Whatever your interest or passion, we invite you to use this guide to help you plan your stay in Kentucky.
Explore the many multicultural tourism opportunities in Kentucky, learning about the state’s diverse cultural, heritage and travel attractions in this guide.
Learn about Kentucky's natural diversity and beauty. Come explore the wonder of the Commonwealth's four major regions.

Interesting Facts about Kentucky

Expand your knowledge of the Bluegrass State with these Kentucky facts

There’s a lot more to Kentucky than most people know. These interesting facts about Kentucky provide insight into the traditions and charm of the Bluegrass State.

State Capital of Kentucky

Cardinal - KY State BirdFrankfort became the state capital of Kentucky in 1792 after pledging more manpower toward the construction of a statehouse than any other city. During the Civil War, Frankfort was the only Union capital occupied by Confederate troops.

Frankfort is located astride a double curve in the Kentucky River in the central portion of the state and the Kentucky capital city is known for having one of the most beautiful capital buildings in the country. Frankfort’s population is slightly less than 30,000.

Symbols & Traditions

Learn interesting facts about Kentucky songs, animals, flowers and the flag.

Economy

Kentucky's Gross State Product (GSP) during the latest reporting cycle was $156 billion. The largest industry groups, based on their contribution to the total state gross product are: manufacturing, services, government, insurance and real estate, retail trade, transportation and public utilities, wholesale trade, construction, mining, farming and agricultural services, forestry, and fisheries. For more information, please visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development web site.

Agriculture

Kentucky had 85,000 farms in 2011, according to the Kentucky field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Kentucky farm size averaged 164 acres.

Horses were the leading source of farm income for Kentucky farmers, followed by broilers(chickens), cattle, tobacco, soybeans and corn. Kentucky is home to some of the world's leading thoroughbred farms and thoroughbred auctions as well as prestigious events such as the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show and top horse museums.

Kentucky still leads the nation in burley tobacco production, even though the federal tobacco price support program was discontinued in 2005. The state is second in the U.S. in total tobacco production and is in the top 20 in corn, soybeans, winter wheat, hay, barley and sorghum.

Kentucky is the leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River and is eighth in the nation overall. Kentucky is seventh in broilers and in the top 20 in goats, dairy cows, swine and chickens other than commercial broilers. For more information about Kentucky agriculture, visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture web site.

Geography

Located in the south central United States along the west side of the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky ranks 37th in land size, with 39,732 square miles (102,907 square kilometers). The Commonwealth is bordered by seven states: Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois. The Ohio River flows 664 miles (1,068 kilometers) along the northern and western borders of the state. Kentucky's highest point is Black Mountain in Harlan County, 4,145 feet (1,264 meters) above sea level; its lowest point, the Mississippi River in Fulton County, 257 feet (78 meters) above sea level.

Natural Resources

Kentucky has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska. The numerous rivers and water impoundments provide 1,100 commercially navigable miles (1,770 kilometers).

Kentucky has 12.7 million acres of commercial forest land - 50% of the state's land area. The main species of trees are white oak, red oak, walnut, yellow poplar, beech, sugar maple, white ash and hickory. Kentucky ranks third among hardwood producing states.

The total value of Kentucky's mineral production in 1999 was $3.8 billion. Principal minerals and by-products produced in order of value are coal, crushed stone, natural gas and petroleum. Kentucky is the nation's third largest coal producer - 152.4 million tons in 1996. For more information, please visit the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet web site.

Population

In 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kentucky's population was 4,269,245. The largest cities are listed below:

  • Louisville-Jefferson County Metro 1,556,429
  • Owensboro 55,459
  • Covington 42,235
  • Frankfort 27,322
  • Richmond 32,895
  • Paducah 25,521
  • Lexington-Fayette County 557,224
  • Bowling Green 55,097
  • Hopkinsville 32,076
  • Henderson 27,933
  • Jeffersontown 26,226

Want more Kentucky facts? Visit our Famous Kentuckians page to learn about well-known Kentucky natives and residents.

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