Laurel County, Kentucky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laurel County, Kentucky
Laurel County Kentucky Courthouse.jpg
Laurel County courthouse in London
Map of Kentucky highlighting Laurel County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826
Named for Mountain laurel trees
Seat London
Largest city London
 • Total 444 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 434 sq mi (1,124 km2)
 • Water 9.7 sq mi (25 km2), 2.2%
 • (2010) 58,849
 • Density 136/sq mi (53/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Laurel County is a county in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 58,849.[1] Its county seat is London.[2]

Laurel County is included in the London, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Laurel County is a limited dry county, meaning that sale of alcohol in the county is prohibited except in certain areas as voted on by the residents of the area. In the case of Laurel County, by-the-drink alcohol sales is permitted only in restaurants in the city of London seating at least 100 diners and derive at least 70% of their total sales from food.


Laurel County, the 80th county to be organized in Kentucky, was established by an act of the general assembly, December 12, 1825, from parts of Rockcastle, Clay, Knox and Whitley Counties. Laurel County was named for the dense laurel thickets prevalent in the area.[3]

Laurel County was the location of the Battle of Wildcat Mountain, a pivotal yet little known battle during the American Civil War that kept Confederate armies from advancing on Big Hill, a major stronghold during the war.

After a fire damaged the courthouse in 1958, a new structure was completed in 1961.[4]

The first Kentucky Fried Chicken was started in Laurel County in Colonel Harland Sanders hometown of North Corbin. Due to the history of chicken in the county, The World Chicken Festival is celebrated every year in Laurel County, drawing crowds of up to 250,000 people over the four-day festival.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 444 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 434 square miles (1,120 km2) is land and 9.7 square miles (25 km2) (2.2%) is water.[5] Part of Laurel River Lake is in Laurel County.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 2,206
1840 3,079 39.6%
1850 4,145 34.6%
1860 5,488 32.4%
1870 6,016 9.6%
1880 9,131 51.8%
1890 13,747 50.6%
1900 17,592 28.0%
1910 19,872 13.0%
1920 19,814 −0.3%
1930 21,109 6.5%
1940 25,640 21.5%
1950 25,797 0.6%
1960 24,901 −3.5%
1970 27,386 10.0%
1980 38,982 42.3%
1990 43,438 11.4%
2000 52,715 21.4%
2010 58,849 11.6%
Est. 2013 59,563 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 52,715 people, 20,353 households, and 15,366 families residing in the county. The population density was 121 per square mile (47 /km2). There were 22,317 housing units at an average density of 51 per square mile (20 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.66% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 0.55% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

As of the census of 2010, Laurel County was 97.00% White or European American, 0.3% Native American and 0.7% Black or African American.[11]

There were 20,353 households out of which 35.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.50% were non-families. 21.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.97.

The age distribution was 25.40% under 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,015, and the median income for a family was $31,318. Males had a median income of $27,965 versus $19,757 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,165. About 17.80% of families and 21.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.80% of those under age 18 and 20.10% of those age 65 or over.


Two public school districts serve K-12 students in the county:



Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Nationally bestselling author Silas House was raised in Laurel County and currently lives in Madison County,in the city of Berea. Former University of Kentucky basketball star Jeff Sheppard, the Most Outstanding Player of the 1998 NCAA Tournament who briefly played in the NBA, now lives in London.

2000 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Darrell Scott, who has written hit songs for the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, Brad Paisley, Patty Loveless, and many others, was born in London.

Laurel County is home to Chera-Lyn Cook, the first young woman from Southeast Kentucky to win the title of Miss Kentucky. Cook was talent winner and 4th runner-up to Miss America 1999. Cook was recognized by the Joint Sessions of the Kentucky Legislature for volunteer work with at-risk youth and was the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year in 2004. Her platform issue at Miss America, Children's Miracle Network, was later adopted by the Miss America Scholarship Organization as a national platform. She was also commissioned a Goodwill Ambassador for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 35. 
  4. ^ Hogan, Roseann Reinemuth (1992). Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. Ancestry Publishing. p. 266. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°07′N 84°07′W / 37.11°N 84.12°W / 37.11; -84.12