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Tennessee covers 41,217 square miles, with a 2013 estimated population of 6,495,978 people – with 1,491,022 living in rural Tennessee (USDA-ERS). Nashville is the state capital. The state’s largest cities are Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 79.1% of the state’s population is white, 17.0% is Black/African-American, and 4.9% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (2013).

Tennessee Rural Healthcare Facilities

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There are 133 hospitals in Tennessee (Kaiser, 2011), 16 of which are identified by the Flex Monitoring Team as Critical Access Hospitals (February 2014). There are 63 Rural Health Clinics in Tennessee (Kaiser, 2012) and 23 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 187 sites in the state (Kaiser, 2011).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Tennessee

14.0% of Tennessee residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2011). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Tennessee residents in 2012 was $38,752, although rural per-capita income lagged at $30,902. Estimates from 2012 indicate a poverty rate of 20.8% exists in rural Tennessee, compared to 17.2% in urban areas of the state. 2012 ACS data reports that 21.6% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 14.4% of urban populations. The unemployment rate in rural Tennessee is 10.0%, while in urban Tennessee, it is 7.7% (USDA-ERS, 2013).

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Tennessee State Office of Rural Health


Tennessee Office of Rural Health
Phone: 615.741.0380
Works to improve and enhance the accessibility, availability, and affordability of quality health care in Tennessee by creating a central focus and coordination of rural health care resources. A division of the Tennessee Department of Health.
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There are more organizations related to Tennessee in the organizations section.

Last Reviewed: 3/5/2014

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Funding for this project was supported by Grant Number U56RH05539 from the Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funder.