Kentucky Population 2018

4,472,265

Previously a part of Virginia, Kentucky became its own territory and became the 15th state in the US Union in 1792. From those early beginnings it has grown to become the 26th largest state in terms of population with an estimated population of 4.47 million.

Kentucky's estimated population of 4.47 million in 2018 reflects a modest rise on the official Census figures from 2010. Kentucky currently has a population growth rate of 0.47%, which ranks 34th among the US states.

Kentucky Area and Population Density

Kentucky's population density is currently 109.9 people per square mile, and the state's total population has grown every decade since figures were first recorded. Still, most decades during the 20th century have seen a net out-migration from Kentucky, and rural counties have experienced a loss while urban areas have gained in population. Interestingly, the urban versus rural population of Kentucky remains fairly equal, although poverty is far more rampant in the rural areas of the state.

Kentucky is fairly densely filled and from a total surface area of 40,409 square miles, (104,659 square kilometres), there is an average of around 110 people per square mile, or 42.5 per square kilometer. This makes Kentucky the 22nd most densely populated state in the US.

The largest city in Kentucky by population is Louisville. The largest county in Kentucky by population is Jefferson County.

Kentucky Demographics

Age/Sex, Race, Religion

The median age in the state of Kentucky is approximately 38.6 years of age, with a slight gender majority of 50.8% females and 49.2% males residing in the state.

In terms of racial diversity, Kentucky comes in with 87.5% Caucasians, 7.9% African Americans, 2.1% two or more races, 1.3% Asians, .9% other races, and .1% Natives of North America.

In terms of religious preferences over the state, Kentucky comes in with 76% Christian based faiths, 2% non-Christian faiths, and 22% unaffiliated to any faith.

Kentucky Population History

Kentucky was part of Virginia prior to its admission as a State on June 1, 1792. It had essentially its present boundaries, except that because of erroneous surveys portions of the Kentucky-Tennessee boundary were in dispute for many years until finally resurveyed in 1859.

Kentucky was reported separately from Virginia in 1790; the county boundaries at that time corresponded to the present-day State lines between Kentucky and Virginia-West Virginia. Census coverage in 1790 included much of the State's territory, but the area west of the Tennessee River (the Jackson Purchase) was first enumerated in 1820.

Kentucky Population Chart

Kentucky Population History

Although Kentucky was incorporated into the United States in 1792, population figures are available from the 1790 Census, and at the time, it was revealed that 73,677 people were living in the state.

Like most areas of the US, Kentucky was undergoing a population explosion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and by the time the next Census was undertaken in 1800, those numbers had grown by nearly 200% to 220,955.

That was by far the largest population spike, but significant increases carried on throughout the 1800s and by the time of the 1900 Census, the Kentucky population had grown to 2,147,174.

The 20th century continued to produce healthy rises through the present day, where the Kentucky population of 2016 is starting to nudge the 4.5 million mark.

Natural Growth

In 2006, figures were released with regards to natural growth and the impact that it had on the population of Kentucky. These figures showed that in the six years following the 2000 Census, there had been an increase in numbers of 77,156 people: a figure that is derived from 287,222 births less 210,066 deaths and an increase following net migration of 59,604.

Kentucky’s Future Population Projections

The population of Kentucky is rising, even if it isn’t at such a spectacular rate as some parts of the country. There is, however, no reason to suggest that this trend won’t continue. While some counties are experiencing a decline in growth, some counties are growing at a rate over 40%, including Spencer, Scott and Boone counties. Since 2000, more than one-third of the growth in the state has occurred in the Louisville area, and this is expected to continue.

The Kentucky population is projected to reach 4.6 million by the 2020 Census and will nearly surpass the 5 million mark a decade later. By 2050, it's estimated that Kentucky will have a total population of 5.3 million.

Population Data via US Census

Kentucky Growth Rate

Kentucky Population Rank

Year Pop % Change
20204,508,4170.40%
20194,490,3410.40%
20184,472,2650.41%
20174,454,1890.41%
20164,436,113Infinity%
20164,411,989-0.23%
20154,422,0570.26%
20144,410,4150.26%
20134,399,1210.35%
20124,383,6730.35%
20114,368,5050.47%
20104,347,9480.73%
20004,041,7690.93%
19903,685,2960.07%
19803,660,7771.30%
19703,218,7060.58%
19603,038,1560.31%
19502,944,8060.34%
19402,845,6270.85%
19302,614,5890.79%
19202,416,6300.54%
19102,289,9050.65%
19002,147,1741.45%
18901,858,6351.21%
18801,648,6902.24%
18701,321,0111.35%
18601,155,6841.64%
1850982,4052.34%
1840779,8281.26%
1830687,9172.00%
1820564,3173.33%
1810406,5116.29%
1800220,95911.61%
179073,6775.05%
178045,00011.10%
177015,7000.00%

Kentucky Facts

Kentucky Population in 2018Source: Mrherbalwarrior at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The first permanent settlement in the state of Kentucky was in Harrodsburg in 1774. It was settled by American pioneer James Harrod.
  • Just one year later, in 1775, Daniel Boone founded Boonesboro.
  • Prior to being settled, Shawnee and Cherokee Indians used the land that is now Kentucky as hunting grounds.
  • The song "Happy Birthday to You" is generally attributed to two sisters (a kindergarten teacher and a pianist/composer) in Louisville in 1893.
  • Fort Knox is the site of the largest amount of stored gold, holding $6 billion worth in its underground vaults.
  • More than half of the Americans killed in the War of 1812 were from Kentucky.
  • The world's longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave, is the second-oldest tourist attraction in the US.

Kentucky Population Density by County

Jefferson County

  • Population771,158
  • Density2026.94 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20103.93%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State17.31%

Kentucky Population Growth Rate by County

Some of Kentucky's counties have exhibited significant growth since the 2010 Census. According to 2015 US Census Bureau estimates, Scott County posted the highest growth rate percentage at 10.48%. Shelby County, located to the west, saw similar high growth at 7.94%. Further south, Warren County reflected growth of over 7%, the third highest in the state. Other counties that exhibited growth include Madison, Bath, and Boone, although there are many other counties that also grew between 2010 and 2015.

Data also shows that some counties showed declining growth rates. With a -12.84% growth rate, Lee County saw the biggest decline during the 5-year period. Other counties, primarily located in the southeastern corner of the state, also reflected negative growth, including the counties of Harlon, Leslie, and Floyd.

Population by Race

Race Population
White3,859,516
Black or African American350,242
Two or More Races92,837
Asian57,084
Some Other Race40,674
American Indian and Alaska Native9,052
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander2,584

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

Kentucky Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8% Male Population0%2%4%6%8% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

Kentucky Median Age

38.6


Total

37.2


Male

40


Female

Kentucky Adults

There are 3,397,232 adults, (652,974 of which are seniors) in Kentucky.

Kentucky Age Dependency

60.7

Age Dependency Ratio

23.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.9

Child Dependency Ratio

Kentucky Sex Ratio

Female

2,239,244

50.75%

Male

2,172,745

49.25%

Kentucky Households and Families

Kentucky Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Kentucky Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married82.5%17.5%
All66.8%33.2%
Male57.7%42.3%
Non Family53.2%46.8%
Female46.9%53.1%

66.8%

Rate of Home Ownership

Kentucky Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All1,718,2172.4966.8
Married833,4663.182.5
Non Family581,5661.2453.2
Female220,2743.2246.9
Male82,9113.1957.7

3.05

Average Family Size

2.49

Average Household Size

5.6%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Kentucky Households

Kentucky Education

Kentucky Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade190,7116.42%
9th to 12th Grade265,4698.94%
High School Graduate990,32233.34%
Some College618,00120.81%
Associates Degree231,4057.79%
Bachelors Degree397,15413.37%
Graduate Degree277,0119.33%

Kentucky Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White2,613,5142,223,985601,032
Black214,620182,75133,783
Hispanic72,25748,13712,169
Asian36,03830,36419,355
Multiple Races30,68026,4797,228
Other Race21,01111,5242,506
Native American6,2184,715944
Islander1,2301,056270

The highest rate of high school graduation is among multiple races people with a rate of 86.31%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among multiple races people with a rate of 53.71%.

Kentucky Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$32,548$39,572$27,293
Less Than High School$20,057$22,455$15,368
High School Grad$26,989$32,341$20,976
Some College$31,397$40,016$25,898
Bachelors Degree$45,274$54,350$38,209
Graduate Degree$55,144$68,047$50,583

$32,548

Average Earnings

$39,572

Average Male

$27,293

Average Female

Kentucky Language

Kentucky Language by Age

Kentucky Language

94.83% of Kentucky residents speak only English, while 5.17% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 2.57% of the population.

Kentucky Poverty

Kentucky Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White3,663,140624,62517.05%
Black328,173102,69331.29%
Hispanic141,27443,73830.96%
Multiple88,08525,11328.51%
Other38,94313,40534.42%
Asian55,6668,64715.53%
Native8,4792,55430.12%
Islander2,47156522.87%

18.81%

Overall Poverty Rate

17.11%

Male Poverty Rate

20.44%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Kentucky

The race most likely to be in poverty in Kentucky is Other, with 34.42% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Kentucky is Asian, with 15.53% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.51%. Among those working part-time, it was 21.97%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 27.86%.

Kentucky Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School32.94%
High School16.62%
Some College12.69%
Bachelors or Greater4.52%

Kentucky Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed42.70%
Male Unemployed37.24%
Female Employed10.04%
Male Employed6.96%

Kentucky Income

Kentucky Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$44,811$61,757
Families$56,522$73,193
Married Families$68,668$85,326
Non Families$25,668$37,044

Kentucky Marital Status

Kentucky Marital Status

Marriage Rates

49.7%

Overall Marriage Rate

51.4%

Male Marriage Rate

48.2%

Female Marriage Rate

Kentucky Married by Age and Sex

Kentucky Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35To44.

Kentucky Marital Status by Race

Kentucky Veterans

Kentucky Veterans by War

289,837

Number of Veterans

268,815

Male Veterans

21,022

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam105,805
First Gulf War56,326
Second Gulf War42,630
Korea25,959
World War II14,003

Kentucky Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
35 to 5474,930
65 to 7472,283
55 to 6459,528
75+59,302
18 to 3423,794

Kentucky Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White259,3238.62%
Black24,5479.53%
Hispanic4,0444.57%
2 or More3,5748.52%
Indian93513.39%
Other6272.48%
Asian5961.42%
Hawaiian23514.37%

Kentucky Veterans by Education

8.65%

Veteran Poverty Rate

32.73%

Veteran Disability Rate

Kentucky Employment Status

Kentucky Employment by Age

59.4%

Labor Force Participation

54.5%

Employment Rate

7.6%

Unemployment Rate

Kentucky Employment by Race

Kentucky Employment by Education

Kentucky Nativity

Kentucky Citizenship Status

Data Sources
  1. Kentucky State Data Center
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)