State of Our State

How Does Tennessee Stack Up?

ThinkTennessee’s State of Our State dashboard, now in its 6th year, provides a snapshot of how our state ranks nationally across 135 of the indicators that matter most to Tennesseans.

The Tennessee economy is rapidly expanding. But to date, our economic success has not yet translated into greater economic opportunity and security for all Tennesseans.

Indeed, while our latest dashboard finds improvements in our national rank on statewide economic indicators from GDP growth (in just three years we’ve risen from #24 in the country to #1–a rate of 8.6% in 2021!) to poverty to unemployment, metrics at the individual level, including median household income, debt levels, and cost-burdened households among others have declined or worsened.

Importantly, state-level economic successes did not happen by accident. Rather, the improvement in these metrics is a direct result of concerted statewide policy efforts and prioritization – illuminating a path forward to achieve similar progress on many of the affordability, infrastructure, and health challenges continuing to plague our state’s working families.

As Tennessee moves deeper into this period of economic expansion, the 2023 dashboard points to several areas where the scope of policymaking should prioritize expanding access to opportunities for all Tennesseans.

Interested in ideas about how to move our state forward? Our research shares success stories from other states and includes pragmatic solutions about how Tennessee can continue to make progress.

Note: For the sake of consistency, rankings have been standardized so low numbers always reflect positive outcomes. In other words, being ranked first is always better than being ranked 50th. Additional detail on research methodology can be found below the rankings.

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Student Loan Debt

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Bankruptcy Rate

Young Children Not in School

Nursing Home Quality

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

High School Graduation

Deficient Bridges

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Financial Well-Being

Black Voter Registration

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Leed Certified Buildings

Underemployment

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers

Income Inequality

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Adults Who Smoke

Mental Health Providers

Women Holding Elected Office

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Felon Disenfranchisement

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Black Voter Turnout

Voter Registration – Women

Median Household Income

Poverty

Adults on Probation & Parole

Voter Turnout – Women

Unbanked Households

Student Loan Holders in Default

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Provisional Ballots Cast

Uninsured Children

Green Jobs

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Youth Unemployment

Recidivism

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Food Insecurity

Violent Crime

Adults with Heart Disease

Property Crime

Low-Wage Jobs

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Electricity Prices

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Adult Obesity

Rental Protections

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Black Incarceration Rate

Black Uninsured Rate

Women Living in Poverty

Student-Teacher Ratio

Seniors in Good Health

Average Commute

Power Grid Reliability

Rural Broadband Access

Wage Gap

Juvenile Detention Rate

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Childhood Obesity

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Children in Poverty

Cost-Burdened Homeowners

Low Birthweight

Typical Wages for Working Women

Homelessness

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Able-Bodied Seniors

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Solar Energy Systems

Uninsured Rate

Working Age Employment Rate

Broadband Subscriptions

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Population Growth

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Road Quality

Voter Registrations Rejected

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Opioid Prescriptions

Air Pollution

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Drinking Water Quality

Public Library Funding

Incarceration Rate

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Unemployment

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Affordable Rental Shortage

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Women Judges

Volunteerism

Food-Insecure Seniors

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Cost of Living

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Foreclosures

Medical Debt in Collections

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

Drug Deaths

Patents

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Public School Teacher Salary

Home Ownership

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Adults with Diabetes

Infant Mortality

Seniors Living in Poverty

New Businesses

GDP Growth

Notes on Methodology:

Metrics were compiled using publicly available data and are current as of Jan. 10th, 2023. Where possible, we favored U.S. government data over other sources for consistency and reliability.

Some debt- and voting-related indicators will be updated throughout the year as newer information becomes available.