USA Today: “Grundy Worst County in TN”

I’m only putting this here to be able to find it– what the article says is offensive to me

Did yours make the list? The worst county to live in each state,” USA Today, June 27, 2019. By Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter, 24/7 Wall Street

By several economic indicators, the United States is in a historic era of prosperity. The unemployment rate recently hit 3.3%, its lowest point since the 1960s; the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high last year; and over the past decade, incomes have climbed by 14% nationwide, and by at least 16% in over a dozen states.

In this context, it can be easy to overlook the parts of the country that have been left behind. In nearly every state in the nation, there is at least one county where social and economic measures reflect a poor quality of life.

To identify the worst counties to live in, 24/7 Wall St. used U.S. Census Bureau data to construct an index of three measures: poverty, the percentage of adults who have at least a bachelor’s degree, and average life expectancy at birth.

Only counties with populations of at least 10,000 were considered. County equivalents like Census areas, parishes, and independent cities were included in our analysis. Data on life expectancy is from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – an independent population health research center at the University of Washington. We also considered April 2019 unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Often, these counties have higher than typical unemployment and have reported a declining population in recent years. Many of these counties also rank as the poorest county in the state.

Tennessee: Grundy County

• 5-yr. population change: -2.9% (state: +3.8%)

• Poverty rate: 28.5% (state: 16.7%)

• Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 11.0% (state: 26.1%)

• Life expectancy: 72.5 years (state: 76.3 years)

Grundy County, located just northwest of Chattanooga, ranks as the worst county to live in Tennessee. After declining by about half a year since 2010, life expectancy in Grundy is just 72.5 years, nearly four years below the average life expectancy in the state.

The typical household in Grundy County earns only $31,919 a year, well below the median household income statewide of $48,708. Incomes tend to rise with educational attainment, and in Grundy County, only 73.2% of adults have a high school diploma, the smallest share of any county in the state.


Grundy County Herald, July 4, 2019

Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady says statistics used to generate the report are skewed and based in part on a previous census in which approximately 3,000 addresses and residential information were not counted. He states he has been in communication with the Census Bureau to correct and improve the next Census in 2020.
The low figures trickle down to impact a variety of aspects of the county. With a low population, retailers are not knocking on the county’s door to move into the area. And, a lack of services, such as medical care does, not attract new residents.
Brady, addressing the inaccuracy of the report, says out of the nine counties in Appalachia noted as “distressed,” Grundy County used to be the most distressed, but the county has since moved into the number four spot with increased annual household incomes and other improvements. Brady is working with the commissioner and the governor to promote the county.
Brady sees improvement in the area’s future and does not think Grundy County will be on or toward the bottom on any reports in the future. “Not for long,” Brady said.


About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
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