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Selmer, Tennessee
Selmer City Hall in November 2013.
Selmer City Hall in November 2013.
Location in McNairy County and the state of Tennessee.
Location in McNairy County and the state of Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County McNairy
Incorporated 1901
Named for Selma, Alabama
 • Total 9.8 sq mi (25.4 km2)
 • Land 9.8 sq mi (25.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
449 ft (137 m)
 • Total 4,396
 • Density 464.5/sq mi (179.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-66940
GNIS feature ID 1301051

Selmer is a town in McNairy County, Tennessee, in the southwestern part of the state. The population was 4,541 at the 2000 census and estimated at 4,488 at the 2015 census. It is the county seat of McNairy County. It is named after Selma, Alabama.

Buford Pusser served as the sheriff of McNairy County from 1964 to 1970.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 588
1910 529 −10.0%
1920 546 3.2%
1930 925 69.4%
1940 957 3.5%
1950 1,759 83.8%
1960 1,897 7.8%
1970 3,495 84.2%
1980 3,979 13.8%
1990 3,838 −3.5%
2000 4,541 18.3%
2010 4,396 −3.2%
Est. 2015 4,488 2.1%

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,541 people, 1,935 households, and 1,234 families residing in the town. The population density was 464.5 people per square mile (179.3/km²). There were 2,173 housing units at an average density of 222.3 per square mile (85.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.61% White, 15.92% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

There were 1,935 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the town, the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,494, and the median income for a family was $38,313. Males had a median income of $31,176 versus $21,989 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,350. About 10.9% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 19.9% of those age 65 or over.


County seat

McNairy Courthouse
McNairy County Courthouse in Selmer, Tennessee.

In 1890, the county seat of McNairy County was moved from Purdy to Selmer.

Buford Pusser

Sheriff Buford Pusser served as the sheriff of McNairy County from 1964 to 1970, and since Selmer is the county seat, the location of the courthouse and the jail, this was his base of operations. His story has been made famous in the Walking Tall movies starring Joe Don Baker and Bo Svenson. The movies were filmed in nearby Henderson.


The oldest existing business in McNairy County is its newspaper, the Independent Appeal, which was founded in 1902. It is located at 111 N. 2nd St. in Selmer. The fourth largest circulation of a weekly newspaper in the state, with an average weekly circulation of 7,200-7,400 and a readership of more than 17,000.

The McNairy County News began publication in 2009. The MCN is located at 252 Mulberry Avenue in Selmer. The paper has an online presence at and a Facebook page, as well as a weekly printed publication each Thursday.


Selmer is located at 35°10′20″N 88°35′35″W / 35.17222°N 88.59306°W / 35.17222; -88.59306 (35.172333, -88.592964).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.8 square miles (25 km2), all land.

Robert Sibley Airport

The Robert Sibley Airport (IATA airport code SZY (ICAO: KSZY)) is located in the area, with no ATC, a 5,002-foot (1,525 m) runway, and at 610 feet (190 m) above sea level. The UN/LOCODE for the town is USSQE. The current manager of Robert Sibley Airport is Chris Tull.

Major highways

The major highways U.S. Route 64 (east-west), and U.S. Route 45 (north-south) intersect in this town, making it an important crossroads.

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