Cities in Tennessee

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This page contains a list of cities in Tennessee, and other information about local governments.

Tennessee allows municipal charter cities and counties. There are 92 total counties in Tennessee. Of those 92:[1]

There are 345 total municipalities in Tennessee. Of those 345, 116 are General law municipalities and 229 are governed either under a state granted private act charter or a Home rule charter.[1]

Types of local government

Local government in Tennessee consists of:

  • Counties: There are 92 counties in Tennessee. Two of these, Shelby and Knox counties, operate under home rule charters. Three counties (not included in the count) are classified as service districts--they are not considered independent governments under state law.
  • Municipalities: There are 342 cities and towns in Tennessee. There are not significant legal differences between cities and towns.[2]
  • Metropolitan governments: There are 3 metropolitan governments in Tennessee. They are a form of city-county consolidation and exercise substantially all of the functions of both under state law. They are Nashville-Davidson, Lynchburg-Moore, and Hartsville-Trousdale.[3]
  • In addition, there are 469 special districts and 14 independent school districts.[2]

Further municipal classification:

All municipalities are governed under a charter. However, there is significant difference in the degree of local autonomy depending on the type of charter.

  • Home rule charter: 14 cities and towns operate under a home rule charter and exercise substantial local autonomy. They are Chattanooga, Clinton, East Ridge, Etowah, Johnson City, Knoxville, Lenoir City, Memphis, Mt. Juliet, Oak Ridge, Red Bank, Sevierville, Sweetwater and Whitwell.
  • Private act charter: 212 cities and towns operate under a private act charter which was granted by the state General Assembly. While the charter is individualized to the city or town, the General Assembly and state statutes maintain more control over the municipality compared to home rule municipalities.
  • General law: The remaining cities and towns are incorporated with a standardized charter set by state statutes. They may be incorporated under a Mayor-Aldermanic Charter (T.C.A., Title 6, Chapters 1-17); Uniform City Manager-Commission Charter (T.C.A., Title 6, Chapters 18-29); or Modified City Manager-Council Charter (T.C.A., Title 6, Chapters 30-36). A Metropolitan Government Charter (T.C.A., Title 7, Chapters 1-6) also falls in this category, but statutes authorize considerable freedom for metropolitan governments to individualize their charters.[4]

Initiative process availability

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Tennessee

The 2 home rule charter counties, Shelby and Knox, authorize initiative for charter amendments.

The 3 metropolitan governments, Nashville-Davidson, Lynchburg-Moore, and Hartsville-Trousdale, authorize initiative for charter amendments.

At least 7 cities have initiative for ordinances through their private act charter. These are Algood, Bristol, Cookville, Eagleville, Gatlinburg, Jackson, and Murfreesboro.

At least 2 cities have initiative for ordinances through their home rule charter. These are Chattanooga and Knoxville. As charter amendments may be proposed by ordinance, this process has been used for charter amendments as well.

10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Tennessee
City[5] Population City Type Next election
Memphis 652,050 Home rule charter N/A
Nashville 609,644 Metropolitan charter (consolidated with Davidson county) N/A
Knoxville 180,761 Home rule charter N/A
Chattanooga 170,136 Home rule charter N/A
Clarksville 136,231 Private act charter N/A
Murfreesboro 111,327 Private act charter N/A
Jackson 65,187 Private act charter N/A
Franklin 64,317 Private act charter N/A
Johnson City 63,815 Home rule charter N/A
Bartlett 55,055 Private act charter N/A

Full list of cities

See also: List of Tennessee cities
A guide to local ballot initiatives
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As of the 2010 Census, there were 347 incorporated cities and towns in Tennessee. A full list of cities in Tennessee is available here.

See also