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Tennessee ranks 15th for most underprivileged children, according to WalletHub study

Tennessee ranks 15th for most underprivileged children, according to WalletHub study

PHOTO: At the 2017 Franklin Christmas parade, children beg for candy from a parade participant.//Brooke Wanser


According to UNICEF, among economically developed countries, the United States has the seventh highest child poverty rate (29 percent).

In a new study from personal finance website WalletHub, Tennessee has been ranked 15th out of the 50 states and D.C. for having relatively high levels underprivileged children.

Most of the states in the top 15 are in the Southeast; Tennessee ranks below Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia, and just above Florida.

Least underprivileged children, meanwhile, reside in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland and Wisconsin.


The study took into account three groups of factors: socio-economic welfare, health, and education. Socio-economic welfare was weighted twice as heavily as the other two factor groups.

Tennessee’s socio-economic ranking was 15 and health ranking, 13, though an education ranking of 29 put the state more firmly in the middle of the pack.

Williamson County stands out from the rest of the state on measures of health and education, boasting the best education system out of 95 counties, as well as being the healthiest and wealthiest, according to recent reports.

Socio-economic welfare factors

  • Share of Children in Foster CareShare of Children in Single-Parent Families
  • Share of Children Living with Grandparents and No Parent in the Home
  • Children in Renter vs. Owner Households
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Children and Youth Rate
  • Share of Children Living in Low-Income Households Where No Adults Work
  • Share of Children under 18 Whose Parents Lack Secure Employment
  • Share of Children Living in Households with Below-Poverty Income
  • Share of Children Living in Extreme Poverty
  • Economic Mobility


  • Share of Maltreated Children: Double Weight
  • Percentage of Adolescents 9th to 12th Grade Who Felt Sad or Hopeless During The Past Year
  • Child Food-Insecurity Rate
  • Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 Births)
  • Child Death Rate (per Capita)
  • Share of Uninsured Children
  • Share of Poor Children Lacking All Seven Recommended Vaccines
  • Share of Children with Unaffordable Medical Bills


  • Public High School Graduation Rate
  • Public High School Graduation Rate Among Economically Disadvantaged Students
  • Young Children Not Enrolled in School
  • State Pre-K Funding per Preschool-Aged Resident
  • Quality of Public School System
  • Share of Teens Neither Attending School Nor Working

To read the full WalletHub report, sources, and methodology, click here.

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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