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.

GDP Growth

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Incarceration Rate

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

New Businesses

Women Judges

Low-Income Uninsured Rate


Home Ownership

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Road Quality

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Opioid Prescriptions

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Voter Registrations Rejected

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Property Crime

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Felon Disenfranchisement

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Nursing Home Quality

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Children in Poverty

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Adults Who Smoke

Black Voter Registration

Provisional Ballots Cast


Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Adults with Heart Disease

Solar Energy Systems

Deficient Bridges

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Public School Teacher Salary

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate


Adults on Probation & Parole

Seniors in Good Health

Cost of Living

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color


Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Rural Broadband Access

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Drinking Water Quality

Drug Deaths

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Student Loan Holders in Default

Power Grid Reliability

Public Library Funding

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Voter Turnout – Women

Rental Protections

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost


Uninsured Children

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Childhood Obesity

Violent Crime

Affordable Rental Shortage

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

High School Graduation

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Population Growth

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Black Incarceration Rate

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Able-Bodied Seniors

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Student-Teacher Ratio

Food Insecurity

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Young Children Not in School

Air Pollution

Financial Well-Being

Leed Certified Buildings

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Uninsured Rate

Black Uninsured Rate

Low-Wage Jobs

Infant Mortality

Bankruptcy Rate

Food-Insecure Seniors

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Black Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Broadband Subscriptions

Typical Wages for Working Women

Income Inequality

Women Holding Elected Office

Voter Registration – Women

Electricity Prices

Working Age Employment Rate

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Median Household Income

Adult Obesity

Average Commute

Wage Gap

Unbanked Households


Student Loan Debt

Seniors Living in Poverty

Medical Debt in Collections

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Cost-Burdened Homeowners


Juvenile Detention Rate

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color


Women Living in Poverty

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Mental Health Providers

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Green Jobs

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Low Birthweight

Adults with Diabetes

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Youth Unemployment

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

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.