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10 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky

In this article, we will take a look at the 10 fastest growing cities in Kentucky. If you want to skip our discussion on the state's economy, you can go directly to the 5 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky.

Kentucky is bordered by rivers along most of its boundaries, except for its southern border with Tennessee, which stretches nearly 425 miles. The state has a mountainous border with Virginia, with the Tug and Big Sandy Rivers acting as natural dividers from West Virginia. To the north, Kentucky meets Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, while the Mississippi River marks its southwestern boundary with Missouri.

Kentucky's gross domestic product (GDP) has experienced a 137.98% growth over the past two decades, increasing from $109 billion in 1998 to $260 billion by 2022. The agricultural sector makes up approximately 1.8% of the state’s GDP and has exhibited a gradual decline over recent years. Despite this trend, the influence of agriculture on local and regional economies remains substantial. According to a 2022 study conducted by the UK College of Agriculture, researchers discovered that in 2019, agriculture had a significant economic impact on Kentucky. The total output attributed to agriculture amounted to $49.6 billion, supporting 271,700 jobs and generating $10.3 billion in labor income.

Similarly, in 2021, Kentucky's private sector announced a historic $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments. These initiatives are projected to generate over 18,000 full-time jobs in the years ahead. This momentum carried forward into 2022, as evidenced by 248 new-location and expansion announcements. These initiatives represent nearly $10.5 billion in new investment. Alongside job creation, there has also been an increase in wages across the state. In 2022, the average incentivized hourly wage reached $26.78 before benefits. This represents an 11.5% increase compared to the previous year. The expansion in the state's economy is one of the reasons why many people are moving to Kentucky.

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A significant portion of Kentucky's budget comes from federal government contributions. According to the Kentucky Annual Economic Report, prior to the pandemic, approximately 27.8% of state and local revenue was contributed from federal sources. This was higher than the US average of about 18.7%. This reliance on federal funding increased during the pandemic, reaching about 32.2% in 2020, higher than the national average of 21.3%.

Kentucky's employment landscape is driven by the service sector, including fields such as healthcare, education, food services, and hospitality. As of November 2023, Kentucky's nonfarm civilian workforce totaled 2,036,638 individuals, with 87,245 people classified as unemployed. The state is home to several prominent businesses, including Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHDN), and Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM).

Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) is an American health insurance company based in Louisville, Kentucky. The company offers a range of services, including medical, dental, and vision plans, as well as life insurance. As one of the nation's largest healthcare providers, Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) provides affordable options and personalized support to various consumer segments. The company's workforce exceeds 60,000 employees.

Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHDN) has grown from a single racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, to a publicly traded corporation operating multiple racetracks, casinos, and an online wagering platform across several American states. The company has a popular horse racing complex located in south Louisville, Kentucky. Established in 1875, the site is known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby, an iconic event in the world of horse racing. Throughout the year, Churchill Downs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHDN) conducts horse racing across three race meets in Spring, September, and Fall. Spanning 175 acres, the racetrack features a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven-furlong turf racecourse. Behind the scenes, the backside barns can accommodate over 1,400 horses annually. Churchill Downs Racetrack has been synonymous with thoroughbred racing, the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Oaks since its inception.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), formerly known as Tricon Global Restaurants, became one of the world's largest restaurant companies following its spin-off from PepsiCo in 1997. Operating across more than 155 countries and territories, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) has a global network of over 55,000 restaurants run by approximately 1,500 franchisees. Key brands under its umbrella include KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, all of which hold leading positions in the fried chicken, pizza, and Mexican food segments, respectively. As of 2022, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) employed 36,000 individuals worldwide. The management shared an update regarding the company's operations in its Q4 2023 earnings call:

Turning to 2023, it was a remarkable year for Yum! Brands as we crossed the $60 billion system sales threshold and exceeded all aspects of our long-term growth algorithm. Despite facing numerous challenges around the world, our incredible teams delivered another exceptional year of growth across our business. We set an industry development record for the third straight year. We made massive strides in scaling our proprietary digital and AI-driven ecosystem, and we continued to build a talent base that I believe is the best in the industry.

We delivered 6% unit growth, 10% system sales growth, and 12% core operating profit growth. We entered 2024 having opened just shy of 10, 000 net new restaurants over the past three years and are well on our way to reaching 60, 000 restaurants this year. This growth would not be possible were not for our world-class franchise partners who continue to deploy their own capital based on their confidence to invest behind the long-term potential of our brand. Along with the record-breaking success we’ve had on development, our digital strategy has helped propel top-line results and improve bottom line profits. Digital sales approached $30 billion in 2023, up 22% year-over-year, with mix now exceeding 45%. At the same time, we have accelerated the deployment of our proprietary technologies to optimize back-of-house operations and make it easier to run our restaurants."

10 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky
10 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky

Our Methodology

We’ve compiled a list of the 15 fastest growing cities in Kentucky using population estimates from the US Census Bureau. These cities have been ranked in ascending order based on the percentage growth in population from 2010 to 2020.

You can also check out the

15 Fastest Growing Metro Areas in the US here.

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10 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky

10. Francisville

Change in Population: 28.60%

2010 to 2020 Population Increase: 2,215

Francisville is situated in North Kentucky within Boone County. In 2021, Francisville, KY, recorded a median age of 39.8 years and a median household income of $137,422. Over the span of just one year, from 2020 to 2021, Francisville experienced a 5.97% rise in its population. Furthermore, the median household income rose from $123,338 to $137,422, reflecting an 11.4% increase.

9. Shelbyville

Change in Population: 28.90%

2010 to 2020 Population Increase: 3,879

Located in the Kentucky Derby Region, Shelbyville sits 30 miles from Louisville and 20 miles from the state capital, Frankfort. It is Shelby County's seat. Shelbyville offers a blend of agriculture, business, and industry. The city is also known as the "Saddlebred Capital of the World" and hosts the annual Shelbyville Horse Show, a prestigious event in the realm of horse breeding. Shelbyville is also home to two popular distilleries, Jeptha Creed Distillery and Bulleit. Jeptha Creed started operations in 2017 and makes bourbon, vodka, and moonshine. Meanwhile, Bulleit is a $140 million distillery that was built by international beverage company Diageo in 2018.

8. La Grange

Change in Population: 29.70%

2010 to 2020 Population Increase: 2,306

La Grange is located in Oldham County, Kentucky. Over a period of 10 years, La Grange recorded a population increase of 29.70%, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Kentucky. The city experiences a subtropical climate, marked by hot and humid summers, while winters tend to range from mild to cool. La Grange is also home to four correctional facilities overseen by the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

7. Shepherdsville

Change in Population: 31.30%

2010 to 2020 Population Increase: 3,388

Shepherdsville is situated on the Salt River in Bullitt County. In 2021, Shepherdsville, KY, recorded a median age of 35.5 years and a median household income of $62,055. From 2020 to 2021, the population of Shepherdsville experienced growth, rising from 13,757 to 13,918 residents, marking a 1.17% increase. However, during the same period, there was a decline in the median household income from $64,798 to $62,055, representing a decline of 4.23%. Shepherdsville is among the top 10 fastest growing cities in Kentucky.

6. Georgetown

Change in Population: 36.00%

2010 to 2020 Population Increase: 9,818

Georgetown, situated in Scott County, has a population of 37,086 residents according to the 2020 census. Scott County was the fastest growing county in 2020. As both the County Seat and Kentucky's sixth-largest city by population, Georgetown holds a central position within the state. Georgetown is home to Georgetown College, a prestigious private liberal arts institution. In the early 1900s, the city transitioned from its agricultural roots to a diversified economy comprising manufacturing, small businesses, and farming. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky also started operations in the city in 1988. The plant specializes in the production of several automobile models, including the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Lexus ES, and RAV4 Hybrid.

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Disclosure: None. 10 Fastest Growing Cities in Kentucky is originally published on Insider Monkey.