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Kentucky Counties
Kentucky County map
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Kentucky Counties

Kentucky has one hundred and twenty counties, third in the US behind Texas's (254) and Georgia's (159.) Washington County was the first county formed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky when it reached statehood, and the sixteenth county formed

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Kentucky Counties: History and Information

Find a brief history of Kentucky CountiesBrief history of Kentucky Counties: Flags of Our Nation

This is a list of the one hundred and twenty (120) counties in the state of Kentucky. Despite ranking 37th in size by area, Kentucky has 120 counties; depending on definitions, this is either third or fourth among US states. Texas has 254 counties and Georgia 159; Virginia has only 95 counties, but also has 38 independent cities that are not part of any county and deal directly with the state government, giving that state 133 county-level administrative units. The original motivation for having so many counties was to ensure that residents in the days of poor roads and horseback travel could make a round trip from their home to the county seat and back in a single day, as well as being able to travel from one county seat to the next in the same fashion. Later, however, politics began to play a part, with citizens who disagreed with the present county government simply petitioning the state to create a new county.

The 1891 Kentucky Constitution placed stricter limits on county creation, stipulating that a new county:

must have a land area of at least 400 square miles (1036 km2);
must have a population of at least 12,000 people;
must not by its creation reduce the land area of an existing county to less than 400 square miles;
must not by its creation reduce the population of an existing county to fewer than 12,000 people;
must not create a county boundary line that passes within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of an existing county seat.

These regulations have reined in the proliferation of counties in Kentucky. Since the 1891 Constitution, only McCreary County has been created.

Because today's largest county by area, Pike County, is 788 square miles (2,041 km2), it is now impossible to create a new county from a single existing county under the current constitution. Any county to be created in this manner will necessarily reduce the land area of the old county to less than 400 square miles (1,000 km2). It is still possible to form a new county from portions of more than one existing county; McCreary County was formed in this manner.

Find a brief history of Kentucky Counties
County 2000
Population
Square
Miles
County Seat Created
Adair County 17,244 407 Columbia 1802
Allen County 17,800 346 Scottsville 1815
Anderson County 19,111 203 Lawrenceburg 1827
Ballard County 8,286 251 Wickliffe 1842
Barren County 38,033 491 Glasgow 1799
Bath County 11,085 279 Owingsville 1811
Bell County 30,060 361 Pineville 1867
Boone County 85,991 246 Burlington 1799
Bourbon County 19,360 291 Paris 1786
Boyd County 49,752 160 Catlettsburg 1860
Boyle County 27,697 182 Danville 1842
Bracken County 8,279 203 Brooksville 1797
Breathitt County 16,100 495 Jackson 1839
Breckinridge County 18,648 572 Hardinsburg 1800
Bullitt County 61,236 299 Shepherdsville 1797
Butler County 13,010 428 Morgantown 1810
Caldwell County 13,060 347 Princeton 1809
Calloway County 34,177 386 Murray 1821
Campbell County 88,616 152 Newport 1795
Carlisle County 5,351 192 Bardwell 1886
Carroll County 10,155 130 Carrollton 1838
Carter County 26,889 411 Grayson 1838
Casey County 15,447 446 Liberty 1807
Christian County 72,265 721 Hopkinsville 1797
Clark County 33,144 254 Winchester 1793
Clay County 24,556 471 Manchester 1807
Clinton County 9,634 198 Albany 1836
Crittenden County 9,384 362 Marion 1842
Cumberland County 7,147 306 Burkesville 1799
Daviess County 91,545 462 Owensboro 1815
Edmonson County 11,644 303 Brownsville 1825
Elliott County 6,748 234 Sandy Hook 1869
Estill County 15,307 254 Irvine 1808
Fayette County 260,512 284 Lexington 1780
Fleming County 13,792 351 Flemingsburg 1798
Floyd County 42,441 394 Prestonsburg 1800
Franklin County 47,687 210 Frankfort 1795
Fulton County 7,752 209 Hickman 1845
Gallatin County 7,870 99 Warsaw 1799
Garrard County 14,792 231 Lancaster 1797
Grant County 22,384 260 Williamstown 1820
Graves County 37,028 556 Mayfield 1824
Grayson County 24,053 504 Leitchfield 1810
Green County 11,518 289 Greensburg 1793
Greenup County 36,891 346 Greenup 1804
Hancock County 8,392 189 Hawesville 1829
Hardin County 94,174 628 Elizabethtown 1793
Harlan County 33,202 467 Harlan 1819
Harrison County 17,983 310 Cynthiana 1794
Hart County 17,445 416 Munfordville 1819
Henderson County 44,829 440 Henderson 1799
Henry County 15,060 289 New Castle 1799
Hickman County 5,262 244 Clinton 1822
Hopkins County 46,519 551 Madisonville 1807
Jackson County 13,495 346 McKee 1858
Jefferson County 693,604 385 Louisville 1780
Jessamine County 39,041 173 Nicholasville 1799
Johnson County 23,445 262 Paintsville 1843
Kenton County 151,464 163 Independence 1840
Knott County 17,649 352 Hindman 1884
Knox County 31,795 388 Barbourville 1800
LaRue County 13,373 263 Hodgenville 1843
Laurel County 52,715 436 London 1826
Lawrence County 15,569 419 Louisa 1822
Lee County 7,916 210 Beattyville 1870
Leslie County 12,401 404 Hyden 1878
Letcher County 25,277 339 Whitesburg 1842
Lewis County 14,092 484 Vanceburg 1807
Lincoln County 23,361 337 Stanford 1780
Livingston County 9,804 316 Smithland 1799
Logan County 26,573 556 Russellville 1792
Lyon County 8,080 216 Eddyville 1854
Madison County 70,872 441 Richmond 1786
Magoffin County 13,332 310 Salyersville 1860
Marion County 18,212 347 Lebanon 1834
Marshall County 30,125 305 Benton 1842
Martin County 12,578 231 Inez 1870
Mason County 16,800 241 Maysville 1789
McCracken County 65,514 251 Paducah 1825
McCreary County 17,080 428 Whitley City 1912
McLean County 9,938 254 Calhoun 1854
Meade County 26,349 308 Brandenburg 1824
Menifee County 6,556 204 Frenchburg 1869
Mercer County 20,817 251 Harrodsburg 1786
Metcalfe County 10,037 291 Edmonton 1860
Monroe County 11,756 331 Tompkinsville 1820
Montgomery County 22,554 199 Mount Sterling 1797
Morgan County 13,948 381 West Liberty 1823
Muhlenberg County 31,839 475 Greenville 1799
Nelson County 37,477 423 Bardstown 1785
Nicholas County 6,813 197 Carlisle 1800
Ohio County 22,916 594 Hartford 1799
Oldham County 46,178 189 La Grange 1824
Owen County 10,547 352 Owenton 1819
Owsley County 4,858 198 Booneville 1843
Pendleton County 14,390 280 Falmouth 1799
Perry County 29,390 342 Hazard 1821
Pike County 68,736 788 Pikeville 1822
Powell County 13,237 180 Stanton 1852
Pulaski County 56,217 662 Somerset 1799
Robertson County 2,266 100 Mount Olivet 1867
Rockcastle County 16,582 318 Mount Vernon 1810
Rowan County 22,094 281 Morehead 1856
Russell County 16,315 254 Jamestown 1826
Scott County 33,061 285 Georgetown 1792
Shelby County 33,337 384 Shelbyville 1792
Simpson County 16,405 236 Franklin 1819
Spencer County 11,766 186 Taylorsville 1824
Taylor County 22,927 270 Campbellsville 1848
Todd County 11,971 376 Elkton 1820
Trigg County 12,597 443 Cadiz 1820
Trimble County 8,125 149 Bedford 1837
Union County 15,637 345 Morganfield 1811
Warren County 92,522 545 Bowling Green 1797
Washington County 10,916 301 Springfield 1792
Wayne County 19,923 459 Monticello 1801
Webster County 14,120 335 Dixon 1860
Whitley County 35,865 440 Williamsburg
Wolfe County 7,065 223 Campton 1860
Woodford County 23,208 191 Versailles 1789
County Resources
US Counties
Names given the counties, our most locally based jurisdictions, reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"
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