingston residents are pretty close to the state average. The per capita income in the city is $28,856, and median household earnings sit at $57,390. Nearly 9% of residents live in poverty, which is below the Tennessee average. If you’re a fan of smaller towns with a rich history, you should definitely consider moving to Kingston. A house there will cost you around $217,400, while the median gross rent is $728.
The Best Cities to Live in Tennessee: Most Popular Cities Ranked by Crime Rate
Collierville belongs to Shelby County and is part of the Memphis Metro Area. It’s among the larger towns in the state, with a population of 51,040. The town got its name in honor of Jesse R. Collier, an entrepreneur who first purchased the land. The town was burned to the ground in the Civil War, and was restored in 1870.
Collierville’s historic town was named “The Best Main Street” in the United States in 2014, and the town was put on several publication lists of the best places to retire in Tennessee.
The quality of life in Collierville is high. The median household income is $113,996, and the per capita earnings amount to $49,951. Nearly 4% of residents live in poverty, which is over three times lower than the state average. Living in this town is expensive, however, as the median house cost in Collierville is $423,500, and the median gross rent sits at $1,331.
Collierville has a crime rate of 1,574 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 688 property and 119 violent offenses.
Bartlett is part of Shelby County and is one of the biggest cities in Tennessee, with a population of 59,440 people.
Bartlett used to be known under the name of Union Depot because it was the last major depot in the state. Later, when the Memphis and Ohio Railroad came to the area, the depot served as a railway station. At its foundation, Bartlett had about a hundred residents, but the community steadily grew after the Civil War, which led to the birth of various economic activities.
This city is pretty safe and its crime rate is only 2,070 per 100,000 residents. That means you won’t be needing expensive Tennessee home security systems in order to keep your belongings safe. In 2019, residents reported 1,046 property and 188 violent crimes.
Residents of Bartlett enjoy a moderate quality of life. The median household income sits at $84,688, and the per capita earnings are $35,631, which is below the state average. The percentage of residents that live in poverty is low at 6%, and the property values are high. The median house price is $276,600, and the median gross rent is $1,383.
Murfreesboro is the county seat of Rutherford County. It’s located in Middle Tennessee and is part of the Nashville Metro Area. Currently, Murfreesboro, TN population is 146,900, and students make up a large proportion of the population as it’s the home of Middle Tennessee State University.
Murfreesboro received its name to honor the Revolutionary War hero Hardy Murfree. The original name was “Murfreesborough.” This city served as the capital of Tennessee from 1818 to 1826, but after eight years, the government decided to make Nashville the capital of the state.
The median household income is $62,003, and the per capita earnings sit at $30,629. Almost 15% of residents live in poverty, which is higher than the number of people in poverty in the whole state. The population of Murfreesboro, TN, pays higher rent than most other Tennesseans, with a median gross rent of $1,052 and a median house price of $311,400.
The crime rate in Murfreesboro is slightly above the Tennessee average, at 3,316 offenses per 100,000 residents. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 611 violent offenses and 4,228 property crimes.
Clarksville is the fifth-largest city in Tennessee, and it’s the county seat of Montgomery County. It’s the principal municipality of the Clarksville Metro Area and is also the home of Austin Peay State University. According to the latest estimates, the Clarksville, TN population consists of 158,146 people.
Clarksville was founded in 1785. It gained its name after General George Rogers Clark, who was a Revolutionary War Hero. The city’s official incorporation came in 1807, and in the 1980s, Clarksville experienced a significant increase in population.
The crime rate in Clarksville is pretty close to the state average, sitting at 3,371 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 926 violent and 4,467 property offenses.
Clarksville is among the cheapest places to retire in Tennessee. The median gross rent is $961, and the median home price in the town is $231,200. The earnings of Clarksville residents are pretty close to the state average, with a median household income of $53,604 and a per capita earnings of $25,239. Around 14% of residents live in poverty.
15. Johnson City
Johnson City is spread over three counties: Washington County, Carter County, and Sullivan County. The majority of the city belongs to Washington County and constitutes the Johnson City Metropolitan Area. The Johnson City, TN population, is currently 66,906 residents.
The historical data tells us that Henry Johnson founded the city in 1856, at first naming it “Johnson’s Depot.” Because of its location, the town quickly became a vital railway hub for the Southeast, as three railway lines passed through the downtown area.
In the 1920s, Johnson City received the nickname “Little Chicago” due to its ties to Capone’s alcohol smuggling. Another interesting fact about the city was that it honored the “privilege tax” for many years. This tax limited the presence of traveling circuses and similar entertainment businesses.
Those that have been wondering, “what city in Tennessee has the lowest cost of living?” might have come across Johnson City. The town is famous for its low cost of living, and notably, the median house cost in Johnson City sits at $193,400, and the median gross rent is below the state average, at $755.
Despite being on the cheaper side, Johnson City has a high percentage of people living in poverty at 21%. The median household income amounts to $41,682, and the per capita earnings of residents are $30,939.
The crime rate in Johnson City is 3,982 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported 2,390 property and 286 violent crimes.
The population of Jackson, TN is 67,191 people, and it is the county seat of Madison County. The city is the primary municipality of the Jackson Metro Area and a major trade center for West Tennessee.
Throughout history, Jackson was a crucial market city for cotton cultivators. In the 1850s, it became a hub for railroad systems. During the 20th century, many major manufacturing businesses opened in the area, some of which are Stanley/Black and Decker and Procter & Gamble. Japanese manufacturers such as ARJ, Pacific Industries, and TBDN also opened their offices in Jackson.
The Jackson, TN population earns below the state average, with a median household income in the city of $43,621 and a per capita earnings of $25,595. More than 22% of residents live in poverty, despite properties being inexpensive. The median gross rent is $877, and the median house price sits at $153,500.
When it comes to crime rates, Jackson is on the more dangerous side. Its official crime rate is 4,667 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, there were a total of 650 violent offenses and 2,473 property crimes in the city.
The Knoxville, TN population is currently reported at 187,603 people, and it’s a major city in Tennessee and the county seat of Knox County. It’s the home of the University of Tennessee and the principal city of the Knoxville Metro Area.
This city was the first capital of Tennessee, and it was quite isolated until the construction of the railroad line in 1855. After this year, Knoxville experienced a rapid rise in population. Following the Civil War, the Knoxville population was on the rise again as it became a major wholesaling and manufacturing center, but after the manufacturing sector collapsed, Knoxville faced stagnation up until the 1982 World’s Fair, which was held in this town.
Residents of Knoxville earn below the Tennessee average, with per capita earnings of $26,340 and a median household income of $40,341. Around 24% of people live in poverty. Knoxville’s population is growing despite low salaries, along with its reputation for crime, leaving many to ask, “is Knoxville a safe city?”
The crime rate is 5,017 offenses per 100,000 people, which is above the state average, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 1,259 violent and 8,207 property offenses. The average rent is $845, and the median house price is $257,300.
Nashville, commonly known as Nashville-Davidson, is the capital of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It lies on the Cumberland River, which was a major port throughout history. Nashville was founded in 1779, and the city received its name to honor Francis Nash, who was a general during the American Revolutionary War. The Nashville, TN population consists of 670,820 people, making it the most populated city in the state.
People refer to Nashville as the “Music City” as it’s very well the heart of the country music scene in America. Additionally, many colleges and universities are located in this city, such as Tennessee State University, Belmont University, Fisk University, and Lipscomb University.
Nashville is also important for other industries such as healthcare, automotive, transportation, and banking. Large companies with headquarters in Nashville include Dollar General, Amazon, Captain D’s, and Bridgestone Americas.
The Nashville crime rate is 5,114 per 100,000 people, and there were 7,449 violent and 28,496 property crimes committed in the city in 2019.
The median household income in Nashville is slightly above the state average at $59,828, and the per capita earnings are $35,243. Approximately 15% of residents live in poverty, and despite the moderate earnings, properties in Nashville are on the pricier side. The median house cost is $341,700, and the median gross rent sits at $1,100.
Chattanooga is the county seat of Hamilton Countyand extends into Marion County. The Chattanooga, TN population consists of 182,799 people, and the town is the center of the Chattanooga Metro Area and acts as a central transit hub in Tennessee, with multiple railroads and interstate highways passing through the city.
The Chattanooga Airport presents another significant connection to the rest of the country. This city is also the home of the Chattanooga State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC).
The city’s strategic location for transit made it essential during the Civil War. After the war, railroads and regular roads brought many people to the area, which allowed the Chattanooga population to grow. Today, the economy of Chattanooga is diversified, with dominant industries being manufacturing, food production, automotive industry, insurance, and tourism. Chattanooga is known for its scenic views and beautiful landscapes.
The per capita earnings in Chattanooga are close to the state average and sit at $30,592. The median household income is $45,527, and about 17% of residents live in poverty. The Chattanooga crime rate is 6,628 per 100,000 people, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the state. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 1,946 violent crimes and 10,106 property offenses.
If you’re not worried about the high crime rates and want to move to Chattanooga, the median home value in the city is $218,700, and the median gross rent is $859.
Memphis is a city in the southwestern part of Tennessee. It’s the county seat of Shelby County and the main city in the Greater Memphis Metro Area. The Memphis, TN population is 651,073 people, making it the second-most populated city in the state.
For years, Memphis has been a leading commercial center for logistics and transportation. The city is also a center for education, entertainment, art, and commerce, and it has a vibrant music scene with a mixture of blues, country, rock, soul, and hip-hop.
The earnings of Memphis residents fall below the state average, with per capita earnings of $25,605 and a median household income of $41,228. Over 25% of residents are living in poverty, almost twice the state average.
Memphis is a dangerous city, with one of the highest crime cities in Tennessee. Its crime rate is 8,030 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, the police reported 39,860 property and 12,367 violent crimes.
Even though it’s a bigger city that offers plenty of opportunities, properties in Memphis are affordable, with the median house price of only $123,800and the median gross rent of $901.
Those that want to move to Tennessee to experience the scenic charm, southern comfort, or musical culture have many options to choose from. The safest cities in Tennessee may not be the biggest. But still offer a mix of opportunity, heritage, and population to give you everything you’re looking for in a home.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to develop your career, retire affordably, or be in the bustle of a big city, Tennessee has options for everyone. Like many southern states, crime rates vary and are important to consider when you’re looking to relocate.