The area of Kentucky was originally part of Virginia within the original United States. Virginia ceded the district of Kentucky to the United States in 1792, and this area was included briefly in the Southwest Territory ("territory . . . south of the Ohio River"). Upon resolution of a boundary dispute with Tennessee in 1820, Kentucky assumed generally the same boundary as the present state.
Kentucky is one of four states that are legally described as a commonwealth. Although it was still part of Virginia, census data for Kentucky are available separately beginning with the 1790 census. The population shown for Kentucky in the 1790-1820 censuses is based on the present state boundary, not the territory claimed by Kentucky from Tennessee along its southern boundary. The population of the entire legally established state of Virginia (of which the area of Kentucky was a part) in 1790 was 821,287.
Data for the legally established state of Kentucky are available beginning with the 1800 census, minus claimed territory.
See: Geographic Terms & Concepts
Counties & County Equivalents
There are 120 counties in Kentucky. Two counties are not considered to be functioning because they have consolidated governmental functions with an incorporated place. Fayette County consolidated with the former Lexington city to form the incorporated place of Lexington-Fayette urban county. Jefferson County consolidated with the former Louisville city to form the consolidated city of Louisville/Jefferson County metro government. The other counties are each governed by a county judge executive and a board of commissioners.
There are 493 county subdivisions in Kentucky. They are all census county divisions (CCDs), which are delineated for statistical purposes, have no legal function, and are not governmental units. CCDs were first established in the 1960 census. Prior to 1960, the minor civil divisions used in the census include magisterial districts, election districts, and voting precincts.
Places (Incorporated Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places (CDPs))
Kentucky has 524 places; 422 incorporated places and 102 census designated places (CDPs). The incorporated places consist of 420 cities, 1 urban county, and 1 balance of county representing the area of the Louisville/Jefferson consolidated city outside of the incorporated places. Kentucky has one consolidated city — Louisville/Jefferson County consolidated city. Louisville/Jefferson metro government is a consolidated city because it contains 83 separately incorporated places. There are four governmentally inactive cities in Kentucky. The minimum population required for incorporation is 300 people.
Alphabetical List of Cities, Towns, CDPs and Other Populated Places
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q, R | S | T | U, V | W, X, Y, Z
Kentucky Civil Features
Kentucky Civil Features: Political Subdivisions, Native Areas, Land Grants, etc. - sorted by Census Class Codes.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Stastical Areas
There are 5 Metropolitan and 15 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in Kentucky. KY Metopolitan & Micropolitan Areas
Kentucky ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
There are 770 ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in Kentucky. View Kentucky ZIP Codes and ZIP Code Maps.
Kentucky has 3 elementary school districts, 3 secondary school districts, and 174 unified school districts. Two of the unified school districts are run by the Department of Defense. View Kentucky Public and Private Schools.
For the 111th Congress (January 2009-January 2011), Kentucky had six congressional districts. For the 113th Congress (January 2013-January 2015), Kentucky continues to have six congressional districts as a result of reapportionment based on the 2010 Census. View Map of Kentucky Congressional Districts.
State Legislative Districts
There are 38 state senate districts and 100 state house districts in Kentucky.