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Analysis Reveals Insights into Tennessee's Population Makeup

A higher percentage of people living with a disability live in Tennessee's rural areas, indicating the need for more transit options, according to an analysis by ThinkTennessee. (Steve Johnson, flickr)
A higher percentage of people living with a disability live in Tennessee's rural areas, indicating the need for more transit options, according to an analysis by ThinkTennessee. (Steve Johnson, flickr)
August 7, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee skews older than the nation overall, and overall, the state's disability rates are higher in rural communities, according to Census data analyzed by the nonpartisan think tank ThinkTennessee.

Shanna Hughey, the group’s president, says she hopes ThinkTennessee’s study of the population data gives state lawmakers access to information that helps them help their constituents.

"So knowing who Tennesseans are, and who will be in decades to come, is a really important part of that,” she states. “We're hoping this information honestly inspires legislators from urban and rural areas to work together on issues that will affect them both."

According to the report, 1 in 7 Tennesseans is older than 65, which is older than the national average of just above 15 percent. Additionally Hughey says ThinkTennessee found diverse populations in rural and urban areas.

Understanding that the state has an older population, and a high percentage of people with a disability living in rural communities, may help justify investments in transportation or modifications of voting options.

"We know that these populations might benefit from policies like transit options or no-fault absentee voting or increased health care access, and those can be really important things both in our rural areas and in our urban ones," Hughey states.

According to the data, 1 in 6 people living in rural communities in the state has a disability.



Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN