State of Our State

How Does Tennessee Stack Up?

Now in its fifth year, ThinkTennessee’s State of Our State dashboard provides an at-a-glance look at how our state ranks nationally across more than 100 of the indicators that matter most.

Watch our new video for a preview of the recent findings.

WATCH: ThinkTN 2021 Dashboard Video

While Covid-19 certainly disrupted the well-being of Tennessee’s communities, many of the challenges we see today existed long before March 2020. The 2021 dashboard rankings paint a picture of how our state was doing on the eve of the pandemic and point to the long-term solutions still needed to move Tennessee, and the people who call it home, forward.

Covid-19 put many Tennesseans’ health in peril. But the damage it caused, and the changes it forced, went far beyond the physical. From unleashing an economic recession that compounded the financial burdens many Tennessee families already faced, to requiring children to engage in distance learning and leaving parents to figure out the logistics, to changing the means through which many Tennesseans cast their ballots, the pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives.

Now, as businesses reopen and life begins to return to normal, policymakers’ attention must turn from mitigating the disaster to undoing the harm it has caused so many. To do that, our policy interventions must shift from the short- to the long-term, building our communities, our economies and our election system back stronger than they were before.

Interested in ideas about how to move our state forward? Our research shares success stories from other states and includes pragmatic recommendations 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.

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)


Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Affordable Rental Shortage

Wage Gap

High School Graduation

Public School Teacher Salary

Electricity Prices

Felon Disenfranchisement

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Able-Bodied Seniors

Adult Obesity

Adults on Probation & Parole

Adults Who Smoke

Adults with Diabetes

Adults with Heart Disease

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Air Pollution

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Average Commute

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Broadband Subscriptions

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Childhood Obesity

Children in Poverty

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Cost of Living

Deficient Bridges

Drug Deaths

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Food-Insecure Seniors


GDP Growth

Highway Traffic Fatalities


Home Ownership

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Infant Mortality

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Leed Certified Buildings

Low Birthweight

Low-Wage Jobs

Median Household Income

Mental Health Providers

Nursing Home Quality

Opioid Prescriptions


Provisional Ballots Cast

Public Library Funding

School Districts with Internet Connectivity

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Seniors in Good Health

Seniors Living in Poverty

Solar Energy Systems

Student Loan Debt

Student Loan Holders in Default

Student-Teacher Ratio

Unbanked Households



Uninsured Children

Violent Crime


Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Voter Registrations Rejected

Voter Registration – Women

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Voter Turnout – Women

Women Judges

Women Holding Elected Office

Women Living in Poverty

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

Bankruptcy Rate

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Black Incarceration Rate

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Black Uninsured Rate

Black Voter Registration

Black Voter Turnout

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Financial Well-Being

Food-Insecure Seniors

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Income Inequality

Juvenile Detention Rate

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Medical Debt in Collections

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

New Businesses

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Incarceration Rate

Property Crime

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Rural Broadband Access

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Uninsured Rate

Women’s Uninsured Rate

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Working Age Employment Rate

Young Children Not in School

Youth Unemployment

Notes on Methodology:

Metrics were compiled using publicly available data and are current as of Jan. 31, 2021. 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.