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Study: Tennesseans older, more infirm than national average


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  --  Tennesseans are older and suffer from more handicaps that the nation as a whole.

That’s the finding of the non-partisan group Think Tennessee.

The group crunched census data to discover that Tennesseans are about 15 percent older than the national average. The state’s residents also have higher rates of disability than Americans as a whole.

Both problems are even more pronounced in rural communities. Think Tennessee’s Shawna Hughes will be delivering the study to the state’s lawmakers.

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

Hughes says understanding that the state has an older population, and a high percentage of people with a disability living in rural areas, may help lawmakers justify larger investments in the state’s smallest communities.

"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."

The study also suggests that Tennessee’s rural communities are far more diverse than you might expect, with African American and Hispanic residents making up large shares of the population in a number of rural communities.

Would you like to review the complete Think Tennessee study?