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.

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Student Loan Debt

Property Crime

Able-Bodied Seniors

Food-Insecure Seniors

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Average Commute

Adults on Probation & Parole

Solar Energy Systems

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Young Children Not in School

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Cost-Burdened Homeowners

Adults with Diabetes

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Rental Protections

Public Library Funding

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mental Health Providers

Opioid Prescriptions

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Bankruptcy Rate

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Air Pollution

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Typical Wages for Working Women

New Businesses

Drinking Water Quality

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Violent Crime

Black Uninsured Rate

Poverty

Electricity Prices

Uninsured Children

Power Grid Reliability

Black Incarceration Rate

Voter Registrations Rejected

Adults with Heart Disease

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Student-Teacher Ratio

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Foreclosures

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Unemployment

Home Ownership

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Voter Turnout – Women

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Population Growth

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Volunteerism

Wage Gap

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Black Voter Turnout

Recidivism

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Black Voter Registration

Childhood Obesity

Deficient Bridges

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Women Holding Elected Office

Adults Who Smoke

Juvenile Detention Rate

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Green Jobs

Youth Unemployment

Women Judges

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Voter Registration – Women

Income Inequality

Nursing Home Quality

GDP Growth

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Low Birthweight

Patents

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Incarceration Rate

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

High School Graduation

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Adult Obesity

Seniors in Good Health

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Infant Mortality

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Uninsured Rate

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Working Age Employment Rate

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Food Insecurity

Children in Poverty

Drug Deaths

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Women Living in Poverty

Median Household Income

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Provisional Ballots Cast

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Broadband Subscriptions

Seniors Living in Poverty

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Affordable Rental Shortage

Public School Teacher Salary

Medical Debt in Collections

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Cost of Living

Underemployment

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Felon Disenfranchisement

Student Loan Holders in Default

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Low-Wage Jobs

Homelessness

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers

Rural Broadband Access

Unbanked Households

Road Quality

Financial Well-Being

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Leed Certified Buildings

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.