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Why Tennessee?

Tennessee is an ideal place to drive business success because we offer more than great roads and a central location. In our state, progressive businesses will find access to vital economic components, such as a right-to-work environment, a diverse, dependable and educated workforce, a wonderful quality of life and a wealth of technology resources that gives businesses a winning edge in their growth and profitability. From its natural resources and progressive technology resources to its unique quality of life, the state is positioned to offer whatever a company needs to be successful.

State Profiles

  • Infrastructure
  • Demographics
  • Quality of Life
  • Education
  • Transportation

Tennessee's advantage includes a vibrant and ever-growing infrastructure, which makes the state a great place to locate and grow a business.


Tennessee has made tremendous strides in increasing the state’s telecommunications capabilities.


Tennessee 2013 Business Survey:

  • 76 percent of Tennessee businesses are connected with broadband
  • Tennessee businesses earn an estimated $31 billion in online sales annually
  • 36 percent of businesses earn revenue from online sales
  • 46 percent of small businesses rely on broadband to advertise their wares
  • 50,000 businesses use mobile broadband
  • 90,000 businesses in Tennessee interact with customers online all over the world
  • 7 of 10 businesses say it is important for new employees to have Internet-related skills
  • 30 percent of businesses allow teleworking


Tennessee 2013 Residential Survey:

  • 72 percent of Tennessee residents have high-speed (broadband) Internet access at home. Broadband adoption has increased significantly from 2012 (68%) and 2010 (58%).
  • The Tennessee broadband adoption rate among households with children is 81%, slightly higher than the statewide rate. In rural areas, the broadband adoption rate is 63%.
  • 53 percent of Tennessee residents use mobile broadband. Mobile broadband usage rates have increased significantly from 2012 (49%) and from 2010 (27%)
  • Among households which do not have broadband, only 10 percent reported lack of digital literacy skills as the reason.
  • Among households which do not have broadband, 20 percent reported cost as a barrier to broadband adoption – a decline from 28% in 2011.



  • Telecommunications utilities under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) as of June 30, 2013:
    • Competing Telephone Service Providers – 127
    • Customer Owned-Coin Operated Telephone Providers – 72
    • Incumbent Telephone Companies – 27
    • Resellers and Operators Service Providers – 189
    • Long Distance Facility Providers – 5
  • 2.23 million regulated wired telephone lines in service in Tennessee with 982,000 or 44 percent of those lines being provided by Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs).
  • CLEC statistics:
    • Service in 88 of Tennessee’s counties; 46% of CLEC lines are in the five largest metropolitan areas
    • 63% of lines provided by CLECs are businesses; 37% are residential lines
  • Three municipal electric utilities provide telecommunications in the state: Bristol Tennessee Essential Services; Chattanooga Electric Power Board; Jackson Energy Authority


  • The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) serves virtually all of the 95 counties in Tennessee.
  • TVA was named a 2013 Top Utilities in Economic Development by Site Selection Magazine. The analysis is based on several factors, including corporate end-user project activity, website tools and data, and job-creating infrastructure.
  • TVA’s power rates are better than the national average.
  • TVA ranks fifth in the U.S. in generating capacity.
  • TVA’s robust network in Tennessee, which includes 9,444 miles of transmission line and 263 substations and switchyards, is more than sufficient to supply its 42,000 square-mile service region in the state.
  • The TVA service area in Tennessee covers 99.7 percent of Tennessee, about 49 percent of TVA’s territory.
  • Since 2000, the TVA system has delivered 99.999 percent transmission reliability.
  • At 11.7 million megawatthours in 2013, Tennessee's net electricity generation from hydroelectric power was the third highest of any state east of the Mississippi River.
  • In Tennessee, TVA operates 19 hydroelectric dams, six coal-fired power plants, two nuclear power plants, seven combustion turbine sites and a pumped-storage plant, with a combined generating capacity of more than 19,655 megawatts.
  • TVA works with local power companies, directly served customers, and regional, state and community organizations to create economic development opportunities for the TVA region. During fiscal year 2013, over 32,550 jobs were created or retained in Tennessee and more than $2.9 billion was invested.
  • The newest nuclear reactor in the United States, the single unit at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant, began operating in 1996; Watts Bar 2 is scheduled to be the next U.S. reactor to come online in 2015.
  • The Southeast's first major wind farm, located on Tennessee's Buffalo Mountain near Oliver Springs, began operating as a two-megawatt facility in 2000; by 2012, its generating capacity had expanded to 29 megawatts.
  • The largest single solar installation at a U. S. automotive manufacturing facility, and the biggest solar installation in Tennessee at 8 megawatts, began operations in Chattanooga in February 2014.

Sources: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) – ; U.S. Energy Information Administration –


Tennessee is very diverse in its regions, geology, topography and wildlife.

The state of Tennessee values the conservation of its environment.

For more information, visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.


Tennessee is home to a diverse population, offering the opportunity for a wide array of experiences and contributions.

Population Figures

Of the 50 states, Tennessee ranks 36th in total area (42,146 square miles) and 19th in the number of persons per square mile. View Tennessee population statistics by county.

Population Projections

View population projections for the state.

2014 Tennessee Certified Population

View Tennessee’s 2014 Certified Population.

Census Information

According to the 2000 census, there were 5,689,283 people in 41,217 square miles of the state of Tennessee, reaching a total of approximately 138 people per square mile. 64% of the population is classified urban, and 36% is classified rural. Tennessee is located in the center of the South, central to the nation’s major markets.

For the most recent and accurate census information, visit the U.S. Census Bureau Web site.


Cost of Living

Tennessee is a wonderful place to call home for many reasons, including a favorable cost of living. The average cost of living in all of the state's reporting cities falls below the national average.

Housing costs in Tennessee are also among the lowest in the nation. In 2011, Tennessee ranked 9th lowest among the 50 states in median monthly housing costs for owner-occupied units with a mortgage. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency reports that 45,470 single-family homes were sold in 2011 with a median selling price of $150,925 and homes outside of the state's metropolitan areas had a median selling price of $109,000.


Tennessee enjoys a generally mild climate, providing favorable conditions for taking advantage of the state's abundant outdoor environment as well as working and living with a minimum number of weather-related disruptions.Click here to view average Tennessee temperatures and precipitation.


From the smallest community to the largest metropolis, Tennessee offers an inexhaustible wealth of architectural artistry, events, facilities and sites of cultural significance. Culture in Tennessee is a unique blend of the old and the new, providing opportunities to learn from the state's native culture and experience the best from around the world.

Sports & Recreation

From professional basketball in Memphis to NASCAR racing in Bristol, Tennesseans have abundant opportunities to watch professional athletes in action. Professional teams in Tennessee include:




Memphis Redbirds

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Nashville Sounds

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Chattanooga Lookouts

Southern League (AA)

Tennessee Smokies

Southern League (AA)

West TN Diamond Jaxx

Southern League (AA)

Elizabethton Twins

Appalachian League (Rookie)

Greeneville Astros

Appalachian League (Rookie)

Johnson City Cardinals

Appalachian League (Rookie)

Kingsport Mets

Appalachian League (Rookie)




Memphis Grizzlies

National Basketball Association (NBA)




Tennessee Titans

Nashville Football League (NFL)




PGA-St. Jude Classic


Nationwide Tour – Knoxville Open


Nationwide Tour - Chattanooga Classic





Nashville Predators

National Hockey League

Knoxville Ice Bears

Southern Professional Hockey League

Memphis Riverkings

Central Hockey League




Nashville Metros

United Soccer League (PDL)


There are major auto racing events held around the state throughout the year. Also, there are nearly 30 raceways spread across Tennessee that offer weekly races and special events.
The major events include:

NASCAR Sprint Cup


Bristol Motor Speedway

March, August

NASCAR Nationwide Series


Bristol Motor Speedway

March, August

Nashville Superspeedway

April, June

NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series


Bristol Motor Speedway


Nashville Superspeedway

April, August



Thunder Valley Nationals

Bristol (May)


Outdoor Recreation

Opportunities for outdoor recreation are virtually unlimited in Tennessee. The state has abundant resources for fishing, boating, hiking and many natural wonders to explore. The state is home to 12 national park and historic sites. In addition, Tennessee has 53 state parks, 79 natural areas, thousands of miles of streams and rivers and many other historic sites.


National Parks

Twelve national parks and historic sites are located throughout the state and offer a wide range of activities. Information about all of the parks and sites can be accessed through the National Park Service website.


State Parks and Natural Areas

There are more than 130 state parks and natural areas located all across Tennessee. Information about each park and natural area can be accessed from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation.



The landscape of Tennessee makes for a beautiful golf setting anywhere in the state. In addition to challenging courses, Tennessee golfers are treated to some of the most spectacular scenery in the nation, from the Mississippi River to the mountains of East Tennessee. Currently there are more than 150 courses throughout the state.

Education is a top priority in Tennessee. Governmental leaders, residents and educators are committed to improving and expanding educational opportunities available to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Multidisciplinary education is available on a statewide basis. There are three main goals for education in Tennessee: to ensure prosperous and productive futures for all economic sectors; to create a skilled labor force for industry and business and to develop public awareness of the challenges brought on by the changing technology of our time.

Higher Education

Tennessee Higher Education Commission is the coordinating body for the 51 public colleges, universities and technology centers that collectively educate 220,000 degree-seeking students across Tennessee. In addition, the Commission enjoys a working relationship with more than 36 independent institutions that educate almost 65,000 students.

Tennessee also provides a variety of incentives to enhance the quality of academic performance. Examples include the Performance Funding Program, viewed nationally as the most outstanding of its kind, the Ned McWherter Scholars program, graduate programs and the Chairs of Excellence

Career Centers

Tennessee has a network of career centers across the state where employers can go to find the workers they need, and job seekers can get assistance and career information. Each center offers computerized labor market information, Internet access, workshops and an online talent bank, in addition to job placement, recruitment and training referrals.

Technology Centers

Tennessee Technology Centers offer occupational and technical training for citizens, including employees of existing and prospective businesses across the state. The 27 Centers are a premier provider of Workforce Development, designed to serve post-secondary (adult) students, as well as high-school students involved in vocational programs.

Industry/University Partnerships

Technology-based economic development is driven by the expansion of both existing companies and new business ventures. Furthermore, collaboration among and between these two segments is a necessary component of a thriving technology sector in Tennessee.


Tennessee shares a border with eight states making our location convenient and economical for moving freight and products across the United States and abroad. Not only is the state located in the heart of the South, but it has valuable accessibility to market and workforce resources.

Tennessee's location places it within a day's drive of more than three-quarters of the major U.S. markets. The state's transportation network offers immediate access to eight interstates, several major river ports, international and regional airports, and extensive railways that allow for quick and efficient shipping to anywhere in the worl


Tennessee has developed air transportation through two strategic avenues: Commercial Service (CS) Airports and General Aviation (GA) Airports. The six CS airports have invested heavily in cargo handling infrastructure to meet the demands of businesses. For instance, Memphis International Airport has been the world's largest cargo airport for more than 18 years and continues to enjoy this distinction. The 74 General Aviation airports offer just-in-time shipping opportunities that have been utilized by large scale manufacturing operations.

Read a detailed description of Tennessee’s airways.


Tennessee's road system stretches over 87,000 miles, enough to circle the world more than three times. Of that, about 14,000 miles are totally maintained by the state. Those 14,000 miles represent 16% of the total highway miles within Tennessee, but they carry approximately 75% of the traffic.

Included in the state highway system are more than 1,100 miles of interstate highways. Although the interstate system makes up just over 1% of the total highway mileage, it carries approximately one quarter of all the traffic in Tennessee. Our location puts us within one day of 75% of the major U.S. markets and within 600 miles of 48% of the nation's population.

Read a detailed description of Tennessee’s highways.


Tennessee has one of the South's most extensive rail systems, with more than 3,200 miles of main and shortline railroads. Tennessee's three main rail systems are CSX, Norfolk Southern and Canadian National/Illinois Central, with 22 shortline railroads across the state.

Read a detailed description of Tennessee’s railways.


Tennessee is centrally located on the nation's inland waterway system. The Tennessee, Mississippi and Cumberland Rivers and their tributaries supply water transport opportunities to many communities across the state. Tennessee enjoys the benefit of more than 1,062 miles of navigable waterways across the state. The Tennessee inland water system connects terminals on the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries with river ports in 21 states and ocean ports in Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway provides Tennessee with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico harbors and international markets.

Read a detailed description of Tennessee’s waterways.