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The US Census says 654,610 people live in Nashville. That’s 51,000 more than just five years ago. Put another way, 2/3 of Tennessee counties don’t have as many people as Nashville added since 2010.

A quiet, prosperous merchant town where folks once thought the Grand Ole Opry a little too… country…has become a city of the world.

1 in 8 born in another country…2 in 5 nonwhite…America’s most popular bachelorette party destination and second-most popular city for millennials.

It didn’t happen overnight. Nashville long ago got used to mayors born elsewhere. A native hasn’t been elected mayor in 30 years.

But Megan Barry is something else altogether. Educated a teacher, she came here for graduate school in the midst of the 1990s recession …married a Vanderbilt professor, raised a son…worked in corporate ethics…raised money for dozens of nonprofits at her Belmont Hillsboro home filled with modern art… got elected to Nashville’s Metro Council…and, in 2015, beat a 7-candidate field to become Nashville’s mayor.

We met in the office of the mayor, where, for the first 79 years of Nashville’s historic courthouse, only men sat behind the desk.