Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Kentucky number rises 10% in census
By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Northern Kentucky's growth helped fuel a statewide population boom that saw the number of people living in Kentucky increase by nearly 10 percent over the last decade, according to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Tuesday.
The 2000 census is a stark contrast to the 1990 Census, when Kentucky grew by less than 1 percent.
Most of the state's growth came in the so-called Golden Triangle, the urban and suburban areas of Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky.
Led by Spencer County outside of Louisville, which grew by 73 percent, seven counties in the Golden Triangle, including three in Northern Kentucky Boone, Gallatin and Grant - grew by at least a third.
Kenton and Campbell counties also grew by 6.6 and 5.7 percent respectively.
The Golden Triangle did very well in the census, said demographer Ron Crouch, who heads the State Data Center at the University of Louisville.
If you're near an interstate highway or an urban area in Kentucky, you probably saw growth in the last 10 years, Mr. Crouch said Tuesday.
The challenge for those areas, Mr. Crouch said: strong planning and zoning to handle continued growth and attention to improving infrastructure such as highways and sewer and water systems.
The growth is being pushed by strong economies in the communities within the Golden Triangle and an overall migration into the South, he said.
Meanwhile, declines came in the mountain counties and coalfield communities of Eastern Kentucky, Mr. Crouch said.
Of the 10 counties losing the greatest percentage of population, seven are in Eastern Kentucky. Cutbacks in the coal industry over the last 10 years are part of the reason for the declines, Mr. Crouch said.
The Appalachian counties of Eastern Kentucky lost 20 to 25 percent of their youth population the last 10 years, he said. That's a serious out-migration, but anyway you look at it those communities don't have the roads for growth or the industry or jobs to keep young people at home.
When it comes to the state's racial makeup, 90 percent of the state's residents described themselves as white, down 2 percentage points
Just over 7 percent described themselves as black, but the number of African-Americans under the age of 18 grew by 9 percent, Mr. Crouch said.
The number of Hispanics doubled to 1.5 percent, with most of the 60,000 Hispanics living in Fayette and Jefferson counties, he said.
That number is probably slightly understated because many Hispanics come into Kentucky for farm and migrant work and do not list permanent addresses or take part in the census counts, Mr. Crouch said.
Other state trends and numbers revealed:
Lexington is the state's largest city, with 260,512 residents - about 4,000 more that Louisville, which had long held the distinction. (Lexington and Fayette County are joined in a unified government.)
But the glory for Lexington won't last long. Louisville and Jefferson County are in the process of completing a voter-approved merger, which will push the population of Louisville to about 570,000.
For the first time, Kentucky's population topped 4 million.
The number of seats Kentucky has in the U.S. House will remain at six.
Robertson County, about an hour southeast of Northern Kentucky, remains Kentucky's smallest county with just 2,266 residents.
Officials in Bowling Green in fast-growing Warren County in Western Kentucky had hoped to have the city reach the 50,000 population mark. But it fell just 704 people short.
Cities of 50,000 and more are entitled to additional money from the federal government because they are considered metropolitan areas.
We came close, but we didn't kind of make it and that's a little disappointing, said Kentucky House Speaker Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat.
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