2023 State Report for County-Level Data: Poverty
Special thanks to the following individuals who have contributed to the success of this effort: Deb Brucker, Erin Dame, Kate Filanoski, Kim Phillips, Karen Volle, Romy Eberle, and Toni Sumner-Beebe.
Funding for this publication is made possible by:
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), grant number 90RTGE0001. The information developed by the StatsRRTC does not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government (Edgar, 75.620 (b)).
The StatsRRTC is a part of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. The Institute on Disability/UCED (IOD) was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of people with disabilities and their families and is New Hampshire’s University Center for Excellence in Disability (UCED). Located within the University of New Hampshire, the IOD is a federally designated center authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Act. Through innovative and interdisciplinary research, academic, service, and dissemination initiatives, the IOD builds local, state, and national capacities to respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.
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Overview. Statistics are a powerful tool in research, policymaking, program evaluation, and advocacy. They are used to frame issues, monitor current circumstances and progress, judge the effectiveness of policies and programs, make projections about the future, and predict the costs of potential policy changes.
In the United States, disability statistics – information about the population with disabilities and about the government programs that serve people with disabilities - are often difficult to find. Numerous government agencies generate and publish disability statistics, and as a result, the data are scattered across various federal government documents and websites.
The Annual Disability Statistics State Reports for County-Level Data, one of the five publications included in the Institute on Disability’s Annual Disability Statistics Collection – referred to as “the Collection” – is a summary of statistics about people with disabilities and about the government programs which serve them. The State Reports for County-Level Data provides county-level prevalence, employment, and poverty statistics for each state.
Additional publications included in the Collection are:
- The Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, available both in hard copy and online (at www.disabilitycompendium.org), presents key overall statistics on topics including the prevalence of disability, employment among persons with disabilities, rates of participation in disability income and social insurance programs, and other statistics.
- The Annual Disability Statistics Supplement covers 150 additional tables that analyze the content found in the Compendium by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
- The Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America, which graphically represents trends of key statistics from the Compendium.
- Infographics in the Collection are curated through partnerships with organizations that specialize in the intersectionality of disability with other identities.
- The Annual Disability Statistics Standard Errors Companion, new to the Collection this year, details the standard errors of percent and standard errors of frequency for applicable tables in the Compendium.
All publications are available online at https://disabilitycompendium.org. The Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America and the infographics are also available in print format.
The State Reports for County-Level Data on Poverty is intended to be an online complement to Section 3: Poverty of the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium and Annual Disability Statistics Supplement, providing greater detail within each state. This report can be used to compare county-level statistics between counties in any given state or states.
The following report provides county-level statistics for Tennessee. In this report, poverty of people with disabilities is presented as the number of civilians with disabilities, ages 18 to 64 years and living in the community, in a given state and county per total state and county populations, respectively. Counts and percentages (the poverty rate) are provided in tables and maps.
Specific to Tennessee, the state chosen for this report, sentences providing interpretation and context for prevalence statistics are included in the Interpretation section. A short glossary of terms is also provided at the end of the report explaining the statistics that are illustrated in each sentence.
Notes on the data. The State Reports for County-Level Data on Employment is composed of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data. We used the most recent data wherever available.
ACS 5-year includes data from 2021 and data from the four previous years. 5-year data is collected over a longer period of time than 1-year data, providing larger sample sizes and increased reliability for less populated areas and small population subgroups.
In the ACS, people are identified as having a disability based on responses to a series of six questions asking about having difficulties with vision, hearing, ambulation, cognition, self-care, and independent living (see glossary for further details).
Poverty is defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and set as a dollar threshold by the U.S. Census Bureau (see the glossary for further details).
Exploring other topics. The UNH Institute on Disability is dedicated to thorough research and has explored topics such as understanding the factors associated with the health disparities experienced by people with intellectual disabilities through the Health Disparities Project (https://iod.unh.edu/health-disparities-project) and career self-management through job crafting for people with physical and mild cognitive disabilities (https://iod.unh.edu/career-self-management-through-job-crafting-people-physical-mild-cognitive-disabilities).
Additional Resources. A companion Annual Report is available, providing graphical representations of key findings. The Annual Report highlights trend data related to specific tables in the Compendium and Supplement. The statistics presented here, as well as those in the Compendium, Supplement, and Annual Report, can be viewed and downloaded at https://disabilitycompendium.org/.
Help navigating any of the resources described here can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section at https://disabilitycompendium.org/faq. Assistance interpreting and locating additional statistics is available via our toll-free number, 866-538-9521, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our research projects, please visit https://www.researchondisability.org.
Suggested Citation. Paul, S., Rogers, S., Bach, S., & Houtenville, A. (2023). 2023 State Report for Tennessee County-Level Data: Poverty. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability.
The following statements are designed to help understand the 2021 county-level poverty statistics from Tennessee that are presented:
For people with disabilities:
- The poverty rate for people with disabilities in Tennessee was 27.4%.
- The range, also known as the difference between largest and smallest values, of poverty rates for people with disabilities across Tennessee counties was 33.9%.
- The county with the greatest poverty rate for people with disabilities was Lake (48.0%).
- The county with the smallest poverty rate for people with disabilities was Williamson (14.1%).
- The median, also known as the middle-most, poverty rate for people with disabilities across all counties in Tennessee was 29.2%.
- For people without disabilities:
- The poverty rate for people without disabilities in Tennessee was 11.3%.
- The range, also known as the difference between largest and smallest values, of poverty rates for people without disabilities across Tennessee counties was 23.5%.
- The county with the greatest poverty rate for people without disabilities was Hancock (27.3%).
- The county with the smallest poverty rate for people without disabilities was Williamson (3.8%).
- The median, also known as the middle-most, poverty rate for people without disabilities across all counties in Tennessee was 12.5%.
There are a number of concepts and factors which complicate the interpretation of the estimates presented in this report. These concerns affect all statistics from population-based surveys. The estimates included in this document should be interpreted the following limitations in mind and generalized with caution. In each point, a link to the U.S. Census Bureau website describing the limitation or concept in greater detail in the ACS has been provided.
Statistics are based on a sample and subject to sample variation
Statistics based on a sample may not fully represent the total U.S. population
People responding to the ACS may be different than people not responding
When people do not respond to all ACS questions their responses are created based on assignment or allocation
Additional links to resources for the ACS:
American Community Survey (ACS) — The American Community Survey is a large, continuous demographic survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that will provide accurate and up-to-date profiles of America’s communities every year. Annual and multiyear estimates of population and housing data are generated for small areas, including tracts and population subgroups. This information is collected by mailing questionnaires to a sample of addresses. See the U.S. Census Bureau website for additional details.
The Six Disability Questions in the American Community Survey:
- Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing? (yes or no)
- Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses? (yes or no)
- (If person 5 years old or over) Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions? (yes or no)
- (If person 5 years or old over) Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs? (yes or no)
- (If person 5 years old or over) Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing? (yes or no)
- (If person 15 years old or over) Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping? (yes or no)
Average — The sum of all of the values in a sample divided by the number of values in the sample.
Civilian — A person not in active-duty military.
Living in the Community – A person lives in the community, if the person is not living in an institution, such as jail, prison, nursing home, and hospital. A college dormitory is not considered an institution.
Median — The middle-most value of a sample that separates the upper half of the values from the lower half of the values.
Non-Institutionalized Population — Describes individuals who are residing in the community and who are not living in institutions such as jails, prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
Population — The total number of inhabitants in a defined geographic area including all races, classes, and groups.
Poverty — The U.S. Office of Management and Budget in Statistical Policy, Directive 14 sets the standards for which poverty is calculated. The U.S. Census Bureau uses a set of dollar value thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family’s total income is less than the dollar value of the appropriate threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered to be in poverty.
Poverty Rate — Percent of the population who are determined to be in poverty.
Range — The difference between the largest and smallest values in a sample. In a sample, when the smallest value is subtracted from the largest value the resulting value is called the range.
Sampling Variability — The variation of a statistic when estimated from repeated samples.
United States Census Bureau — An agency within the United States Federal Statistical System tasked with producing data about the American people and economy. Their primary task is to conduct the United States Census every ten years.
About the Center
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC)
Led by the University of New Hampshire, the StatsRRTC is a collaborative effort involving the following partners: American Association of People with Disabilities, Center for Essential Management Services, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, Kessler Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, and Public Health Institute.
The StatsRRTC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research under grant number 90RTGE0001, from 2018–2023.
University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability
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Durham, NH 03824
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