Hazard, Kentucky

Coordinates: 37°14′55″N 083°11′42″W / 37.24861°N 83.19500°W / 37.24861; -83.19500
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Hazard, Kentucky
Main Street in Hazard
Main Street in Hazard
Flag of Hazard, Kentucky
Official seal of Hazard, Kentucky
Queen City of the Mountains
Location of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky
Location of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°14′55″N 083°11′42″W / 37.24861°N 83.19500°W / 37.24861; -83.19500
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedApril 30, 1884
Named forCdre. Oliver Hazard Perry
 • MayorDonald "Happy" Mobelini[1]
 • City ManagerDerrick Hall [2]
 • Assistant City ManagerAmie Bedwell[2]
 • City Treasurer / Secretary to the Mayor[2]
 • Total7.60 sq mi (19.68 km2)
 • Land7.45 sq mi (19.30 km2)
 • Water0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)  0%
928 ft (283 m)
 • Total5,263
 • Estimate 
 • Density706.44/sq mi (272.76/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code606
FIPS code21-35362
GNIS feature ID0512617

Hazard is a home rule-class city[5] in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Kentucky, United States.[6] The population was 5,263 at the 2020 Census.[7]


Coal miners' children cross a footbridge into Hazard, Kentucky, July 1940. Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott.

Local landowner Elijah Combs Sr. laid out the town in 1824 as the planned seat of the newly established Perry County. Both the town and the county were named for Cdre. Oliver Hazard Perry, a commander in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.[8] The post office was initially known as Perry Court House but the name was officially changed to Hazard in 1854.[9] The city was formally incorporated by the state assembly in 1884.[10]

Long isolated by the surrounding mountains, Hazard was opened to the outside world by the arrival of the railroad in 1912. The only access to the valley had previously been 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River or a two-week trip over the surrounding mountains.[11] The railroad brought prosperity to the town, which ended up on the start of the Great Depression.

The song "High Sheriff of Hazard" was written by Tom Paxton in reference to a coal miner's strike in 1964.

In 1981, several cast members of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, including Catherine Bach, James Best, Sorrell Booke and Rick Hurst, visited Hazard during its Black Gold Festival.[12] Soon afterwards, the series' stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider made appearances in Hazard.

After several decades of population decline, the city has seen a rapid increase of new residents as the growth rate approached 20% between 2010 and 2020. In July 1999, Hazard was the first stop on President Bill Clinton's tour of poverty-stricken communities that had failed to share in the boom of the 1990s. Hillary Clinton visited Hazard on November 2, 2008, at a political rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford.[13][14]


Hazard is located at 37°15′21″N 83°11′37″W / 37.25583°N 83.19361°W / 37.25583; -83.19361 (37.255910, −83.193706).[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18 km2), all land.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hazard has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[16]


Historical population
2022 (est.)4,999[17]−5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

As of the census[19] of 2021, there were 5,263 people, and 2,046 households. The population density was 692.5 inhabitants per square mile (267.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.4% White, 16.57% African American, 0.08% Native American, 2.07% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.86% of the population.

In 2000, there were 1,946 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. Of all households, 31.7% were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,690, and the median income for a family was $27,226. Males had a median income of $34,398 versus $22,386 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,782. About 30.9% of families and 30.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.3% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.


Hazard has a lending library, the Perry County Public Library.[20]


The Mother Goose House in Hazard, Kentucky



Main Street


  • Hazard Herald
  • Perry County Advocate

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in or residents of Hazard include:

Name Born Death Personal
Martin Fugate circa 1780s circa mid 1800s Patriarch of "Blue Fugates", a family with a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, causing the skin to appear blue.
Red Allen 1930 1993 Bluegrass singer, a native of Pigeon Roost Hollow in Perry County, was a member of the Osborne Brothers band.
Baddiewinkle 1928 Internet personality
Louann Brizendine 1952 Hazard native and a neuropsychiatrist. Was a clinician, researcher, and professor (1985–88, on the faculty at Harvard, and from 1988 onwards at UC San Francisco). Best-selling author of The Female Brain (2006) and The Male Brain (2010).
Joe Craft 1950 Businessman and philanthropist, namesake of the Joe Craft Center, UK's practice basketball facility. Born in Hazard. Also the namesake of the Joe Craft Tower at the Hazard ARH Hospital.
Rebecca Gayheart 1971 Actress
Daniel Mongiardo 1960 Physician, Democratic Kentucky senator, and Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Brandon Smith 1967 Businessman, Republican Kentucky representative and senator.
Sam Smith 1944 2022 One of the first three African American basketball players at the University of Louisville, later played in the American Basketball Association; born in Hazard.
Mary Lou Turner 1947 Country music singer born in Hazard. Turner recorded the #1 song "Sometimes" with Bill Anderson.
J. Dudley Goodlette 1948 Hazard native, former politician and lawyer in Florida.
Jacob Couch 1999 Professional Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt grappler.


  1. ^ "Judge swears-in new city officials". Hazard Herald. December 14, 2014. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "City Managers, City of Hazard, KY". Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  5. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "QuickFacts – Hazard city, Kentucky". United States Census Bureau.
  8. ^ Bergstrom, Bill (December 11, 1984). "Origins of place names are traced". Kentucky New Era. pp. 2B. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0813126312. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Hazard, Kentucky". Accessed 29 July 2013.
  11. ^ "History". City of Hazard. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  12. ^ Hensley, Steve (September 17, 2009). "A look back at the 1981 Black Gold Festival". WYMT-TV. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  13. ^ "Hillary makes pick in KY House speaker race?[permanent dead link]" Pol Watchers. Accessed 2 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Hillary Clinton Stumps for Bruce Lunsford Archived 2011-05-23 at the Wayback Machine". WYMT-TV. Accessed 2 November 2008.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "Hazard, Kentucky Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  20. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]