Kentucky Counties Map

Kentucky might not stand out on a map of the Southeastern United States, as it’s surrounded by other similarly sized states. But the state has some major claims to fame that have earned it recognition domestically and abroad. It’s the birthplace of Bluegrass music, the home of bourbon, and hosts some of the world’s most well-known horse races.

The State of Kentucky highlighted on the US map.
Kentucky on the US map

Although Kentucky isn’t especially large in size, it has 120 counties, which is more counties than most other states in the US. Originally, counties were sized this way to enable residents to be able to reach the county seat from their homes in a day. Later, smaller counties were established by residents who didn’t agree with the politics of their county government.

Below, we’ll look at a Kentucky Counties Map that details all of the state’s counties and their major cities. Then, we’ll dive into what makes some of the counties unique.

Map of Kentucky Counties

Below is a map of the 120 counties of Kentucky (you can click on the map to enlarge it and to see the major city in each county).

A color-coded map displays Kentucky's counties and its bordering states: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Kentucky Counties Map with cities

Interactive Map of Kentucky Counties

Click on any of the counties on the map to see its population, economic data, time zone, and zip code (the data will appear below the map). Data is sourced from the US Census 2021.

List of the Counties of Kentucky:

CountyPopulationPer sq. kmLargest City
Adair County18,83217.94Columbia
Allen County20,60423.1Scottsville
Anderson County23,64645.16Lawrenceburg
Ballard County7,81412.22La Center
Barren County44,27735.06Glasgow
Bath County12,68017.56Owingsville
Bell County24,67426.53Middlesborough
Boone County134,599211.01Florence
Bourbon County20,28127.03Paris
Boyd County48,447117.01Ashland
Boyle County30,46965.23Danville
Bracken County8,39415.99Augusta
Breathitt County13,65210.7Jackson
Breckinridge County20,34513.79Hardinsburg
Bullitt County81,729106.23Mount Washington
Butler County12,41311.25Morgantown
Caldwell County12,64114.16Princeton
Calloway County37,29137.39Murray
Campbell County93,023237.32Fort Thomas
Carlisle County4,8219.83Bardwell
Carroll County10,80832.43Carrollton
Carter County26,82025.29Grayson
Casey County15,86313.79Liberty
Christian County72,37738.95Hopkinsville
Clark County36,71656.15Winchester
Clay County20,48416.85Manchester
Clinton County9,37218.34Albany
Crittenden County8,9979.65Marion
Cumberland County6,0237.62Burkesville
Daviess County102,48886.33Owensboro
Edmonson County12,16515.51Brownsville
Elliott County7,41412.22Sandy Hook
Estill County14,15721.6Irvine
Fayette County321,354437.44Lexington
Fleming County14,99616.61Flemingsburg
Floyd County36,12735.47Prestonsburg
Franklin County51,31995.33Frankfort
Fulton County6,50712.2Fulton
Gallatin County8,69434.13Warsaw
Garrard County17,01828.55Lancaster
Grant County24,91837.29Crittenden
Graves County36,79625.75Mayfield
Grayson County26,35120.35Leitchfield
Green County11,14115.04Greensburg
Greenup County35,99640.35Flatwoods
Hancock County9,05018.62Lewisport
Hardin County110,13468.21Elizabethtown
Harlan County26,92122.31Cumberland
Harrison County18,69023.55Cynthiana
Hart County19,19417.96Horse Cave
Henderson County45,10239.91Henderson
Henry County15,69121.16Eminence
Hickman County4,5297.22Clinton
Hopkins County45,43232.36Madisonville
Jackson County13,02914.57Annville
Jefferson County780,449791.31Louisville
Jessamine County53,016118.89Nicholasville
Johnson County22,79433.6Paintsville
Kenton County168,264405.31Covington
Knott County14,50615.93Hindman
Knox County30,36730.35Corbin
Larue County14,76821.8Hodgenville
Laurel County62,09055.24London
Lawrence County16,27415.12Louisa
Lee County7,26313.43Beattyville
Leslie County10,62210.23Hyden
Letcher County21,78424.89Whitesburg
Lewis County13,10310.48Vanceburg
Lincoln County24,31428.2Stanford
Livingston County8,98911.08Ledbetter
Logan County27,31919.1Russellville
Lyon County8,70015.71Eddyville
Madison County92,19481.39Richmond
Magoffin County11,81814.79Salyersville
Marion County19,55622.01Lebanon
Marshall County31,66240.45Benton
Martin County11,39419.16Inez
Mason County17,10327.5Maysville
McCracken County67,394104.62Paducah
McCreary County17,04415.42Pine Knot
McLean County9,18214.04Livermore
Meade County29,73537.59Fort Knox
Menifee County6,14911.66Frenchburg
Mercer County22,47034.83Harrodsburg
Metcalfe County10,27513.7Edmonton
Monroe County11,26913.21Tompkinsville
Montgomery County28,08454.94Mount Sterling
Morgan County13,77213.95West Liberty
Muhlenberg County31,01125.62Central City
Nelson County46,44042.95Bardstown
Nicholas County7,51714.87Carlisle
Ohio County23,86115.69Beaver Dam
Oldham County67,586139.36La Grange
Owen County11,16012.27Owenton
Owsley County4,0948.01Booneville
Pendleton County14,62520.37Williamstown
Perry County28,42132.3Hazard
Pike County58,91428.91Pikeville
Powell County13,05028.15Stanton
Pulaski County64,71737.95Somerset
Robertson County2,1968.49Mount Olivet
Rockcastle County16,16719.72Mount Vernon
Rowan County24,65434.02Morehead
Russell County17,90927.26Russell Springs
Scott County56,26777.1Georgetown
Shelby County47,52348.32Shelbyville
Simpson County19,32431.86Franklin
Spencer County19,25639.82Elk Creek
Taylor County25,94837.61Campbellsville
Todd County12,20612.58Elkton
Trigg County14,06712.3Cadiz
Trimble County8,50221.65Milton
Union County13,78615.53Morganfield
Warren County133,21694.95Bowling Green
Washington County11,95715.55Springfield
Wayne County19,74316.64Monticello
Webster County12,99415.11Providence
Whitley County36,57832.26Corbin
Wolfe County6,66611.58Campton
Woodford County26,75854.34Versailles

Biggest Counties in Kentucky by Population

Jefferson County

A street-level view of downtown Louisville, Kentucky on a sunny day.
Louisville, Kentucky

Jefferson County is the most populous county in Kentucky and serves as the economic and cultural hub of the state. Located in the north-central part of Kentucky along the Ohio River, it is home to the city of Louisville, the state’s largest city. 

Established in 1780, Jefferson County has a rich history that includes being a significant site for river commerce and a range of industries from manufacturing to healthcare. The county is perhaps best known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby, a horse racing event that attracts visitors from around the world.

Economically, it boasts a strong job market that includes opportunities in sectors like logistics, healthcare, and information technology. The county also has a focus on education, featuring numerous public and private schools, as well as higher-education institutions like the University of Louisville

Additionally, Jefferson County is a center for healthcare services, being home to several large hospitals and medical research facilities. With a variety of parks, museums, and cultural sites, Jefferson County offers a high quality of life to its residents and visitors alike.

Fayette County

An aerial view of the University of Kentucky Campus buildings in Lexington, Kentucky.
University of Kentucky Campus in Lexington, Kentucky

Fayette County is located in the central part of Kentucky and is the state’s second most populous county. Its county seat, Lexington, is known as the “Horse Capital of the World” and is a focal point for the state’s thoroughbred horse industry. 

Fayette County is a major center for higher education, being home to the University of Kentucky, which significantly contributes to the local economy and culture. In addition to education and horse racing, the county has a robust healthcare sector, featuring multiple hospitals and clinics that serve the region.

The thriving arts scene in this county is also worth mentioning, with a variety of theaters, galleries, and live music venues. The University of Kentucky Art Museum and the International Museum of the Horse are two of the most popular museums in the county.

The area’s agricultural roots are evident in its numerous farmers’ markets and locally produced food products, reinforcing a strong sense of community. The county also boasts excellent public schools, making it attractive for families. 

Kenton County

An aerial view of the Ohio River as it passes between Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio on a sunny day.
Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio

Kenton County is situated in the northern part of Kentucky, bordering the state of Ohio. It is the third most populous county in the state and has two county seats: Independence and Covington. Established in 1840, Kenton County was named after Simon Kenton, an early pioneer and explorer.

One of the county’s distinguishing features is its proximity to Cincinnati, Ohio, which makes it a part of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area. This strategic location gives Kenton County access to a larger job market and numerous cultural amenities, effectively blending urban and suburban lifestyles.

Visitors and locals of Kenton County can enjoy the eight designated park areas, and additional attractions include the Historic Bavarian Brewery in Covington and the Behringer-Crawford Museum.

The county’s diversified economy includes sectors ranging from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and professional services. The area is home to several corporate headquarters, contributing to its economic vitality. 

Warren County

A view of the facade of a university building in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Western Kentucky University building in Bowling Green, Warren County

Warren County is located in south-central Kentucky and is one of the state’s rapidly growing regions. The county seat, Bowling Green, is the third-largest city in Kentucky and is known for its strong economy and diverse industrial base. 

One notable aspect of Warren County is the presence of the General Motors Corvette assembly plant, which has been a major employer in the area since 1981. This has led to an influx of auto supply companies, diversifying the local economy further.

Warren County is also home to Western Kentucky University, a significant contributor to the educational and cultural atmosphere of the region. The county has made investments in infrastructure, including a network of well-maintained roads and public facilities. 

In terms of recreation, the county offers various parks and outdoor activities, including water sports on the Barren River Lake. There’s also an ice rink in Bowling Green that’s available during the winter months.

Boone County

A street-level view of the brick facade of the old Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Kentucky. 
The old Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Kentucky

Boone County is located in the northern part of Kentucky, adjacent to the Ohio and Indiana state lines. It’s part of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area and has experienced significant growth in both population and economic activity. The county seat is Burlington, a census-designated place.

One major asset is the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which plays a crucial role in the regional and national transportation network. The presence of the airport has also attracted a variety of businesses, making Boone County a hub for logistics and trade. 

Education is a strong focus in the county, with numerous highly-rated public and private schools available for residents. In terms of recreation, Boone County offers several parks, including Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, known for its hiking trails and educational programs. 

Smallest Counties in Kentucky by Population

Robertson County

A view of the wooden Johnson Creek Covered Bridge with surrounding trees on a sunny, clear day.
The Johnson Creek Covered Bridge in Robertson County, Kentucky

Kentucky’s Robertson County is the smallest county in the state by both total area and population. Mount Olivet serves as the county seat, and the county itself is named after George Robertson, a former Kentucky Congressman. It was formed in 1867 from portions of Bracken County, Harrison County, Mason County, and Nicholas County.

Education is a focal point in Robertson County, where the mission of the local school district is to “provide a safe, education-focused environment that fosters the development of all students to be college and/or career ready by graduation.” 

The University of Kentucky operates a Robertson County Extension Office, which provides services such as a Community & Economic Development program. The program helps communities resolve local issues with objective information and educational assistance.

Other programs include a 4-H Youth Development program and an Agriculture & Natural Resources program. 

Owsley County

A street-level view of the Owsley County Courthouse and surrounding pavement in Booneville, Kentucky.
Owsley County Courthouse in Booneville, Kentucky

Another of the least populated counties in Kentucky is Owsley County, located in the southeastern part of the state. It was formed in 1843 and named after Governor William Owsley. The county seat is Booneville, which was incorporated in 1847 and is the largest city in the county. 

Owsley County is predominantly white and has endured a long history of economic hardship, in part due to the rugged landscape. Primarily rural, the county places a focus on agriculture and forestry, though the Owsley County School District is also a major economic driver.

The Owsley County Alliance for Recreation & Entertainment Incorporated (OCARE) organization in the county is involved in projects such as revitalizing Booneville’s Seale Theater and supporting individuals and families in need of support. 

Hickman County

A view of the Mississippi River from a park in Clinton, Kentucky.
The Mississippi River from Columbus-Belmont State Park

Hickman County has one of the smallest population and population densities in the state of Kentucky. It’s situated near the far southwestern corner of the state and borders Missouri. The Mississippi River flows through part of the county, and the county seat is the city of Clinton, which is also its largest city. 

Formed in 1821, Hickman County was named after Paschal Hickman, a casualty in the War of 1812. The county later played an early role in the American Civil War, where a fortification was constructed to control a contested strategic location. This is now the location of Columbus-Belmont State Park.

The Hickman County Museum is an excellent place for visitors to the county to learn more about the local history, and the several additional attractions in the county include parks, a farmer’s market, and historical sites.

Carlisle County

A street-level view of the Carlisle County Courthouse facade in Bardwell, Kentucky.
The Carlisle County Courthouse in Bardwell, Kentucky

The far western part of Kentucky is home to Carlisle County, one of the least populated regions in the state. The county is bordered by both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and the former makes up the county’s boundary with the neighboring state of Missouri. 

Although the county has a small population, it plays an important role in the state’s agricultural sector. The local economy is predominantly based on farming, with soybeans, corn, and wheat being the main crops. 

The county’s riverfront location provides a range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, and bird-watching, adding to the quality of life for its residents. Additional outdoor amenities in the county include a campground and ATV trails.

Notable Kentucky Counties

Pike County

A street view of shop fronts in downtown Pikeville, Kentucky.
Pikeville, Kentucky

Pike County is located in the eastern part of Kentucky and is the largest county in the state by land area. It is perhaps most famous for being the backdrop of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, a long-standing family conflict that captured national attention in the late 19th century. The county was established in 1821 and named for General Zebulon M. Pike.

The county has a rich history of coal mining, which has been both an economic boon and a challenge as the industry has waned in recent years. Pikeville, the county seat, is the commercial and administrative center of the region, featuring a range of amenities including healthcare facilities and educational institutions like the University of Pikeville.

The landscape of Pike County is marked by the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation like hiking and fishing. The county is making efforts to diversify its economy, with tourism becoming an increasingly important sector. 

Attractions such as the Hatfield-McCoy Historic Sites and the Breaks Interstate Park, often called the “Grand Canyon of the South,” draw visitors to explore the area’s natural beauty and history. 

Madison County

A view of log structures in Fort Boonesborough State Park in Madison County.
Fort Boonesborough State Park in Madison County, Kentucky

Another notable county in Kentucky is Madison County, located in the central part of the state and home to the city of Richmond, which serves as the county seat.

One of the most notable aspects of Madison County is the presence of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), which plays a significant role in the educational and economic landscape of the region. 

In addition to its university, Madison County is rich in historical landmarks. Fort Boonesborough State Park is a key attraction, marking the location of one of Kentucky’s earliest settlements. The park’s reconstructed fort and various educational programs provide a glimpse into pioneer life and is a popular tourist destination.

The scenic Kentucky River also flows through Madison County. The river and the area’s three County Parks make a range of outdoor activities possible such as boating, walking, and fishing.

Bullitt County

A view of a wooden sculptor sitting next to a lake from across the water in Bullitt County’s Bernheim Forest.
Little Nis art installation in Bernheim Forest, Kentucky

Bullitt County is located in the north-central part of Kentucky and is part of the Louisville Metropolitan Area. It was founded in 1796 and is named after landowner Alexander Scott Bullitt.

One of its most distinguishing features is its significant role in the bourbon industry, primarily through the presence of the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont. The facility is one of the largest producers of bourbon in the world, serving as both a major employer and a tourist attraction. 

Beyond its bourbon credentials, Bullitt County is also known for its convenient proximity to Louisville, offering residents a blend of suburban and rural lifestyles. The county has various parks and natural reserves, like the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, which provide outdoor recreational opportunities including hiking and bird-watching.

More About Kentucky Counties: FAQs

What is the richest county in Kentucky?

Oldham County repeatedly ranks as the wealthiest county in Kentucky, with a median home value of more than $400,000.

What is the newest county in Kentucky?

The newest county in Kentucky is McCreary County, which was formed in 1912.

Are there dry counties in Kentucky?

Yes, despite Kentucky’s fame for bourbon, there are 10 dry counties in the state, meaning they prohibit the sale of alcohol.

Which Kentucky county has the highest elevation?

Harlan County contains Black Mountain, which has the highest elevation in Kentucky at 4,145 feet (1,262 meters).

What’s the friendliest city in Kentucky?

The city of Murray, Kentucky in Calloway County has been named America’s Friendliest Small Town on five separate occasions.

Image Sources and Copyright Information
  • Sunny Day on a Downtown Street in Louisville, Kentucky: © 4kclips/Shutterstock
  • Aerial View of a University Campus and Surrounding Urban Area: © Real Window Creative/Shutterstock
  • Aerial View of a Bustling Cityscape with Bridges Spanning a River: © Rotorhead 30A Productions/Shutterstock
  • Sunlit Facade of Western Kentucky University Building with Lush Green Lawn: © Daniele Novati/Shutterstock
  • Old Boone County Courthouse Building in Burlington under Clear Blue Sky: © W.marsh/Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
  • Covered Wooden Bridge in a Rural Setting on a Sunny Day: © Danielsen_Photography/Shutterstock
  • Owsley County Courthouse in Kentucky on a Clear Day: © W.marsh/Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
  • Scenic View of the Mississippi River from Hickman County, Kentucky: © Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0 International
  • Carlisle County Courthouse in Bardwell, Kentucky on a Sunny Day: © Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
  • Quaint Downtown Street in Pikeville, KY with Local Shops and Clear Blue Sky: © Cody Thane Prater/Shutterstock
  • Rustic Log Cabins at a Historical State Park on a Sunny Day: © DnDavis/Shutterstock
  • Wooden Giant Sculpture Reflecting on a Tranquil Pond in Bernheim Forest, Kentucky: © Trey Thomas/Shutterstock