ThinkTennessee unveils updated State of Our State project ahead of 2018 elections

Staff Reports • Updated Apr 28, 2018 at 1:00 PM

NASHVILLE – ThinkTennessee released its annual State of Our State dashboard recently, providing an at-a-glance look at how Tennessee ranks nationally across 100 different indicators.

“For Tennesseans, 2018 will bring new leadership at all levels of government, from city hall to the U.S. Capitol,” said Shanna Singh Hughey, president of ThinkTennessee. “More than ever, it’s important that voters and candidates alike have a clear sense of the opportunities – and challenges – facing our state.”

Key findings in the State of Our State report included:

• Tennessee is making strides: Between 2017 and 2018, more dashboard rankings improved than worsened.

• But there’s still more work to do: Tennessee’s average ranking in each of the dashboard’s 11 categories was in the bottom half of the nation.

There are some bright spots:

• Economy: Across measures like the wage gap at No. 13 and unemployment at No. 12, Tennessee is outperforming most states.

• Education: Tennessee’s high school graduation rate at No. 8 is one of the highest in the nation.

And some areas for real improvement:

• Civic participation and representation: Tennessee continues to lag most states in terms of civic participation measures like voter registration at No. 44 and turnout at No. 47.

• Healthy communities: From obesity rates at No. 45 to opioid prescriptions at No. 49, Tennessee’s communities are struggling to stay healthy.

• Connectivity: Relatively few households have access to computers at No. 41 or broadband subscriptions at No. 44.

For the sake of consistency, rankings were standardized so that low numbers always reflect positive outcomes; put another way, a No. 1 ranking is always preferential to 50th. For each metric, ThinkTennessee used the most recent publicly available data available as of March 1. Where possible, government data were favored over other sources for uniformity and reliability.

ThinkTennessee promotes public policy that creates opportunity for Tennesseans. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy organization, it empowers leaders from across the state and both sides of the aisle to take action on pragmatic ideas that move the state forward.

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