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The Health of Marshall County Part Seven

Posted on Friday, March 29, 2024 at 1:30 pm

TRACY HARRIS – Staff Writer

The final article of the series breaking down the health of Marshall County using the 2023 County Health Rankings National Finding Report by The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.

As a reminder, Marshall County ranked 26th out of Tennessee’s 95 counties using Health Outcomes, Health Factors, and County Demographics.

The first two articles covered Health Outcomes: Length of Life, Quality of Life, and Additional Health Outcomes (not included in the overall ranking).

The next articles covered the four categories under Health Factors: Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social & Economic Factors, and Physical Environment. All four categories had an additional set of data.

Social & Economic Factors and Clinical Care were covered last week on March 21.

All that is left are the Additional Social & Economic Factors (not included in summary) and Additional Physical Environment (not included in summary).

Additional Social & Economic Factors not included in the summary:

High School Graduation for Marshall County was 94%, much higher than the national average of 87%. Tennessee average was 90%. This measurement is the number of high-schoolers that actually graduated within in four years.

Disconnected Youth in Marshall County was an alarming 14% over a four-year period (2017-2021). The definition used was: the percentage of teens and young adults ages 16-19 who are neither working nor in school. The national and statewide averages were 7%, meaning we have twice as many teens and young adults not working and not in school. People say an idle mind is the devil’s playground.

Reading Scores on average for third grade students was 2.9 on standardized reading tests, 0.1 lower than grade level. Tennessee scored 3.0 and the U. S. was at 3.1. The definition used was “average grade-level performance for third graders on English Language Arts (ELA) standardized tests. When researchers disaggregated scores according to race, it showed Black students at the lowest – 2.6, Hispanic students in the middle – 2.7, and White students at the highest – 3.1.

Math Scores on average for third grade students was 2.8 on standardized math tests, 0.2 lower than grade level.  Tennessee scored 2.9 and the U. S. was at 3.0. When researchers disaggregated scores according to race, math score also showed that Black students performed at the lowest – 2.4, Hispanic students in the middle – 2.8, and White students at the highest – 2.9.

For School Funding Adequacy, Marshall County school funding on average, per pupil, was $1,512 – note that our county was not in the negative. This is the dollar amount on average, per-pupil, needed to support students in achieving average U.S. test scores. The definition used was: the average gap in dollars between actual and required spending per pupil among public school districts. Tennessee was -$1,086, a surprising shortage for students, and the U. S. was $1,062.

Gender Pay Gap for the years 2017-2021 showed women earned an average of $0.80 for every $1.00 men earned in annual income. The definition used was: the ratio of women’s median earnings to men’s median earnings for full-time, year-round workers. This trends with state and national numbers of $0.80 and $0.81.

Median Household Income was $64,700 with 2021 data. Half of all households had an annual income below this amount, and half had annual incomes above it. Tennessee was $59,700 and U. S. was $69,700.

Living Wage in 2022 for Marshall County was $37.08. There’s a lot of talk on social media and news outlets about a living wage. The definition for this report was: the hourly wage needed to cover basic household expenses plus taxes for a household of one adult and two children. Tennessee’s living was was $39.39.

Suicides were higher in Marshall County (18) than the state (17) and the nation (14). Number of deaths due to suicide per 100,000 population (age-adjusted). The 2024 Annual Data Release used data from 2017-2021 for this measure. Suicide serves as an important measure of the mental health of a county’s population. According to the CDC, in 2021, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34.

Voter Turnout for the 2020 Presidential Election was lower in Marshall County (58.8%) than the state (60.1%) and the nation (67.9%).

Additional Physical Environment not included in the summary:

Traffic Volume– On a good note, in Marshall County, traffic volume on major roadways averaged 37 vehicles per meter per day. The definition used was: average traffic volume per meter of major roadways in the county. Tennessee averaged 283 and the U. S. averaged 505. Further into the report it explained that living in proximity to traffic has been associated with subclinical atherosclerosis (a key pathology underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD)), prevalence of CVD and coronary heart disease, incidence of myocardial infarction, and CVD mortality.

Homeownership in the years 2017-2021 showed 74% of housing units were owner-occupied. Marshall County is a bit higher than state average 67%) and the national average (65%).

Severe Housing Cost Burden in Marshall County showed that 10% of households spent half or more of their income on housing (2017-2021). Tennessee showed 12% with a severe housing cost burden and 14% nationally. Further in the report, it says “There is a strong and growing evidence base linking stable and affordable housing to health. As housing costs have outpaced local incomes, households not only struggle to acquire and maintain adequate shelter, but also face difficult trade-offs in meeting other basic needs. When the majority of a paycheck goes toward the rent or mortgage, it makes it hard to afford doctor visits, healthy foods, utility bills, and reliable transportation to work or school.”

Broadband Access in our county was listed at 84% of residents. This number trended with state average (84%) and national average (87%).

To find any of the information from this article, previous articles, or to compare our county to surrounding counties, please go to the website There is much more than just data and statistics on the report. There are preventative measures, links to resources, and a lot more.