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TN Pulse Survey

The Tennessee Pulse is a cooperative effort of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group, the University of Tennessee’s the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the University's Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS).

The survey is intended to capture the attitudes and behavior of Tennesseans toward COVID-19 and the re-opening of the economy. The survey enables segmentation across a grouping of the state’s largest metropolitan counties (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan) and the remaining 89 counties of the state, as well as age, gender, and race. The survey will be administered on a bi-weekly basis throughout the summer.


  • Wave 1 of the survey was administered between May 18 and May 24, 2020. See the results here.
  • Wave 2 of the survey was administered between June 1 and June 7, 2020. See the results here.
  • Wave 3 of the survey was administered between June 15 and June 21, 2020. See the results here.
  • Time Series results of the survey are also available. See the results here.

For the codebook and datasets, please email us at

Summary of Results

Residents of the state remain almost evenly split, with 48 percent indicating that COVID-19 health effects would have more important impacts on the family compared to 52 percent indicating that economic impacts would be more significant.

Respondents who were older, women and African Americans, as well as those who reside in the state’s larger metropolitan counties, were more likely to indicate that COVID-19 health impacts would be most significant. These findings are consistent with the results from Wave 1 of the Tennessee Pulse.

The survey reveals that there has been no meaningful change in concerns regarding possible contraction of COVID-19, one’s own health and the families’ health. Similarly, there were no significant changes in concerns over one’s financial situation, the ability to keep a job and access medical care.

Survey respondents’ willingness to leave the home and re-engage in social, cultural and recreational activities is largely unchanged compared to May 18-May 24. People are no more likely to eat at a restaurant, shop at a department store, go to church or a large public event, go to the gym, recreate outdoors or travel in state or out-of-state than they were in May.

A significant share of respondents continue to engage in behaviors that protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Eighty-two percent indicated that would stay home if ill, 67 percent indicate they wear a mask or face covering in public, 77 percent practice social distancing and 78 percent wash their hands after being in public. A large share of those surveyed, 41 percent, indicated that they have simply decided to stay home. This is down slightly from 43 percent of the respondents in Wave 1.

Awareness of the Tennessee Pledge—a coordinated plan for re-opening of businesses across the state that is intended to ensure a safe return to work—ticked up slightly in Wave 2 compared to Wave 1. However, the same number of respondents (26 percent) indicated that their place of business or employer had taken the pledge.

When asked whether the situation will be better, about the same or worse two weeks ahead, 30 percent indicated that the situation would improve, compared to 36 percent in Wave 1. Only 24 percent of women and 16 percent of African Americans thought that the situation would be better in two weeks. About half of those surveyed (49 percent) indicated the situation would be about the same in two weeks.

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