As one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region, Knoxville has positioned itself in recent years as a repository of local culture. Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee, the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and several national and regional companies. It is near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center. Knoxville’s population is becoming more diverse, with 28 percent identifying as other than white. Median wages are significantly lower for people of color than for their white counterparts in Knoxville, with white people earning over $5,000 more than black people and Latino people. Since 2010, the poverty rate has increased for white, black, Latino, and mixed-race residents. Knoxville may face a skills gap if it does not increase educational attainment for black and Latino residents. Nearly 60 percent of jobs will require some college education, but only half of black residents and just over 40 percent of Latino residents meet this job requirement
n Knoxville, we conducted individual interviews and hosted small group discussions with food policy experts at the United Way, community and civic leaders at Urban League of Greater Knoxville, and the leadership of the Change Center, all working to tackle many of the same challenges E Pluribus Unum seeks to address. We also conducted focus groups with college-educated black and white residents and non-college-educated white residents. Knoxville residents reported a steady pace of development and growth in economic opportunity. Residents in Knoxville expressed that they lead socially and geographically segregated lives, leading to the prominence of media-driven narratives about certain places in the city and different social groups. In Knoxville, we conducted focus groups with college-educated black and white residents and non-college-educated white residents. Learn more by reading the full report.