Census data shows two cities are Kentucky’s fastest growing

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

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By Steve Bittenbender

The Center Square

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that people are moving to many of Kentucky’s most populous cities.

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The Vintage 2022 Population Estimates show that six of the Bluegrass State’s top 10 communities saw increases from the previous year. College towns saw the most significant gains.

Richmond’s population of 36,129 was a 3.5% increase from its population in July 2021. Home to Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond is 25 miles south of Lexington and the state’s seventh-largest by population.

Bowling Green, the state’s third largest city and location for Western Kentucky University, continued its growth spurt as the Census Bureau estimated the south central Kentucky city grew by 2.4% to 74,926.

Two Lexington suburbs saw modest increases. Nicholasville, the state’s 10th largest city, grew by 1.4% to 31,955, and the population in Georgetown, the sixth largest city, increased by 1.3% to 38,780.

Two Northern Kentucky cities, Covington (40,956) and Florence (32,618), each grew by less than a percentage point, according to the Census data. The data also determined Lexington (320,347), Owensboro (60,037) and Elizabethtown (31,892) had near-zero population growth for the year.

Only Louisville, the state’s most populous city, had a population decrease among Kentucky’s largest communities. Its population shrunk by more than 3,200 to 624,444 – a net loss of .5% from its 2021 estimate.

According to Census Bureau data, Louisville is the 27th largest city in the U.S.

Eastern Kentucky, meanwhile, continues to see its population shrink. According to Census data published by the Kentucky State Data Center, the 11 incorporated cities and towns with the highest rates of population loss were all in that region of the state. While that included five towns with fewer than 700 people, the list also included Pikeville, which lost more than 200 residents or 2.7% of its population.

Hazard was estimated to lose 129 people, a 2.5% decline that dipped its population to 4,999, and Morehead saw a 2.4% decrease that dropped its population to 6,734.