Atlanta highway signs

Is Atlanta Bigger Than Nashville? Size Comparison

In this size comparison guide, you will find out if Atlanta is bigger than Nashville by looking at the following 9 topics.

  1. Land area
  2. Population
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Sports
  5. Economy
  6. Outdoor attractions
  7. Airports
  8. Cost of living
  9. Education
city of Atlanta at night

Is Atlanta bigger than Nashville? Size comparison

Atlanta and Nashville are large, urban areas that offer many sights, attractions, and adventures. Each city provides something different for people who visit or live in the area.

Many people think of Atlanta as a much larger city than Nashville, but while this is sometimes true, it’s not always the case.

1. Land area – Nashville is larger

Atlanta is located in Georgia and is the capital of the state. It has a total land area of 136.31 square miles, but the metropolitan area spreads over nearly 8,380 square miles. Only about 1 square mile of Atlanta’s 136.31 square miles is water, while the rest is entirely land.

Nashville is also a state capital, but it’s the capital of the nearby state of Tennessee. Nashville is quite a bit larger than Atlanta when you compare only the size of each city. Nashville is 525.94 square miles. About 504 square miles are land, and just over 21 square miles are water.

However, Nashville has a smaller metropolitan area. Nashville’s metropolitan area is only about 7,484 square miles, making it just less than 900 square miles smaller than Atlanta’s metropolitan area.

map of Nashville and Atlanta

2. Population – Nashville is larger

The city of Nashville also has a much larger population than Atlanta. Nashville has a population of about 715,880 people. Atlanta, on the other hand, has a population of about 498,715 people.

When you compare the land area sizes of Atlanta and Nashville and their populations, you’ll find that Atlanta has a much higher population density. Population density refers to how many people you can find living per square mile in the city.

For example, Nashville’s population density is about 1,420 people per square mile. Atlanta has a population density of about 3,685 people per square mile.

Atlanta also has a bigger metropolitan area population. Atlanta’s metropolitan area has a population of about 6,144,050 people, while Nashville’s metropolitan area is only home to approximately 1,989,520 people.

nashville vs atlanta population chart

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3. Infrastructure – Atlanta is larger

Atlanta is known for its large highways and impressive infrastructure system. The city has a light rail loop, a heavy rail rapid transit system, a bus system, and several freight lines. The city also offers more than 45 miles of bike paths.

However, because of its extensive interstate highway system, the main form of transportation in and around Atlanta is driving.

Like Atlanta, the most common form of transportation in Nashville is driving. Although its highway system is smaller than Atlanta’s, Nashville is located at the junction of three major highways. The city also has a public bus system.

heavy traffic on Atlanta highway

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4. Sports – Nashville has more pro sports teams

Nashville has five major league teams across five sports. Three of these teams compete at the highest professional levels, while two are minor league teams.

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The major league teams are the Nashville Predators, a hockey team; the Nashville SC, a Major League Soccer team; and the Tennessee Titans, a team competing in the National Football League.

In addition, the Nashville Sounds are the city’s minor league baseball team, and the Music City Fire is Nashville’s minor league arena football team.

Sports are even more important in Atlanta. The city has four major league teams, which include the Atlanta Braves, a baseball team; the Atlanta Falcons, an NFL team; the Atlanta Hawks, a professional basketball team; and the Atlanta United FC, a professional soccer team.

Atlanta also hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Aerial drone image of Downtown Nashville Tennessee - Titans Stadium
Aerial drone image of Downtown Nashville Tennessee – Titans Stadium

5. Economy – Atlanta is larger

Nashville has the third-fastest growing metropolitan economy in the U.S. Major companies within Nashville include Ernst & Young, Dollar General, Nissan North America, Tractor Supply Company, and Philips. Nashville is also home to three major music labels and over 300 healthcare companies.

In 2021, the total Gross Domestic product (GDP) in Nashville was 163.03 Billion dollars.

Atlanta’s economy is the 11th largest in the U.S. and the 22nd largest in the world. It serves as the headquarters for companies such as Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Dunkin Donuts, Porsche AG, and UPS.

In 2021, the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Atlanta was 399.13 Billion dollars.

Atlanta vs Nashville GDP graph

6. Outdoor Attractions

Both Nashville and Atlanta are historic cities with plenty of outdoor attractions. In Nashville, visitors can stop at several key Civil War battle sites or view preserved antebellum plantation homes.

Visitors to Atlanta can also view battle sites, take a walk through the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, view one of the city’s urban forests, or stop at Zoo Atlanta, which houses giant pandas.

Neither Atlanta or Nashville have more outdoor attractions than the other. I call it a tie.

giant panda eating bamboo

7. Airports – Atlanta is larger

Nashville is home to the Nashville International Airport, which is the 31st busiest airport in the country. The airport offers about 600 flights each day.

Atlanta, however, is home to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is the world’s busiest airport.

Each day, the airport serves about 2,500 incoming and outbound flights to more than 150 countries.

Atlanta USA Airport Highway Sign at Night

8. Cost of Living – Atlanta is larger

Another way in which Atlanta is bigger than Nashville is its cost of living. People living in Atlanta can expect to spend about 2% more than the national average on essentials and housing.

People living in Nashville will spend about 2% less than the national average. However, exactly how much you’ll spend on living costs and rent or a mortgage does depend on where in the city you live.

The cost of a home is higher in Nashville. The city’s average home price is about $431,000, while the average cost of a home in Atlanta is about $391,000.

close up of home or house model and money

9. Education – Nashville is larger

Nashville is sometimes referred to as the Athens of the South because of its extensive, quality university and college options. The city is home to 24 colleges and universities, including Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, and Tennessee State University.

Atlanta has only 15 colleges and universities, but it has more historically Black colleges than Nashville, and some of its college and university options are more acclaimed or well-known than Nashville’s.

For example, Atlanta is home to the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Vanderbuilt university

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