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Tennessee covers 41,217 square miles, with a 2017 estimated population of 6,715,984 people – with 1,507,213 living in rural Tennessee (USDA-ERS). Nashville is the state capital. The state’s largest cities are Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. According to 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 78.6% of the state’s population is white, 17.1% is African-American, 1.9% is Asian, 0.5% is American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.1% is Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 5.5% is of Hispanic or Latino origin.

Tennessee Rural Healthcare Facilities

Tennessee Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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According to, as of July 2018 Tennessee had:

  • 15 Critical Access Hospitals
  • 120 Rural Health Clinics
  • 94 Federally Qualified Health Centers located outside of Urbanized Areas
  • 52 short term hospitals located outside of Urbanized Areas

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Tennessee

9% of Tennessee residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2017). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per capita income for Tennessee residents in 2016 was $43,326, although rural per capita income lagged at $33,930. The ERS reports, based on 2017 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Tennessee is 18.1%, compared with 14.1% in urban areas of the state. 18.7% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 12.6% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2012-2016 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Tennessee is 4.4%, while in urban Tennessee, it is 3.5% (USDA-ERS, 2017).

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

Data Sources
Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Tennessee Office of Rural Health
Phone: 615.741.0380
Works to improve and enhance the accessibility, availability, and affordability of quality healthcare in Tennessee by creating a central focus and coordination of rural healthcare 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: 12/29/2017