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.

Cost-Burdened Homeowners

Childhood Obesity

Uninsured Rate

Adults Who Smoke

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Black Incarceration Rate

Unbanked Households

Uninsured Children

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Recidivism

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Air Pollution

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Volunteerism

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Property Crime

Seniors in Good Health

Women Judges

Typical Wages for Working Women

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

GDP Growth

Median Household Income

Population Growth

Average Commute

Student Loan Debt

Adult Obesity

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Electricity Prices

Felon Disenfranchisement

Solar Energy Systems

Violent Crime

Juvenile Detention Rate

Deficient Bridges

Broadband Subscriptions

Bankruptcy Rate

Nursing Home Quality

Seniors Living in Poverty

Unemployment

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Voter Turnout – Women

Adults with Diabetes

Rental Protections

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Public Library Funding

Mental Health Providers

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Rural Broadband Access

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Patents

Infant Mortality

Student Loan Holders in Default

Poverty

Affordable Rental Shortage

Black Voter Turnout

Young Children Not in School

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Homelessness

Home Ownership

Student-Teacher Ratio

Foreclosures

Opioid Prescriptions

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Cost of Living

Black Voter Registration

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Road Quality

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Working Age Employment Rate

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers

Low-Wage Jobs

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Incarceration Rate

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Women Living in Poverty

Medical Debt in Collections

Women Holding Elected Office

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Green Jobs

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Youth Unemployment

Adults Without a High School Diploma

New Businesses

Financial Well-Being

Black Uninsured Rate

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Children in Poverty

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Food-Insecure Seniors

Provisional Ballots Cast

Able-Bodied Seniors

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Adults with Heart Disease

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Power Grid Reliability

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Voter Registration – Women

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Wage Gap

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Low Birthweight

Voter Registrations Rejected

Food Insecurity

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

High School Graduation

Underemployment

Leed Certified Buildings

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Income Inequality

Adults on Probation & Parole

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Drinking Water Quality

Drug Deaths

Public School Teacher Salary

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.