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.

Leed Certified Buildings

Median Household Income

Rental Protections

Black Voter Registration

Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Student Loan Holders in Default in Communities of Color

Homelessness

Voter Registration (Presidential Election)

Student Loan Holders in Default

Adults on Probation & Parole

Labor Force Participation Gender Gap

Black Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Food Insecurity

Uninsured Children

Population Growth

Cost-Burdened Homeowners

Gigabyte Internet Availability

Opioid Prescriptions

Medical Debt in Collections for Communities of Color

Infant Mortality

New Businesses

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Women Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Juvenile Detention Rate

Cost-Burdened Extremely Low-Income Renters

Hispanic/Latino Voter Turnout

Medical Debt in Collections

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate in Communities of Color

Broadband Subscriptions

Typical Wages for Black Workers

Voter Turnout (Presidential Election)

Childhood Obesity

Foreclosures

Children’s Medicaid/Chip Participation Rate

Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Recidivism

Air Pollution

Hispanic/Latino Post-High School Educational Attainment

Hispanic/Latino Incarceration Rate

Women’s Incarceration Rate

Rural Broadband Access

Broadband Access (25 MBPS)

Student Loan Debt

Black Incarceration Rate

Nursing Home Quality

Hispanic/Latino Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Children in Food-Insecure Households

Black Post-High School Educational Attainment

Children Receiving Public Assistance

Incarceration Rate

Uninsured Rate

Post-High School Educational Attainment

Women Living in Poverty

Voter Registrations Rejected

Adults with Diabetes

High School Graduation

Adults with Heart Disease

Violent Crime

Energy Expenditures Per Capita

Road Quality

Women Judges

Electricity Prices

Mental Health Providers

Public Library Funding

Representation of People of Color in Elected Office

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate

Hispanic/Latino Uninsured Rate

Unbanked Households

Typical Wages for Workers with Highschool Education

Drug Deaths

Adults Who Smoke

Public School Teacher Salary

Student-Teacher Ratio

Home Ownership

Seniors Living in Poverty

Households without Computers or Smartphones

Provisional Ballots Cast

Patents

Children in Poverty

Green Jobs

Highway Traffic Fatalities

Low-Income Working Families with Kids

Voter Registration – Women

Youth (18-24) Voter Registration

Low-Income Uninsured Rate

Extremely Low-Income Renters

Children in Households with High Housing Cost Burden

Women’s Uninsured Rate

GDP Growth

Seniors (65+) Voter Registration

Seniors in Good Health

Black Voter Turnout

Drinking Water Quality

Typical Wages for Hispanic Workers

Property Crime

Cost of Living

Felon Disenfranchisement

Black Fourth-Grade Reading Proficiency

Unemployment

Hispanic/Latino Voter Registration

Deficient Bridges

Income Inequality

Typical Wages for Working Women

Women Holding Elected Office

Average Commute

Voter Registration (Midterm Election)

Low Birthweight

Financial Well-Being

Solar Energy Systems

Hispanic/Latino Adults Avoiding Care Due to Cost

Poverty

Black Uninsured Rate

Volunteerism

Food-Insecure Seniors

Wage Gap

Underemployment

Voter Turnout – Women

Low-Wage Jobs

Power Grid Reliability

Working Age Employment Rate

Adults Without a High School Diploma

Affordable Rental Shortage

Cost of Childcare (Infants)

Able-Bodied Seniors

Young Children Not in School

Typical Wages for Workers with Bachelors Education or Higher

Seniors (65+) Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout (Midterm Election)

Bankruptcy Rate

Commuters Taking Transit to Work

Adult Obesity

Youth (18-24) Voter Turnout

Youth Unemployment

Seniors Avoiding Care Due to Cost

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.