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Clarksville, TN
MSA: Clarksville, TN-KY
Best places ranking: #4 among midsize metro areas
Population: 261,220
A few decades ago, Clarksville could have still been classified as a small town: it's grown out of the agricultural and tobacco trade, and the presence of nearby Fort Campbell meant that when soldiers were deployed to conflicts, they and their families emptied out of the city.

But over the years, the city has nurtured its own hub of commerce, helped along by the presence of Austin Peay State University and spillover growth from Nashville, located 50 miles away. Military personnel now look to settle in Clarksville and develop their own businesses when they retire.

In December, Hemlock Semiconductor announced an initial investment of $1.2 billion to build in Clarksville a new manufacturing facility for the production of a key raw material for solar cells and semiconductor devices. The site is expected to employ up to 800 people, as well as 1,000 construction workers over the next several years, and local business leaders say it will provide an opportunity for the small business community to service the growing green energy sector. The city's so buzzy right now, in fact, that what publishers say is Clarksville's first business magazine began printing in September. -Tina Peng

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Clarksville, TN


Local smallbiz lenders

  • Superior Financial Group
  • First Advantage Bancorp
  • Suntrust Banks
  • U.S. Bank
  • Trustmark Corporation
See all local lenders

Clarksville Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
4,136 11,214
Small business growth rate
6.4% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
17 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
21.4% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
570.2 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,430.1 3,562.2
Population growth
8.2% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$31,967 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
31.4% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$8,752 $18,559
GDP growth
57% 32%
Average hourly wage
$15.91 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
218 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$683 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.3% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.5% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-12% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"We want to be both the heart and soul. The business of Clarksville is the heart, the heritage is the soul." -David Shelton
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Clarksville?
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Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's