Fastest-growing counties in Kentucky

Written by:
June 10, 2022
Chris Watson // Wikicommons

Fastest-growing counties in Kentucky

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Kentucky. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Kentucky using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +279
--- #1,272 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.1%
--- #55 among counties in Kentucky, #1,320 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 24,941
--- #45 largest county in Kentucky, #1,606 largest county nationwide
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Washington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +310
--- #1,253 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.6%
--- #45 among counties in Kentucky, #1,101 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,027
--- #91 largest county in Kentucky, #2,278 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Lyon County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +366
--- #1,223 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.4%
--- #34 among counties in Kentucky, #884 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,680
--- #106 largest county in Kentucky, #2,513 largest county nationwide
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Hunter Hawley // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Breckinridge County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +373
--- #1,218 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.9%
--- #49 among counties in Kentucky, #1,205 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,432
--- #55 largest county in Kentucky, #1,796 largest county nationwide
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Monroe County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +375
--- #1,216 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.4%
--- #39 among counties in Kentucky, #999 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,338
--- #93 largest county in Kentucky, #2,325 largest county nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Nicholas County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +402
--- #1,204 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.6%
--- #27 among counties in Kentucky, #758 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,537
--- #110 largest county in Kentucky, #2,616 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Russell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +426
--- #1,191 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.4%
--- #47 among counties in Kentucky, #1,127 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,991
--- #65 largest county in Kentucky, #1,916 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Lawrence County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +433
--- #1,186 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.7%
--- #44 among counties in Kentucky, #1,090 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 16,293
--- #69 largest county in Kentucky, #2,017 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Owen County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +437
--- #1,185 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.0%
--- #36 among counties in Kentucky, #923 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,278
--- #95 largest county in Kentucky, #2,332 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Powell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +516
--- #1,146 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.1%
--- #35 among counties in Kentucky, #918 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 13,129
--- #82 largest county in Kentucky, #2,205 largest county nationwide

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Ryan Emmick // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Hancock County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +530
--- #1,142 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.2%
--- #19 among counties in Kentucky, #687 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,095
--- #102 largest county in Kentucky, #2,483 largest county nationwide
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Bedford // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Logan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +597
--- #1,122 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.2%
--- #48 among counties in Kentucky, #1,149 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 27,432
--- #39 largest county in Kentucky, #1,512 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Allen County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +632
--- #1,109 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.2%
--- #40 among counties in Kentucky, #1,029 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,588
--- #54 largest county in Kentucky, #1,784 largest county nationwide
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Huw Williams (Huwmanbeing) // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Grayson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +674
--- #1,099 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.6%
--- #46 among counties in Kentucky, #1,105 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,420
--- #43 largest county in Kentucky, #1,551 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Larue County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +674
--- #1,099 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.7%
--- #32 among counties in Kentucky, #852 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,867
--- #74 largest county in Kentucky, #2,091 largest county nationwide

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FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Fleming County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +734
--- #1,076 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.1%
--- #29 among counties in Kentucky, #806 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 15,082
--- #73 largest county in Kentucky, #2,080 largest county nationwide
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No machine-readable author provided. Blinutne assumed (based on copyright claims). // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Whitley County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,075
--- #983 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.0%
--- #43 among counties in Kentucky, #1,056 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 36,712
--- #28 largest county in Kentucky, #1,264 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Hart County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,089
--- #976 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.0%
--- #23 among counties in Kentucky, #722 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,288
--- #62 largest county in Kentucky, #1,858 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Bath County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,159
--- #967 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.0%
--- #11 among counties in Kentucky, #420 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,750
--- #86 largest county in Kentucky, #2,226 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Mercer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,310
--- #946 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.1%
--- #21 among counties in Kentucky, #693 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 22,641
--- #52 largest county in Kentucky, #1,691 largest county nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Rowan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,329
--- #942 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.7%
--- #25 among counties in Kentucky, #751 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 24,662
--- #46 largest county in Kentucky, #1,619 largest county nationwide
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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Clark County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,359
--- #935 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.8%
--- #37 among counties in Kentucky, #950 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 36,972
--- #27 largest county in Kentucky, #1,252 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Meade County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,401
--- #928 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.9%
--- #30 among counties in Kentucky, #834 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 30,003
--- #36 largest county in Kentucky, #1,434 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Taylor County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,511
--- #901 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.2%
--- #20 among counties in Kentucky, #688 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,023
--- #44 largest county in Kentucky, #1,557 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Montgomery County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,615
--- #881 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.1%
--- #22 among counties in Kentucky, #704 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 28,114
--- #38 largest county in Kentucky, #1,492 largest county nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Woodford County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,932
--- #828 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.7%
--- #14 among counties in Kentucky, #582 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,871
--- #40 largest county in Kentucky, #1,528 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Pulaski County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,971
--- #820 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.1%
--- #41 among counties in Kentucky, #1,040 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 65,034
--- #14 largest county in Kentucky, #829 largest county nationwide
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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Boyle County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,182
--- #794 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.7%
--- #15 among counties in Kentucky, #585 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 30,614
--- #34 largest county in Kentucky, #1,418 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Franklin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,256
--- #790 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.6%
--- #33 among counties in Kentucky, #867 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 51,541
--- #19 largest county in Kentucky, #975 largest county nationwide
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Bfreas // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Simpson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,267
--- #787 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +13.1%
--- #6 among counties in Kentucky, #283 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,594
--- #58 largest county in Kentucky, #1,840 largest county nationwide

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#20. McCracken County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,310
--- #781 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.5%
--- #38 among counties in Kentucky, #984 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 67,875
--- #12 largest county in Kentucky, #787 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Barren County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,312
--- #780 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.5%
--- #28 among counties in Kentucky, #773 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 44,485
--- #25 largest county in Kentucky, #1,086 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Spencer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,429
--- #758 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +14.2%
--- #5 among counties in Kentucky, #251 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,490
--- #61 largest county in Kentucky, #1,849 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Anderson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,431
--- #757 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +11.3%
--- #9 among counties in Kentucky, #353 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,852
--- #49 largest county in Kentucky, #1,644 largest county nationwide
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Rdikeman // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Campbell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,740
--- #740 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.0%
--- #42 among counties in Kentucky, #1,053 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 93,076
--- #8 largest county in Kentucky, #645 largest county nationwide

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Chris Light // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Nelson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,301
--- #678 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.6%
--- #16 among counties in Kentucky, #592 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 46,738
--- #22 largest county in Kentucky, #1,038 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Laurel County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,764
--- #641 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.4%
--- #18 among counties in Kentucky, #674 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 62,613
--- #15 largest county in Kentucky, #851 largest county nationwide
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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Jessamine County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,405
--- #598 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.1%
--- #12 among counties in Kentucky, #477 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 52,991
--- #18 largest county in Kentucky, #949 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Hardin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +5,159
--- #560 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.9%
--- #31 among counties in Kentucky, #836 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 110,702
--- #6 largest county in Kentucky, #554 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Shelby County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +5,991
--- #537 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +14.2%
--- #4 among counties in Kentucky, #250 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 48,065
--- #21 largest county in Kentucky, #1,020 largest county nationwide

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Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Daviess County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +6,656
--- #515 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.9%
--- #17 among counties in Kentucky, #642 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 103,312
--- #7 largest county in Kentucky, #593 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Oldham County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +7,291
--- #504 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.1%
--- #7 among counties in Kentucky, #320 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 67,607
--- #13 largest county in Kentucky, #792 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Bullitt County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +7,898
--- #487 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.6%
--- #10 among counties in Kentucky, #387 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 82,217
--- #10 largest county in Kentucky, #695 largest county nationwide
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Greg5030 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Kenton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,344
--- #445 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.9%
--- #24 among counties in Kentucky, #734 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 169,064
--- #3 largest county in Kentucky, #394 largest county nationwide
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FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Madison County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,785
--- #429 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +11.8%
--- #8 among counties in Kentucky, #333 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 92,701
--- #9 largest county in Kentucky, #648 largest county nationwide

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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Scott County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,982
--- #423 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +21.2%
--- #1 among counties in Kentucky, #96 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 57,155
--- #17 largest county in Kentucky, #911 largest county nationwide
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W.marsh // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Boone County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +17,157
--- #318 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +14.4%
--- #3 among counties in Kentucky, #240 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 135,968
--- #4 largest county in Kentucky, #478 largest county nationwide
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OPMaster // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Warren County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +20,762
--- #283 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +18.2%
--- #2 among counties in Kentucky, #144 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 134,554
--- #5 largest county in Kentucky, #481 largest county nationwide
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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Fayette County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +26,767
--- #240 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.0%
--- #13 among counties in Kentucky, #480 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 322,570
--- #2 largest county in Kentucky, #223 largest county nationwide
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Chris Watson // Wikicommons

#1. Jefferson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +41,873
--- #156 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.7%
--- #26 among counties in Kentucky, #755 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 782,969
--- #1 largest county in Kentucky, #83 largest county nationwide

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