Stacker Studio

Tennessee small businesses thrive in these counties

Written by:
August 11, 2023
Canva

Tennessee small businesses thrive in these counties

In 2021, the IRS received a whopping 5.4 million business applications—an all-time high since the U.S. government began tracking this data in 2004. The year with the second-highest number of new business applications? 2020. Today, small businesses employ nearly half of the nation's workers, according to a Chamber of Commerce report.

It's fair to say that the past few years have been banner years for small businesses, but what about regional differences? The business climate in a small town in Texas is likely not the same as a small town in Connecticut. The Chamber of Commerce report found that the Midwest was the most business-friendly region, thanks to the relatively low cost of living, well-educated workforce, and regulations lowering taxes and easing zoning restrictions for businesses.

Of course, the East and West coasts also have plenty to offer, from California's Silicon Valley and Hollywood studios to New York's financial hub to Massachusetts' prominence in the aerospace, defense, and information technology industries. A few states—including Delaware, Wyoming, and Nevada—even allow you to incorporate your business within their borders without ever setting foot there.

For even more specific data, let's take it a step further by analyzing counties. Are certain counties more friendly to small businesses than others? To pinpoint the areas where small businesses abound, altLINE used Census Bureau data to find the counties in Tennessee with the highest concentration of small businesses in 2021, calculated as small establishments per 1,000 residents. Small establishments are defined as those with fewer than 500 employees. Counties with fewer than 1,000 residents were excluded from the analysis, as well as counties for which the Census Bureau didn't have population estimates.

Another important factor to consider: States where nonresidents are allowed to incorporate businesses will also have a higher ratio of small businesses to residents since not all small businesses are actually operated by people living in that state.

Taking a close look at the type of counties that topped the list in each state also reveals some interesting trends. World-class vacation destinations are well represented on the lists of each state, perhaps because tourists are looking to get a sense of how the locals live through small businesses like restaurants, bakeries, bars, and boutiques.

While the top counties in each state do include a few major cities, less populated counties with smaller towns are much more common. Although most of the nation's small businesses are located in major metropolitan areas, those that are located in rural areas tend to be more stable—possibly due to loyalty from local residents or the absence of competition from large corporations.

Keep reading to discover the counties in Tennessee with the highest concentration of small businesses, and see how it compares across 50 states. It just might give you inspiration for your next endeavor.

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten, writing by Annalise Mantz, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

1 / 50
Canva

#50. Marshall County

- Total small business establishments: 529 (15.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 35,032

2 / 50
Canva

#49. Pickett County

- Total small business establishments: 78 (15.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 98.7%
- 2021 population: 5,082

3 / 50
Canva

#48. Monroe County

- Total small business establishments: 723 (15.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 46,668

4 / 50
Canva

#47. Cheatham County

- Total small business establishments: 649 (15.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 41,547

5 / 50
Canva

#46. Fayette County

- Total small business establishments: 695 (16.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 42,899

6 / 50
NancyRutledge // Shutterstock

#45. Lincoln County

- Total small business establishments: 576 (16.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 35,451

7 / 50
Canva

#44. McNairy County

- Total small business establishments: 422 (16.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 25,854

8 / 50
Canva

#43. Haywood County

- Total small business establishments: 290 (16.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.0%
- 2021 population: 17,715

9 / 50
laurie schaerer // Shutterstock

#42. Bedford County

- Total small business establishments: 841 (16.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 51,157

10 / 50
Canva

#41. Franklin County

- Total small business establishments: 713 (16.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 43,247

11 / 50
Canva

#40. Rutherford County

- Total small business establishments: 5,814 (16.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 351,202

12 / 50
Canva

#39. Weakley County

- Total small business establishments: 552 (16.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 32,870

13 / 50
Canva

#38. Lawrence County

- Total small business establishments: 757 (16.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 44,729

14 / 50
Canva

#37. Greene County

- Total small business establishments: 1,196 (16.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 70,603

15 / 50
Canva

#36. Robertson County

- Total small business establishments: 1,267 (17.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 74,088

16 / 50
2Kahns Photo Arts // Shutterstock

#35. Lewis County

- Total small business establishments: 220 (17.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 12,854

17 / 50
Canva

#34. Loudon County

- Total small business establishments: 972 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 56,672

18 / 50
Canva

#33. McMinn County

- Total small business establishments: 926 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 53,907

19 / 50
Canva

#32. Crockett County

- Total small business establishments: 241 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 13,993

20 / 50
JNix // Shutterstock

#31. Giles County

- Total small business establishments: 532 (17.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 30,403

21 / 50
Canva

#30. Blount County

- Total small business establishments: 2,419 (17.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 137,649

22 / 50
Canva

#29. Henderson County

- Total small business establishments: 493 (17.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 27,916

23 / 50
Tracy Burroughs Brown // Shutterstock

#28. Sumner County

- Total small business establishments: 3,547 (17.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 200,582

24 / 50
Canva

#27. Warren County

- Total small business establishments: 736 (17.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.3%
- 2021 population: 41,529

25 / 50
Canva

#26. Humphreys County

- Total small business establishments: 341 (17.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 19,200

26 / 50
Canva

#25. Cumberland County

- Total small business establishments: 1,113 (17.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 62,431

27 / 50
ultramansk // Shutterstock

#24. Gibson County

- Total small business establishments: 908 (18.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 50,537

28 / 50
Canva

#23. Benton County

- Total small business establishments: 288 (18.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 15,839

29 / 50
Tracy Burroughs Brown // Shutterstock

#22. Bradley County

- Total small business establishments: 2,002 (18.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 109,769

30 / 50
Canva

#21. Maury County

- Total small business establishments: 1,950 (18.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 105,003

31 / 50
SevenMaps // Shutterstock

#20. Decatur County

- Total small business establishments: 213 (18.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 11,413

32 / 50
Sabrina Janelle Gordon // Shutterstock

#19. Hardin County

- Total small business establishments: 506 (18.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.2%
- 2021 population: 26,878

33 / 50
Canva

#18. Dickson County

- Total small business establishments: 1,045 (18.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 55,174

34 / 50
Tracy Burroughs Brown // Shutterstock

#17. Wilson County

- Total small business establishments: 3,044 (20.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 152,010

35 / 50
Canva

#16. Anderson County

- Total small business establishments: 1,562 (20.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.3%
- 2021 population: 77,567

36 / 50
Canva

#15. Hamblen County

- Total small business establishments: 1,304 (20.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 64,390

37 / 50
Canva

#14. Obion County

- Total small business establishments: 629 (20.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 30,498

38 / 50
Canva

#13. Sullivan County

- Total small business establishments: 3,331 (20.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 159,167

39 / 50
Canva

#12. Henry County

- Total small business establishments: 679 (21.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 32,250

40 / 50
Canva

#11. Dyer County

- Total small business establishments: 781 (21.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 36,586

41 / 50
Canva

#10. Shelby County

- Total small business establishments: 19,830 (21.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 923,352

42 / 50
Canva

#9. Coffee County

- Total small business establishments: 1,267 (21.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 58,933

43 / 50
Canva

#8. Washington County

- Total small business establishments: 2,958 (22.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 133,525

44 / 50
Canva

#7. Putnam County

- Total small business establishments: 1,865 (23.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 81,255

45 / 50
Canva

#6. Knox County

- Total small business establishments: 12,005 (24.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 486,812

46 / 50
Canva

#5. Madison County

- Total small business establishments: 2,537 (25.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 98,585

47 / 50
Canva

#4. Hamilton County

- Total small business establishments: 9,507 (25.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 369,027

48 / 50
Canva

#3. Davidson County

- Total small business establishments: 20,978 (29.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 703,372

49 / 50
Canva

#2. Sevier County

- Total small business establishments: 2,978 (30.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 99,435

50 / 50
Canva

#1. Williamson County

- Total small business establishments: 8,014 (31.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 256,209

This story originally appeared on altLINE and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Trending Now