10 Largest Cities In Kentucky

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the southern state of Kentucky has a total estimated population of 4.5 million. It ranks 26th in terms of population among all the U.S. states. With a total surface area of 40,409 square miles, Kentucky has a rather significant population density of 114 people per sq. mile. Since records began to be collected, the state's population has increased steadily every decade. However, the majority of the 20th century saw a net out-migration from Kentucky, and rural counties saw population declines while urban areas saw population increases. Though poverty is far more pervasive in the state's rural parts, it is interesting to note that the ratio of urban to rural residents in Kentucky remains pretty similar. Below is a list of the ten biggest cities in Kentucky in terms of population.

1. Louisville - 630,782 

Louisville, Kentucky
Skyline of Louisville, Kentucky.

The largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, Louisville, is located near the Falls of the Ohio in north-central Kentucky, adjacent to the Ohio River's border with Indiana. The consolidated city-county of Louisville, which covers an area of 397 square miles, has a population of 630,782. One of the oldest settlements west of the Appalachians Mountains, Louisville is the most historic and well-known city in Jefferson County. Named in honor of King Louis XVI of France, Louisville was discovered in 1778 by George Rogers Clark. He established the first European settlement in the area of present-day Louisville in 1778 on Corn Island.

Following a city-county merger in 2003, Louisville's boundaries have coincided with those of Jefferson County ever since. The Louisville/Jefferson County Louisville Metropolitan Government, sometimes known as Louisville Metro, is the full name of this combined city-county administration. The median household income in Louisville is $54,929, and for individuals, it is $32,187. The city is currently well-known for being the birthplace of boxer Muhammad Ali, the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the University of Louisville, and three of Kentucky's six Fortune 500 companies: Humana, Kindred Healthcare, and Yum!

2. Lexington- 327,924

Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky.

Lexington is the seat of Fayette County in Kentucky. It is the 58th largest city in the United States and the second-largest city in Kentucky, with a population of 327,924. Lexington's population has grown by 1.66% since the most recent census, and it is currently expanding at a rate of 0.82% each year. Lexington has a population density of 1,156 persons per square mile and a total area of about 286 square miles. The city of Lexington is home to the University of Kentucky and is also a significant regional economic and cultural hub. Horse paddocks ringed by white fences are a regular sight in this area, which is renowned for its horse breeding and for which Lexington claims the title of "horse capital of the world." In addition to the various equestrian-related activities, Lexington is home to a wide range of historical, natural, and cultural sites.

3. Bowling Green- 75,140

Bowling Green, Kentucky
Main streets running through the sleepy college town of Bowling Green.

Bowling Green is the seat of Warren County in Kentucky. It is the 526th largest city in the United States and the third-largest city in Kentucky, with a population of 75,140. Bowling Green's population has grown by 3.94% since the most recent census, and the city is currently expanding at a rate of 1.93% each year. Bowling Green, which covers more than 40 square miles, has a population density of 1,905 people per square mile. Bowling Green is a university town with lots of entertaining attractions and landmarks. It is well-known for its caves, Corvettes, and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Bowling Green's historic districts, national attractions, and underground activities provide a wealth of exciting adventures. But it is the truly lovely people who draw visitors back to this city in southern Kentucky.

4. Owensboro- 60,767

Tranquil scene at Western Kentucky Botanical Garden in Owensboro. Editorial credit: Taylor Bunner / Shutterstock.com

Owensboro is the seat of Daviess County, situated on a picturesque bend of the Ohio River in western Kentucky. It is the 705th largest city in the United States and the fourth-largest city in Kentucky with a population of 60,767. The population of Owensboro has grown by 0.97% since the most recent census. The city is currently expanding at a rate of 0.48% each year. Owensboro, which stretches over 22 square miles, has 2,964 residents per square mile. The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the only institution in the world devoted to the history and preservation of the history of the genre that started in western Kentucky, is located in Owensboro, the Bluegrass Capital of the World. Throughout the summer, there are numerous free entertainment opportunities for music enthusiasts. A bustling arts community and a wide variety of fantastically tasty, locally owned eateries make Owensboro the culinary and cultural center of western Kentucky.

5. Covington- 41,025 

Covington, Kentucky
Aerial View of Covington Kentucky and Downtown Cincinnati from Devou Park.

Across the Ohio River from Cincinnati's city center is the city of Covington, which is part of Kenton County in northern Kentucky. It is the 1086th largest city in the United States and the fifth largest city in Kentucky, with a projected population of 40,025. Covington's population has grown by 0.16% since the most recent census, and the city is currently expanding at a rate of 0.08% per year. Covington has a total area of over 13.5 square miles with a population density of 3,109 people per sq. mile. In addition to its downtown commercial district, which has a significant number of historic buildings, the Artists' Enterprise Center, and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington is widely recognized for its historic neighborhoods, including Licking-Riverside, MainStrasse Village, and Wallace Woods. Living in Covington is fantastic. It has a unique and vibrant urban vibe that is influenced by its people, architecture, old buildings, and charming streets.

6. Georgetown- 38,684

Aerial view of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Georgetown is the seat of Scott County north of Lexington in Northern Kentucky's Bluegrass region. It is the 1155th largest city in the United States and the sixth largest city in Kentucky with a population of 38,684. Georgetown's population has grown by 4.31% since the most recent census, and it is now rising at a rate of 2.11% each year. Georgetown has a population density of 2,322 people per sq. mile and covers an area of more than 17 square miles. When Rev. Elijah Craig founded it, it was initially known as Lebanon. In 1790, it was renamed in honor of President George Washington. It is the location of the private liberal arts college Georgetown College. In the 1980s, When Toyota established Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, the company's first fully owned U.S. facility, the city started to flourish. Georgetown is also known to be the actual birthplace of bourbon whiskey.

7. Richmond - 35,229

Richmond, Kentucky
Location of the Battle of Richmond during the Civil War in Richmond, Kentucky. 

Richmond is the county seat of Madison County in the Bluegrass region of northern Kentucky. It is the 1285th largest city in the United States and the 7th largest city in Kentucky, with a projected population of 35,229. Richmond's population has grown by 1.86% since the last census, and it is now rising at a rate of 0.92% each year. With a total area of nearly 21 square miles, Richmond has 1,733 inhabitants per square mile. Living in Richmond is wonderful. The neighborhood strongly emphasizes supporting small and local businesses and is particularly family oriented. Eastern Kentucky University, Madison County Public Library, and farmer's market are among the important institutions in the city. 

8. Florence- 32,346

Florence, Kentucky
Traveling south on Interstate 71 past Florence's iconic water tower landmark.

Florence is located in Boone County, 12 miles southwest of downtown Cincinnati. It is the eighth-largest city in Kentucky and the 1408th-largest city in the United States as of 2022, with an estimated population of 32,346. As of now, Florence is expanding at a 0.62% yearly rate, and since the last census, its population has grown by 1.25%. Florence has a total area of about 11 square miles with a population density of 3,032 people per sq. mile. Many towns in Florence are charming and safe places to live, ranking in the top 25 safest cities in Kentucky. Florence has a 56% lower violent crime rate than the national average. While offering a rural setting with a wide range of recreational options, such as golfing at Boonelink Golf Course, swimming at Florence Family Aquatic Center, and skating and biking at the local skate park, the city guarantees a variety of urban services and activities. Florence, which is home to the Florence Freedom minor league baseball team and Florence Nature Park, will appeal to tourists looking for a taste of rural Kentucky.

9. Elizabethtown- 31,966

Spectators walk in the streets with cars on display during the Cruisin' The Heartland 2021 car show in downtown Elizabethtown. Editorial credit: Brian Koellish / Shutterstock.com

Elizabethtown is the seat of Hardin County in north-central Kentucky. It is the 1430th largest city in the United States and the 9th largest city in Kentucky, with a projected population of 31,966 in 2022. Elizabethtown's population has grown by 1.82% since the most recent census, and it is currently expanding at a rate of 0.90% each year. Elizabethtown has a total area of roughly 27 square miles with a population density of 1,195 inhabitants per square mile. Elizabethtown is a thriving village that offers visitors a multitude of historical sites, recreational opportunities, green areas, and an insight into the Civil War

10. Nicholasville - 31,709

The serene countryside just outside Nicholasville, Kentucky.

The county seat of Jessamine County, Nicholasville rounds off this list with a population of 31,709. The city has rapidly grown over the years and currently is one of the biggest employers in the central Kentucky area. It also serves as the residence town for Lexington-area commuters. Nicholasville is famous for its Kentucky Wine and Vine Fest held every year. The festival is a favorite of wine lovers as it showcases some of the state's best wines made by both commercial manufacturers as well as amateur wine-makers.

Kentucky is a beautiful southern state with a rich history and fascinating culture. It is a place worth visiting because of all the things for which it is known. In Kentucky, one can find Both stunning natural scenery and well-known landmarks. 

30 Biggest Cities In Kentucky

Rank Name Population 
1 Louisville 630,782
2 Lexington 327,924
3 Bowling Green 75,140
4 Owensboro 60,767
5 Covington 41,025
6 Georgetown 38,684
7 Richmond 35,229
8 Florence 32,346
9 Elizabethtown 31,966
10 Nicholasville 31,709
11 Hopkinsville 31,100
12 Independence 29,460
13 Frankfort 29,218
14 Jeffersontown 28,850
15 Henderson 27,825
16 Paducah 27,559
17 Radcliff 23,312
18 Ashland 21,613
19 Erlanger 19,917
20 Mount Washington 19,884
21 Madisonville 19,532
22 Winchester 19,288
23 Shelbyville 17,930
24 Fort Thomas 17,660
25 Burlington 17,596
26 St. Matthews 17,546
27 Danville 17,438
28 Murray 17,221
29 Berea 15,935
30 Shively 15,710
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