NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Recent U.S. Census numbers show Nashville’s suburbs have become dramatically more diverse over the last seven years.
For instance, in La Vergne, the Asian and Hispanic populations more than tripled and the Black population doubled, according to the numbers released last week.
Smyrna has also seen a surge in its Asian population, with the numbers increasing by 225 percent from 371 people to 1,208. Similarly, its Hispanic population grew by 142 percent to 2,669 people, compared with 1,101 people in 2000.
Mt. Juliet saw its Black population triple to 1,535 people, up from 525 in 2000. And in Lebanon, the Hispanic population almost tripled. Brentwood and Hendersonville have also seen increases.
Stephanie Bohon is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee. She says that as immigrants improve their English, get better jobs and make more money, they shift from the inner city to more suburban communities for better schools and good homes at lower prices.
“In the mid-1990s, we had immigration to Nashville, Knoxville and inner cities,” Bohon said. “As these immigrants adapt, they do what most people do, which is move to the suburbs. They are looking for nicer homes and better schools.”
Affordable homes and safety are among two of the reasons some immigrants say they prefer the suburbs.
Anna Maria Garcia said finding a reasonable four-bedroom house in La Vergne was a major factor in her uprooting her family from California. “That was the motive.”
Marta Avile said her family decided to move to La Vergne four years ago after a child was struck by a car where she was living in Nashville.
“I like it because it’s safer,” Avile said. “There is no trouble, and you can live in peace.” ♦
Information from The Tennessean contributed to this report.