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.

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers


Voter Registration – Women

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Working Age Employment Rate

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Wage Gap

Power Grid Reliability

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Uninsured Rate

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Food-Insecure Seniors

Provisional Ballots Cast

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Public School Teacher Salary

Leed Certified Buildings

Felon Disenfranchisement

Young Children Not in School

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Rural Broadband Access

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Home Ownership

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Adult Obesity

Medical Debt in Collections

Adults on Probation & Parole

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Extremely Low-Income Renters


New Businesses

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Juvenile Detention Rate

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Low-Income Working Families with Kids


Women’s Incarceration Rate

Rental Protections

Mental Health Providers

Income Inequality

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Road Quality

Typical Wages for Working Women

Opioid Prescriptions

Violent Crime

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Voter Turnout – Women

Black Voter Registration

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Children in Poverty

Seniors in Good Health

Adults Who Smoke

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Student Loan Holders in Default

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Women Holding Elected Office

Drinking Water Quality

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Able-Bodied Seniors

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Broadband Subscriptions

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Childhood Obesity

Youth Unemployment

Low Birthweight

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Solar Energy Systems

High School Graduation

Infant Mortality

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Property Crime

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Black Uninsured Rate

Air Pollution

Cost-Burdened Homeowners

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Population Growth

Electricity Prices

Children in Food-Insecure Households


Post-High School Educational Attainment

Green Jobs

Low-Wage Jobs


Adults with Heart Disease

Voter Registrations Rejected

Bankruptcy Rate

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Seniors Living in Poverty


GDP Growth

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Women Living in Poverty


Drug Deaths

Adults with Diabetes

Nursing Home Quality

Unbanked Households

Public Library Funding

Uninsured Children

Student-Teacher Ratio

Affordable Rental Shortage

Black Incarceration Rate

Student Loan Debt

Carbon Dioxide Emissions


Median Household Income

Average Commute

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Deficient Bridges

Women Judges

Cost of Living

Financial Well-Being

Incarceration Rate

Food Insecurity

Black Voter Turnout

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.