ING-USA on Bristol/Tri-Cities

This is what billions of tax dollars and local politics have bought for the people of Tri-Cities. The excerpts below are taken from the Kingsport Times-News for March 4, 2001 and nothing has changed in 2015:

KINGSPORT - Although the Kingsport-Johnson City-Bristol area ranks third as a retirement area among 125 metropolitan areas, the region ranks only 99th as a sound place to earn and save money.

ING's annual study, "The Best Cities to Earn and Save Money," represents a comprehensive analysis of financial security in 125 metropolitan areas.

Security is defined as "the financial means and opportunities, regardless of source, to support one's self and dependents at an acceptable standard throughout a lifetime." "An emphasis on the capacity to earn income, safety and community infrastructure that supports individuals in good times and bad."

Top cities demonstrate high household wealth, high levels of educational attainment, high participation in retirement savings and life insurance, a low percentage of low-income households, and low crime rates. The Tri-Cities ranked 98th, the same as last year and down from 77th in 1999 and ranked among the bottom 25 in five critical areas:

  • The region ranked 124th in educational attainment, with an average of 12 years of education for persons 25 years or older.
  • Job creation was 121st among 125 metro areas, with an annual increase of only 0.7 percent.
  • Low household income was 121st, with an average household income of $33,166.
  • The region ranked 114th for participation in retirement savings programs, with 51.2 percent participating in a retirement plan.
  • The region also ranked 114th for numerous low-income households, with 23.2 percent of households posting income of $15,000 or less.
  • Key strengths that make the region a safe haven for retirees were the lowest cost of living of 125 cities, while ranking 11th for low-cost government services, at $1,850 per capita.
  • A low crime rate was also a strong point, although crime increased from 361 offenses to 379 offenses per 100,000 population.

The Kingsport Times-News on March 10, 2002 had this to say about the region:

Northeast Tennessee has lost at least 2,100 manufacturing jobs since last July.... At the same time, the region gained 2,200 service-producing jobs... In all, the region posted a net gain of 800 jobs. According to Steb Hipple, economist at East Tennessee State University, "manufacturing jobs tend to pay higher wages and salaries than those in service-related industries. As a result, the region's overall payroll may be declining, despite a net gain of jobs."

In other words, this area is great for retirement, near the bottom as a sound place to earn a living. Most businesses here resist any efforts to bring up wages, and most jobs (what few there are) are only available to those with political or family connections. The large income gap, high poverty levels, and lack of education produces a dysfunctional political system leaving too much power in the hands of the chamber of commerce and their cronies.

The Best Cities to Earn and Save Money, Year 2001 Edition


Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia (MSA) The Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol area ties for 98th with Tacoma, Wash., unchanged from its ranking last year. Since 2000, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.3 to 3.9 percent, and use of life insurance products increased from 30.2 to 31.9 percent of households. These positive changes were offset by a slowing in the job creation rate from a 1.3 to 0.7 percent annual increase in jobs and an increase in crime from 361 to 379 offenses per 100,000 population.

The area ranks among the bottom 25 cities in five measures: 124th for low educational attainment (12.0 years of education per person over age 25); 121st for low household income ($33,166 per household); 121st for low job creation; 114th for low participation in retirement savings programs (51.2 percent of households); and 114th for numerous low-income households (23.2 percent of households). Its key strength is having the lowest cost of living among the 125 cities (0.90), and it ranks 14th for low cost of community services ($1,850 per capita).

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