Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey
Community Highlights For East Tennessee

East Tennessee Foundation

Media Contact: 
Jerry W. Askew, President
Phone:  865-524-1223
Address:  550 W. Main St.  Suite 550  Knoxville, TN 37902
Email address:

Sample size:

Survey Area:
Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Unicoi, Union, and Washington counties (all in Tennessee)

Community Description:
Predominantly rural with the exception of Knox county

1,317,658 (estimate) 

US Census

White              93%
Black              5%
Asian              <1%
Hispanic            <1%
Other               <1%   (American Indian and Native Alaskan)

US Census

0-4            6%
5-17        17%
18-24    9%
25-44   30%
45-64   25%
65+    13%

US Census

Additional Information:

We chose this survey area because it mirrors our foundation service area, and we wanted to see if there are significant differences among the various counties.

Initial observations:

1.      Among our 23 county area—whether urban, suburban or rural—there       was considerable similarity in responses;

2.      East Tennesseeans belong to, attend, and participate in church-related and faith-based organizations and programs to a greater extent than a national norm;

3.      East Tennesseeans are more interested in politics and national affairs and participate in the formal election process (as measured by voter registration and turnout) to a greater extent than a national norm;

4.      East Tennesseeans give of their time and money to a broad range of charitable organizations and purposes to a greater extent than a national norm;

5.      East Tennesseeans report trusting attitudes to a lesser extent than a national norm.  Moreover, there are no apparent distinctions among and within racial and ethnic groups in these reported attitudes;

6.      Interestingly, 94% of East Tennessee respondents reported that they were “happy” or “very happy” and 82% reported that their health was “excellent”, “very good”, or “good”.

What are we going to do about it?

1.      We plan to initiate a series of conversations throughout our region about social capital and our initial findings;

2.      We will initiate a speaking tour to share our data with civic organizations and other organized groups throughout the region;

3.      We will revise our grantmaking guidelines to reflect a priority on social capital building programs;

4.      We will seek to identify potential partnership opportunities for intentional social capital building initiatives.