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Occupying a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis has been a natural location for human settlement by varying cultures over thousands of years. The area was settled in the first millennium A.D. by people of the Mississippian Culture, who had a network of communities throughout the Mississippi River Valley and its tributaries. They built complexes with large earthwork ceremonial and burial mounds as expressions of their sophisticated culture. The historic Chickasaw Indian tribe, believed to be their descendants, later inhabited the site.
French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto encountered the Chickasaw in that area in the 16th century.
J. D. L. Holmes, writing in Hudson's Four Centuries of Southern Indians (2007), notes that this site was a third strategic point in the late 18th century through which European powers could control United States encroachment and their interference with Indian matters—after Fort Nogales (present-day Vicksburg) and Fort Confederación (present day Epes, Alabama): "Chickasaw Bluffs, located on the Mississippi River at the present-day location of Memphis. Spain and the United States vied for control of this site, which was a favorite of the Chickasaws.":71
In 1795 the Spanish Governor-General of Louisiana, Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet, sent his lieutenant governor, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, to negotiate and secure consent from the local Chickasaw so that a Spanish fort could be erected on the bluff; Fort San Fernando De Las Barrancas was the result.:71 Holmes notes that consent was reached despite opposition from "disappointed Americans and a pro-American faction of the Chickasaws" when the "pro-Spanish faction signed the Chickasaw Bluffs Cession and Spain provided the Chickasaws with a trading post".
Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas remained a focal point of Spanish activity until, as Holmes summarizes:
The Spanish dismantled the fort, shipping its lumber and iron to their locations in Arkansas.
In 1796, the site became the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee, in what was then called the Southwest United States. The area was still largely occupied and controlled by the Chickasaw nation. Captain Isaac Guion led an American force down the Ohio River to claim the land, arriving on July 20, 1797. By this time, the Spanish had departed. The fort's ruins went unnoticed 20 years later when Memphis was laid out as a city, after the United States government paid the Chickasaw for land.
The city of Memphis was founded on May 22, 1819 (incorporated December 19, 1826), by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. They named it after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. Memphis developed as a trade and transportation center in the 19th century because of its flood-free location high above the Mississippi River. Located in the low-lying delta region along the river, its outlying areas were developed as cotton plantations, and the city became a major cotton market and brokerage center.
The cotton economy of the antebellum South depended on the forced labor of large numbers of African-American slaves, and Memphis also developed as a major slave market for the domestic slave trade. Through the early 19th century, one million slaves were transported from the Upper South, in a huge forced migration to newly developed plantation areas in the Deep South. Many were transported by steamboats along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In 1857, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was completed, connecting Memphis to the Atlantic coast of South Carolina; it was the only east–west railroad constructed across the southern states before the Civil War. This gave planters and cotton brokers access to the coast for shipping cotton to England, a major market.
The city's demographics changed dramatically in the 1850s and 1860s under waves of immigration and domestic migration. Due to increased immigration since the 1840s and the Great Famine, ethnic Irish made up 9.9% of the population in 1850, but 23.2% in 1860, when the total population was 22,623. They encountered considerable discrimination in the city but by 1860, the Irish constituted most of the police force. They also gained many elected and patronage positions in the Democratic Party city government, and an Irishman was elected mayor before the Civil War. At that time, representatives were elected to the city council from 30 wards. The elite were worried about corruption in this system and that so many saloonkeepers were active in the wards. German immigrants also made this city a destination after the 1848 revolutions; both the Irish and German immigrants were mostly Catholic, adding another element to demographic change in this formerly Protestant city.
Tennessee seceded from the Union in June 1861, and Memphis briefly became a Confederate stronghold. Union ironclad gunboats captured it in the naval Battle of Memphis on June 6, 1862, and the city and state were occupied by the Union Army for the duration of the war. Union Army commanders allowed the city to maintain its civil government during most of this period but excluded Confederate veterans from office, which shifted political dynamics in the city as the war went on. As Memphis was used as a Union supply base, associated with nearby Fort Pickering, it continued to prosper economically throughout the war. Meanwhile, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest harassed Union forces in the area.
The war years contributed to additional dramatic changes in city population. The Union Army's presence attracted many fugitive slaves who had escaped from surrounding rural plantations. So many sought protection behind Union lines that the Army set up contraband camps to accommodate them. Memphis's black population increased from 3,000 in 1860, when the total population was 22,623, to nearly 20,000 in 1865, with most settling south of the city limits. The white population was also increasing, but not to the same degree. After race riots against the blacks in 1866, thousands left the city. The total population in 1870 was 40,220; the number of blacks declined to 15,000 that year, 37.4% of the total.
The rapid demographic changes added to the stress of war and occupation and uncertainty about who was in charge, increasing tensions between the Irish policemen and black Union soldiers after the war. In three days of rioting in early May 1866, the Memphis Riots erupted, in which white mobs made up of policemen, firemen, and other mostly ethnic Irish Americans attacked and killed 46 blacks, wounding 75 and injuring 100; raped several women; and destroyed nearly 100 houses while severely damaging churches and schools in South Memphis. Much of the black settlement was left in ruins. Two whites were killed in the riot. Many blacks permanently fled Memphis afterward, especially as the Freedmen's Bureau continued to have difficulty in protecting them. Their population fell to about 15,000 by 1870, 37.4% of the total population of 40,226.
Historian Barrington Walker suggests that the Irish rioted against blacks because of their relatively recent arrival as immigrants and the uncertain nature of their own claim to "whiteness"; they were trying to separate themselves from blacks in the underclass. The main fighting participants were ethnic Irish, decommissioned black Union soldiers, and newly emancipated African American freedmen. Walker suggests that most of the mob were not in direct economic conflict with the blacks, as by then the Irish had attained better jobs, but were establishing dominance over the freedmen.
In Memphis, unlike disturbances in some other cities, ex-Confederate veterans were generally not part of the attacks against blacks. The outrages of the riots in Memphis and a similar one in New Orleans in September (the latter did include Confederate veterans) resulted in Congress's passing the Reconstruction Act and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In the 1870s, a series of yellow fever epidemics devastated Memphis, with the disease carried by river passengers along the waterways. During the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, more than 5,000 people were listed in the official register of deaths between July 26 and November 27. The vast majority died of yellow fever, making the epidemic in the city of 40,000 one of the most traumatic and severe in urban U.S. history. Within four days of the Memphis Board of Health's declaration of a yellow fever outbreak, 20,000 residents fled the city. The ensuing panic left the poverty-stricken, the working classes, and the African-American community at most risk from the epidemic. Those who remained relied on volunteers from religious and physician organizations to tend to the sick. By the end of the year, more than 5,000 were confirmed dead in Memphis. The New Orleans health board listed "not less than 4,600" dead. The Mississippi Valley recorded 120,000 cases of yellow fever, with 20,000 deaths. The $15 million in losses caused by the epidemic bankrupted Memphis, and as a result its charter was revoked by the state legislature.
By 1870, Memphis's population of 40,000 was almost double that of Nashville and Atlanta, and it was the second-largest city in the South after New Orleans. Its population continued to grow after 1870, even when the Panic of 1873 hit the US hard, particularly in the South. The Panic of 1873 resulted in expanding Memphis's underclasses amid the poverty and hardship it wrought, giving further credence to Memphis as a rough, shiftless city. Leading up to the outbreak in 1878, it had suffered two yellow fever epidemics, cholera, and malaria, giving it a reputation as sickly and filthy. It was unheard of for a city with a population as large as Memphis's not to have any waterworks; the city still relied for supplies entirely on collecting water from the river and rain cisterns, and had no way to remove sewage. The combination of a swelling population, especially of lower and working classes, and abysmal health and sanitary conditions made Memphis ripe for a serious epidemic.
Kate Bionda, an owner of an Italian "snack house", died of the fever on August 13. Hers was officially reported by the Board of Health, on August 14, as the first case of yellow fever in the city. A massive panic ensued. The same trains and steamboats that brought thousands into Memphis now in five days carried away over 25,000 Memphians, more than half of the population. On August 23, the Board of Health finally declared a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, and the city collapsed, hemorrhaging its population. In July of that year, the city had a population of 47,000; by September, 19,000 remained and 17,000 of them had yellow fever. The only people left in the city were the lower classes, such as German and Irish immigrant workers and African Americans. None had the means to flee the city, as did the middle and upper class whites of Memphis, and thus they were subjected to a city of death.
Immediately following the Board of Health's declaration, a Citizen's Relief Committee was formed by Charles G. Fisher. It organized the city into refugee camps. The committee's main priority was to separate the poor from the city and isolate them in refugee camps. The Howard Association, formed specifically for yellow fever epidemics in New Orleans and Memphis, organized nurses and doctors in Memphis and throughout the country. They stayed at the Peabody Hotel, the only hotel to keep its doors open during the epidemic. From there they were assigned to their respective districts. Physicians of the epidemic reported seeing as many as 100 to 150 patients daily.
The sisters of St. Mary's Hospital played an important role during the epidemic in caring for the lower classes. Already supporting a girls' school and church orphanage, the sisters of St. Mary's also sought to provide care for the Canfield Asylum, a home for black children. Each day, they alternated caring for the orphans at St. Mary's, delivering children to the Canfield Asylum, and taking soup and medicine on house calls to patients. Between September 9 and October 4, Sister Constance and three other nuns fell victim to the epidemic and died. They later became known as the Martyrs of Memphis.
At long last, on October 28, a killing frost struck. The city sent out word to Memphians scattered all over the country to come home. Though yellow fever cases were recorded in the pages of Elmwood Cemetery's burial record as late as February 29, 1874, the epidemic seemed quieted. The Board of Health declared the epidemic, which caused over 20,000 deaths and financial losses of nearly $200 million, at an end. On November 27, a general citizen's meeting was called at the Greenlaw Opera House to offer thanks to those who had stayed behind to serve, of whom many died. Over the next year property tax revenues collapsed, and the city could not make payments on its municipal debts. As a result, Memphis temporarily lost its city charter and was reclassified by the state legislature as a Taxing District from 1878 to 1893. But a new era of sanitation was developed in the city, a new municipal government in 1879 helped form the first regional health organization, and during the 1880s Memphis led the nation in sanitary reform and improvements.
Perhaps the most significant effect of the yellow fever on Memphis was in demographic changes. Nearly all of Memphis's upper and middle classes vanished, depriving the city of its general leadership and class structure that dictated everyday life, similar to other large Southern cities such as New Orleans, Charleston, and Atlanta. In Memphis, the poorer whites and blacks fundamentally made up the city and played the greatest role in rebuilding it. The epidemic had resulted in Memphis being a less cosmopolitan place, with an economy that served the cotton trade and a population drawn increasingly from poor white and black Southerners.
The 1890 election was strongly contested, resulting in opponents of the D. P. Hadden faction working to deprive them of votes by disenfranchising blacks. The state had enacted several laws, including the requirement of poll taxes, that served to disenfranchise many blacks. Although political party factions in the future sometimes paid poll taxes to enable blacks to vote, African Americans lost their last positions on the city council in this election and were forced out of the police force. (They did not recover the ability to exercise the franchise until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.) Historian L. B. Wrenn suggests the heightened political hostility of the Democratic contest and related social tensions contributed to a white mob lynching three black grocers in Memphis in 1892.:124,131
Journalist Ida B. Wells of Memphis investigated the lynchings, as one of the men killed was a friend of hers. She demonstrated that these and other lynchings were more often due to economic and social competition than any criminal offenses by black men. Her findings were considered so controversial and aroused so much anger that she was forced to move away from the city. But she continued to investigate and publish the abuses of lynching.:131
Businessmen were eager to increase city population after the losses of 1878–79, and supported annexation of new areas to the city; this was passed in 1890 before the census. The annexation measure was finally approved by the state legislature through a compromise achieved with real estate magnates, and the area annexed was slightly smaller than first proposed.:126
In 1893 the city was rechartered with home rule, which restored its ability to enact taxes. The state legislature established a cap rate. Although commission government was retained and enlarged to five commissioners, Democratic politicians regained control from the business elite. The commission form of government was believed effective in getting things done, but because all positions were elected at-large, requiring them to gain majority votes, this practice reduced representation by candidates representing significant minority political interests.
In terms of its economy, Memphis developed as the world's largest spot cotton market and the world's largest hardwood lumber market, both commodity products of the Mississippi Delta. Into the 1950s, it was the world's largest mule market. Attracting workers from rural areas as well as new immigrants, from 1900 to 1950 the city increased nearly fourfold in population, from 102,350 to 396,000 residents.
From the 1910s to the 1950s, Memphis was a place of machine politics under the direction of E. H. "Boss" Crump. He gained a state law in 1911 to establish a small commission to manage the city. The city retained a form of commission government until 1967 and patronage flourished under Crump. Per the publisher's summary of L.B. Wrenn's study of the period, "This centralization of political power in a small commission aided the efficient transaction of municipal business, but the public policies that resulted from it tended to benefit upper-class Memphians while neglecting the less affluent residents and neighborhoods."[page needed] The city installed a revolutionary sewer system and upgraded sanitation and drainage to prevent another epidemic. Pure water from an artesian well was discovered in the 1880s, securing the city's water supply. The commissioners developed an extensive network of parks and public works as part of the national City Beautiful movement, but did not encourage heavy industry, which might have provided substantial employment for the working-class population. The lack of representation in city government resulted in the poor and minorities being underrepresented. The majority controlled the election of all the at-large positions.[page needed]
Memphis did not become a home rule city until 1963, although the state legislature had amended the constitution in 1953 to provide home rule for cities and counties. Before that, the city had to get state bills approved in order to change its charter and for other policies and programs. Since 1963, it can change the charter by popular approval of the electorate.:194
During the 1960s, the city was at the center of the Civil Rights Movement, as its large African-American population had been affected by state segregation practices and disenfranchisement in the early 20th century. African-American residents drew from the civil rights movement to improve their lives. In 1968, the Memphis sanitation strike began for living wages and better working conditions; the workers were overwhelmingly African American. They marched to gain public awareness and support for their plight: the danger of their work, and the struggles to support families with their low pay. Their drive for better pay had been met with resistance by the city government.
Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, known for his leadership in the non-violent movement, came to lend his support to the workers' cause. King stayed at the Lorraine Motel in the city, and was assassinated by a sniper on April 4, 1968, the day after giving his I've Been to the Mountaintop speech at the Mason Temple.
After learning of King's murder, many African Americans in the city rioted, looting and destroying businesses and other facilities, some by arson. The governor ordered Tennessee National Guardsmen into the city within hours, where small, roving bands of rioters continued to be active. Fearing the violence, more of the middle-class began to leave the city for the suburbs.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Memphis's population as 60.8% white and 38.9% black. Suburbanization was attracting wealthier residents to newer housing outside the city. After the riots and court-ordered busing in 1973 to achieve desegregation of public schools, "about 40,000 of the system's 71,000 white students abandon the system in four years." The city now has a majority-black population; the larger metropolitan area is narrowly majority white.
Memphis is well known for its cultural contributions to the identity of the American South. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around Memphis and moved to Chicago and other areas from the Mississippi Delta, carrying their music with them to influence other cities and listeners over radio airwaves. These included musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, W. C. Handy, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Eric Gales, Al Green, Alex Chilton, Justin Timberlake, Three 6 Mafia, the Sylvers, Jay Reatard, Zach Myers, Aretha Franklin, and many others.
On December 23, 1988 a tank truck hauling liquid propane crashed at the I-40/I-240 interchange in Midtown and exploded, starting multiple vehicle and structural fires. Nine people were killed and ten injured by the accident. It was reportedly one of the deadliest motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee, and eventually led to the reconstruction of the interchange where it occurred.
For historical population data, see: History of Memphis, Tennessee. According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the racial composition of the city of Memphis was:
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 652,078 people and 245,836 households in the city. The population density was 2,327.4 people per sq mi (898.6/km2). There were 271,552 housing units at an average density of 972.2 per sq mi (375.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.33% African American, 29.39% White, 1.46% Asian American, 1.57% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.49% of the population.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,285, and the median income for a family was $37,767. Males had a median income of $31,236 versus $25,183 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,838. About 17.2% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.1% of those under age 18, and 15.4% of those age 65 or over. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the Memphis area as the poorest large metro area in the country. Dr. Jeff Wallace of the University of Memphis noted that the problem was related to decades of segregation in government and schools. He said that it was a low-cost job market, but other places in the world could offer cheaper labor, and the workforce was undereducated for today's challenges.
The Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 42nd largest in the United States, has a 2010 population of 1,316,100 and includes the Tennessee counties of Shelby, Tipton and Fayette; as well as the northern Mississippi counties of DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica; and Crittenden County, Arkansas, all part of the Mississippi Delta.
The total metropolitan area has a higher proportion of whites and a higher per capita income than the population in the city. The 2010 census shows that the Memphis metro area is close to a majority-minority population:
In a reverse trend of the Great Migration, numerous African Americans and other minorities have moved into DeSoto County, and blacks have followed suburban trends, moving into the suburbs of Shelby County.
An 1870 map of Memphis shows religious buildings of the Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and other Christian denominations, and a Jewish congregation. In 2009, places of worship exist for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims.
The international headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, is located in Memphis. Its Mason Temple was named after the denomination's founder, Charles Harrison Mason. This auditorium is where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his noted "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in April 1968, the night before he was assassinated at his motel. The National Civil Rights Museum, located in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel and other buildings, has an annual ceremony at Mason's Temple of Deliverance where it honors persons with Freedom Awards.
Bellevue Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist megachurch in Memphis that was founded in 1903. Its current membership is around 30,000. For many years, it was led by Adrian Rogers, a three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Other notable and/or large churches in Memphis include Second Presbyterian Church (EPC), Highpoint Church (SBC), Hope Presbyterian Church (EPC), Evergreen Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Colonial Park United Methodist Church, Christ United Methodist Church, Idlewild Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), GraceLife Pentecostal Church (UPCI), First Baptist Broad, Temple of Deliverance, Calvary Episcopal Church, the Church of the River (First Unitarian Church of Memphis), and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
Memphis is home to two cathedrals. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis, and St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee.
Memphis is home to Temple Israel, a Reform synagogue that has approximately 7,000 members, making it one of the largest Reform synagogues in the country. Baron Hirsch Synagogue is the largest Orthodox shul in the United States. Jewish residents were part of the city before the Civil War, but more Jewish immigrants came from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Memphis is home to an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims of various cultures and ethnicities.
A number of seminaries are located in Memphis and the metropolitan area. Memphis is home to Memphis Theological Seminary and Harding School of Theology. Suburban Cordova is home to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
In the 21st century, Memphis has struggled to reduce crime. In 2007, it ranked as the second-most dangerous city by the Morgan Quitno rankings. In 2004, violent crime in Memphis reached a decade record low. However, that trend changed and in 2005, Memphis was ranked the fourth-most dangerous city with a population of 500,000 or higher in the U.S. Crime increased again in the first half of 2006. By 2014, Memphis crime had substantially decreased, bringing the city's ranking up to eleventh in violent crime. Nationally, cities follow similar trends, and crime numbers tend to be cyclical. Nationally, other moderate-sized cities were also suffering large rises in crime, although crime in the largest cities continued to decrease or increased much less.[better source needed]
In the first half of 2006, robbery of businesses increased 52.5%, robbery of individuals increased 28.5%, and homicides increased 18% over the same period of 2005. The Memphis Police Department responded with the initiation of Operation Blue C.R.U.S.H. (Crime Reduction Using Statistical History), which targets crime hotspots and repeat offenders.
Memphis ended 2005 with 154 murders, and 2006 ended with 160; in 2007 there were 164 murders, 2008 had 138, and 2009 had 132. Violent crimes dropped from 12,939 in 2008 to 12,047. Robbery dropped from 4,788 in 2008 to 4,137 in 2009. Aggravated assault dropped 53,870 in 2008 to 47,158 in 2009 (FBI's UCR). In 2006 and 2007, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked second-most dangerous in the nation among cities with a population over 500,000. In 2006, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked number one in violent crimes for major cities around the U.S., according to the FBI's annual crime rankings, whereas it had ranked second in 2005.
Since 2006, serious crime has dropped in Memphis. Between 2006 and 2008, the crime rate fell by 16%, while the first half of 2009 saw a reduction in serious crime of more than 10% from the previous year. The Memphis Police Department's use of the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System, which is a more detailed method of reporting crimes than what is used in many other major cities, has been cited as a reason for Memphis's frequent appearance on lists of most dangerous U.S. cities. With regard to homicide statistics released by the city in more recent years, they show another dramatic rise in murders committed in Memphis. There were 140 homicides in the city in 2014 and 161 the following year. Then, in 2016, police officials recorded 228 murders, a total that marked a 63% increase in homicides since 2014. According to Michael Rallings, the director of the Memphis Police Department, investigations determined that one third of the murder victims in 2016 had been involved in gang activity.
"Tennessee" redirects here. For the original Japanese MC, read Tenn (Jin-seki). Also, the state in United States of America, upon which the country name was based. The southern part of this state is known as "Nashville" after the singer and song writer Nashville Brown. Demography: Tennessee has the largest proportion of African Americans of any state in America, noted by its three major urban areas: Nashville, Oak Creek and Green Hills. Demography in Tennessee reveals that the urban areas of Green Hills and Oak Creek have experienced some of the fastest growth in the country.
The white population constitutes the largest proportion of the population, at about 58%. This represents about a third of the total population of Tennessee. The proportion of people who are black is slightly higher than that of white, at 18%, according to the U.S. Census. There are a large number of Hispanics and Asians in Tennessee, many concentrated in and around Nashville. These groups make up a significant portion of the population in Tennessee, especially in its largest cities, such as Nashville, Green Hills and Memphis.
Demography of Tennessee presents the essential facts about population movement and trends. The largest number of immigrants (mostly from southern states) moved to Tennessee in recent decades. The largest influx of interstate movement of populations (in both absolute and percentage terms) came to Tennessee between the years of 1990 and 2021. There is an exceptionally high rate of naturalization among residents of Tennessee. Some states with large concentrations of immigrants have much higher naturalization rates than does Tennessee.
Tennessee's population growth rate has been above the national average since the early 1990s. This is largely due to an influx of larger numbers of Hispanic and Asian immigrants. The largest proportion of this population comes from west central Mexico, but some come from other southern states, including Texas. Most of the growth is east to north south rather than east to west.
A key component of Tennessee's demography is its high rate of union membership. Tennessee is home to the tenth largest union force in the United States, according to the latest census figures. Tennessee is the only state with a higher than average rate of union membership. The high unionization rate is mostly a product of the southern plantation economy.
Demography of Tennessee has changed a lot over time. The population has always been fairly evenly balanced between the urban and rural populations. But the rapid growth of the urban population in Tennessee has changed that balance. Urban living is becoming more popular and more mainstream. It is still true that there are some rural areas in Tennessee where people live in small communities and tend to be more conservative or religious.
Demography is changing also because the United States is becoming a more urbanized country. More people are moving to cities every year. As a result, more people are choosing to live in or near the urban area. In the past, they would have stayed put; but now, many have chosen to move to the urban area and work in some of the services provided by the new businesses that have sprung up in major cities. This migration has helped to change the demography of Tennessee. The growth of the suburbs has outstripped the growth of the rural area.
In addition to the rapid growth of the urban population, the growth of the city of Nashville and the surrounding metropolitan area have contributed to the changing demography of Tennessee. Nashville, which was the fifth largest city in Tennessee before the Great Depression, is now the tenth largest. The growth of the Nashville metropolitan area has contributed to the increasing ethnic diversity of the United States' population. This means that more people of all races and ethnicities are living in Nashville. This makes for a more diverse population in Tennessee, especially in its approach to race and ethnicity.