2011 Population estimate 4,369,356 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Kentucky boasts some of America’s finest communities. Earlier this year, Bardstown and Murray were recognized by Rand McNally and USA Today as the Most Beautiful Small City in America and the Friendliest City in America, respectively.
The Bluegrass State takes pride in its diverse metropolitan and micropolitan areas, as well as an abundance of beautiful suburban and rural areas. Kentucky is one of the nation’s top 10 states for number of farms.
Top 5 cities by population: Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro, Bowling Green and Covington.
Kentucky has more miles of waterways than any other state except Alaska. The numerous rivers and water impoundments provide 1,100 commercially navigable miles (1,770 kilometers).
Kentucky has 12.7 million acres of commercial forest land - 50 percent of the state’s land area. Kentucky ranks third among hardwood producing states.
Kentucky’s Symbols and Traditions
Statehood: June 1, 1792
State Capital: Frankfort
State Motto: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” State Bird: Cardinal
State Flower: Goldenrod
State Tree: Tulip Poplar
State Musical Instrument: Appalachian Dulcimer
State Song: “My Old Kentucky Home”
State Bluegrass Song: “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
Kentucky Business Climate and Industry Facts
- Kentucky’s percentage employment increase over the last year was the 7th highest in the U.S. and the highest among Kentucky’s competitor states (June 2012).
- Business Facilities ranks Kentucky #2 in automotive strength (2012).
- Kentucky’s 443 motor vehicle-related establishments, which include four major auto assembly plants (Ford , Toyota and GM), employ more than 69,000 people.
- Kentucky is home to more than 420 foreign- owned companies from nearly 30 nations, employing more than 75,800 people. 156 of those are Japanese-owned, employing 34,888 people.181 of those are European-owned, employing 25,943 people.
- The Tax Foundation ranks Kentucky as the 7th most business-friendly state in the country for new firms.
- CNBC ranks Kentucky’s business costs the lowest in the nation and 4th lowest in cost of living.
- Kentucky’s industrial power costs are lower than any other state east of the Mississippi River (4th nationally) and are more than 25 percent less than the national average.
- Business Facilities ranks Kentucky’s labor costs 8th lowest in the U.S. (2012).
- Tourism in Kentucky generates an $11.7 billion economic impact and supports 170,000 jobs.
There's Only One Kentucky
There’s only one Horse Capital of the World, only one Birthplace of Lincoln, only one 2012 Vice Presidential Debate and there’s only one place to find them all. Several “only ones” are close enough to visit during your trip to Central Kentucky:
The historic steamer Belle of Louisville, built in 1914, is the oldest operating steam-driven river paddle wheeler in the country.
Experience history-in-the-making as you stroll through the factory where world-famous Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made.
The Muhammad Ali Center, in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, carries on his legacy and inspires the exploration of the greatness within one’s self.
Federal Hill, in Bardstown, was the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s ballad, “My Old Kentucky Home,” our state song. It is now preserved as My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
While touring along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries, visitors will be treated to a host of unique and engaging experiences related to America’s native spirit.
The Kentucky Derby Museum, on the grounds of Churchill Downs in Louisville, includes two floors of interactive, horse racing-related exhibits, a 360-degree high-definition video presentation and a walking tour of Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington, is a 1,224-acre park and working horse farm dedicated to “man’s relationship with the horse.” More than 40 breeds are on display.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, near Harrodsburg, is America’s largest restored Shaker community, with 34 carefully restored buildings and 3,000 acres of preserved farmland.
And did you know…
Cumberland Falls is one of only two places in the world to see a rare nighttime rainbow called a moonbow.
All thoroughbred horses share the same birthday, January 1.
Louisville native Muhammad Ali often jogged the track at Churchill Downs as part of his training regimen in the early '60s.
The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the country. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave and was first promoted in 1816, making it the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York, is the first.
The great thoroughbred Man o’ War won all of his races except one. He lost to a horse named Upset.
Bluegrass is not really blue, it’s green. But in the spring bluegrass produces bluish-purple buds that, when seen in large fields, give a blue cast to the grass. Today Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State.
Both Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were born in Kentucky. They were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.
Kentucky-born Alben W. Barkley was the oldest United States Vice President when he assumed office in 1949. He was 71 years old.
Harland David Sanders perfected his world-famous fried chicken recipe at his restaurant in Corbin. Sanders was named a Kentucky Colonel in 1935.