Memphis is a center of manufacture of textiles, heating equipment, pianos, and automobile and truck parts. It is the headquarters of Federal Express shipping.
Memphis was settled by the Chickasaw tribe. The Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, is believed to have visited the area. The French built Fort Prudhomme in the vicinity. The city was founded in 1819.
The city is home to the University of Memphis (formerly known as Memphis State University), the University of Tennessee Medical Units, Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, Le Moyne-Owen College, the Memphis Academy of Arts, and Southern College of Optometry.
Memphis is also home to several sports teams, including the Memphis Redbirds, a minor league baseball team in the St. Louis Cardinals system. Other teams include the Memphis Grizzlies National Basketball Association team and a flourishing rugby team, the Memphis Blues. The NFL's Tennessee Oilers played in Memphis in 1997.
Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, is located in the city, and is a major tourist spot. Beale Street is a legendary street in the history of blues music. The National Civil Rights Museum is in the former Lorraine Motel, where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.
The Memphis International Airport is currently among the busiest in the world in terms of cargo tonnage.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 763.4 km² (294.8 mi²). 723.4 km² (279.3 mi²) of it is land and 40.0 km² (15.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.24% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 650,100 people, 250,721 households, and 158,455 families residing in the city.
The population density is 898.6/km² (2,327.4/mi²).
There are 271,552 housing units at an average density of 375.4/km² (972.2/mi²).
The racial makeup of the city is 34.41% White, 61.41% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.46% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races.
2.97% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 250,721 households out of which 31.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% are married couples living together, 23.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% are non-families. 30.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.52 and the average family size is 3.18.
In the city the population is spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $32,285, and the median income for a family is $37,767. Males have a median income of $31,236 versus $25,183 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,838. 20.6% of the population and 17.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.1% are under the age of 18 and 15.4% are 65 or older.