Middle Tennessee is a distinct portion of the state of Tennessee, delineated according to state law as the 41 counties in the Middle Grand Division of Tennessee.
According to custom, Middle Tennessee consists of that portion of the state east of the Tennessee River's western crossing of the state (in which it flows northward back into Tennessee after having flowed through northern Alabama) and west of the dividing line between the Eastern and Central time zones.
Middle Tennessee is known for its rolling hills and fertile stream valleys, as well as for its major city, Nashville, which is the state capital. Other major sizeable cities in Middle Tennessee include Clarksville and Murfreesboro. Geographically it is composed predominantly of the Nashville Basin and the Highland Rim, although the western portion of the Cumberland Plateau also extends into Middle Tennessee.
Middle Tennessee also has an abundance of institutions of higher learning--most notably Vanderbilt, Belmont, Lipscomb and Tennessee State universities in Nashville and Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. Other prominent universities are Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, the University of the South in Sewanee, Cumberland University in Lebanon, and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, which is the state's second largest institution of higher learning, just behind the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Unlike the geographic designations of regions of most U.S. states, the term Middle Tennessee has legal as well as socioeconomic meaning. Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee and East Tennessee comprise the state's three Grand Divisions. According to the Tennessee State Constitution, no more than two of the state supreme court's five justices can come from any one Grand Division. A similar rule applies to certain other commissions and boards as well, to prevent them from showing a geographic bias.
Middle Tennessee is the largest in area and least densely populated of the three Grand Divisions. At the 2000 census it had 2,069,976 inhabitants living in its 40 counties, which have a combined land area of 17,009.41 sq mi. Its population was 36.38 percent of the state's total, and its land area is 41.27 percent of the state's land area. Its population density was 121.696/sq mi. at the census.
Nashville is approximately 500 miles south of Chicago and about an 880 mile drive from New York City. It is also only 700 miles from Orlando, Florida; most of that on wide open interstates with 70 MPH speed limits.
Two-Thirds of the US Population is within a day’s drive.
The Counties of Middle Tennessee