What is the average salary in Tennessee?

2 mins readLast updated December 18, 2023by Kate Morgan

This article will take you through the main things you need to know about the average salaries and highest paying counties in Tennessee.


  • The sheer size of Tennessee makes it difficult to define a 'good' salary.

  • The Volunteer State is home to cities that vary greatly in cost of living and earnings potential.

  • According to Forbes, Tennessee is ranked as the 9th most affordable state to live in the United States.

  • The cost of living in Tennessee is below the national average, making it an attractive place to live for those who want to stretch their dollar further. The earning potential in Tennessee varies by city and industry.

  • A financial advisor can help you stay on top of your finances, grow your wealth, and make confident financial decisions.

What is a good salary in Tennessee? 

The median income in Tennessee is $52,375. Defining ‘good’ relies on all sorts of variable factors, and these should be taken into account. For example, $80,000 is a far higher salary than the state average — but is slightly lower than the mean average of Nashville residents at $86,217. 

What is the average salary in Tennessee by age? 

Alongside location and occupation, salaries in Tennessee are also dependent on age since more senior workers will be paid more. Then, when they retire, their income will dip again as they will rely on pensions and other forms of set income. You can also check out the complete guide to retirement in Tennessee here.

The Census Bureau data finds that householders under 25 have a median household income of $34,888; householders aged 24 to 44 years old have a median income of $51,605; those aged 45 to 64 years old have a median income of $60,2618; and those 65 and older have a median income of $47,501.  

What is the average salary in Tennessee by hour? 

If Americans work an average of 1,801 hours per year—at 37.5 hours a week—then the average hourly salary in Tennessee is $28.96.  

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What is the average salary by city in Tennessee?

City living is often more expensive than living in more rural areas, but it’s also where the money is. Tennessee’s own cities can vary massively in average salary; Franklin commands well into six figures, while Memphis’ average sits around $40,000.  

Average earnings by city—or any other geographical metric—is just one way of calculating wealth, and certainly shouldn’t be the only way you look at your own earning potential in a given place. It doesn’t take into account the type of jobs that people do to earn above or below this average bracket, and omits any consideration for the number of people living in a household. However, it’s certainly one way of establishing which place offers good earning opportunities.  

The US Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey has calculated the average earnings for the largest cities in Tennessee, which you can find ranked below.  

CityAverage earnings
Franklin $120,790
Murfreesboro $69,594
Nashville $63,939
Clarksville $57,418
Knoxville $51,683
Chattanooga $48,506
Johnson City $42,375
Memphis $41,146

What is the average salary by county in Tennessee?

Reviewing average salaries in Tennessee by city is not necessarily an adequate metric for average salaries across the state, since it’s entirely urban focused. A good idea is to weigh these figures up against the average salary in Tennessee by county, as this will take areas outside the main cities into account and offer a broader idea of salary ranges.  

The same survey from the US Census Bureau gives further insight this way, with the average household income calculated for key counties.  

County Average household income
Williamson County $128,456
Wilson County $85,248
Davidson County $76,369
Sumner County $74,947
Rutherford County $73,535
Knox County $67,749
Montgomery County $62,003
Hamilton County $60,752
Blount County $60,568
Bradley County $57,126

What are the highest paying jobs in Tennessee?

There’s another weighty factor that will influence how much you earn if you live in Tennessee: your job type. Average salaries for various sectors and job roles can vary massively across the state, so it’s absolutely something to consider when looking at salaries by location.  

Zippia has calculated a comprehensive list of annual salaries by job title. You can also find the top 10 highest-paying titles in Tennessee below.  

Occupation Average salary
Finance Services Director $233,524
Medical Consultant $182,669
Primary Care Physician $171,738
President & Chief Operating Officer $169,937
Vice President, Field Operations $168,301
Executive Vice President Marketing $161,608
President & Chief Technology Officer $157,891
New Product Development Manager $157,426
Executive Vice President Of Sales $155,850
Vice President Product Development $154,491

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Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.