Kentucky

Cities

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Kentucky

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States, bordered by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to the north; West Virginia and Virginia to the east; Tennessee to the south; and Missouri to the west. The Commonwealth’s northern border is defined by the Ohio River. Its capital is Frankfort, and its two largest cities are Louisville and Lexington. The state’s population in 2020 was approximately 4.5 million.

Etymology

In 1776 the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known to European Americans as Kentucky County, named for the Kentucky River. The precise etymology of the name is uncertain, but likely based on an Iroquoian name meaning “(on) the meadow” or “(on) the prairie” (cf. Mohawk kenhtà:ke, Seneca gëdá’geh (phonemic /kɛ̃taʔkɛh/), “at the field”).

Others have suggested the term Kenta Aki, which could have come from an Algonquian language and were possibly derived from Shawnee. Folk etymology translates this as “Land of Our Fathers”. The closest approximation in another Algonquian language, Ojibwe, translates as “Land of Our In-Laws”, thus making a fairer English translation “The Land of Those Who Became Our Fathers”. In any case, the word aki means “land” in most Algonquian languages. Some also theorize that the name Kentucky may be a corruption of the word Catawba, in reference to the Catawba people who inhabited Kentucky.

Geography

Kentucky is situated in the Upland South. A significant portion of eastern Kentucky is part of Appalachia. Kentucky borders seven states, from the Midwest and the Southeast. West Virginia lies to the northeast, Virginia to the east, Tennessee to the south, Missouri to the west, Illinois to the northwest, and Indiana and Ohio to the north. Only Missouri and Tennessee, both of which border eight states, touch more.

Kentucky’s northern border is formed by the Ohio River and its western border by the Mississippi River; however, the official border is based on the courses of the rivers as they existed when Kentucky became a state in 1792. For instance, northbound travelers on U.S. 41 from Henderson, after crossing the Ohio River, will be in Kentucky for about two miles (3.2 km). Ellis Park, a thoroughbred racetrack, is located in this small piece of Kentucky. Waterworks Road is part of the only land border between Indiana and Kentucky.

Regions

Kentucky can be divided into five primary regions: the Cumberland Plateau in the east, which contains much of the historic coal mines; the north-central Bluegrass region, where the major cities and the capital are located; the south-central and western Pennyroyal Plateau (also known as the Pennyrile or Mississippi Plateau); the Western Coal Fields; and the far-west Jackson Purchase.

The Bluegrass region is commonly divided into two regions, the Inner Bluegrass encircling 90 miles (140 km) around Lexington, and the Outer Bluegrass that contains most of the northern portion of the state, above the Knobs. Much of the outer Bluegrass is in the Eden Shale Hills area, made up of short, steep, and very narrow hills.

Climate

Located within the southeastern interior portion of North America, Kentucky has a climate that is best described as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa), only small higher areas of the southeast of the state has an oceanic climate (Cfb) influenced by the Appalachians. Temperatures in Kentucky usually range from daytime summer highs of 87 °F (31 °C) to the winter low of 23 °F (−5 °C). The average precipitation is 46 inches (1,200 mm) a year. Kentucky has four distinct seasons, with substantial variations in the severity of summer and winter. The state rarely experiences the extreme cold of far northern states, nor the high heat of the states in the Deep South. Temperatures seldom drop below 0 degrees or rise above 100 degrees. Rain and snowfall totals about 45 inches per year.

The climate varies markedly within the state. The northern parts tend to be about five degrees cooler than those in the western parts of the state. Somerset in the south-central part receives ten more inches of rain per year than, for instance, Covington to the north. Average temperatures for the entire Commonwealth range from the low 30s in January to the high 70s in mid-July. The annual average temperature varies from 55 to 60 °F (13 to 16 °C): of 55 °F (13 °C) in the far north as an average annual temperature and of 60 °F (16 °C) in the extreme southwest.

Counties

Kentucky is subdivided into 120 counties, the largest being Pike County at 787.6 square miles (2,040 km2), and the most populous being Jefferson County (which coincides with the Louisville Metro governmental area) with 741,096 residents as of 2010. County government, under the Kentucky Constitution of 1891, is vested in the County Judge/Executive, (formerly called the County Judge) who serves as the executive head of the county, and a legislature called a Fiscal Court. Despite the unusual name, the Fiscal Court no longer has judicial functions.

Major Cities

The Metro Louisville government area has a 2018 population of 1,298,990. Under United States Census Bureau methodology, the population of Louisville was 623,867. The latter figure is the population of the so-called "balance" – the parts of Jefferson County that were either unincorporated or within the City of Louisville before the formation of the merged government in 2003. In 2018 the Louisville Combined Statistical Area (CSA) had a population of 1,569,112; including 1,209,191 in Kentucky, which means more than 25% of the state's population now lives in the Louisville CSA. Since 2000, over one-third of the state's population growth has occurred in the Louisville CSA. In addition, the top 28 wealthiest places in Kentucky are in Jefferson County and seven of the 15 wealthiest counties in the state are located in the Louisville CSA.

The second-largest city is Lexington with a 2018 census population of 323,780, its metro had a population of 516,697, and its CSA, which includes the Frankfort and Richmond statistical areas, having a population of 746,310. The Northern Kentucky area, which comprises the seven Kentucky counties in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area, had a population of 447,457 in 2018. The metropolitan areas of Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky have a combined population of 2,402,958 as of 2018, which is 54% of the state's total population on only about 19% of the state's land.

Demographics

As of July 1, 2016, Kentucky had an estimated population of 4,436,974, which is an increase of 12,363 from the prior year and an increase of 97,607, or 2.2%, since the year 2010. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 73,541 people (that is 346,968 births minus 273,427 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 26,135 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 40,051 people, and migration within the country produced a net decrease of 13,916 people. As of 2015, Kentucky’s population included about 149,016 foreign-born persons (3.4%). In 2016 the population density of the state was 110 people per square mile (42.5/km2).

Language

Speech patterns in the state generally reflect the first settlers' Virginia and Kentucky backgrounds. South Midland features are best preserved in the mountains, with Southern in most other areas of Kentucky, but some common to Midland and Southern are widespread. After a vowel, the /r/ may be weak or missing. For instance, Coop has the vowel of put, but the root rhymes with boot. In southern Kentucky, earthworms are called redworms, a burlap bag is known as a tow sack or the Southern grass sack, and green beans are called snap beans. In Kentucky English, a young man may carry, not escort, his girlfriend to a party. Spanish is the second-most-spoken language in Kentucky, after English.

Religion

Kentucky is home to several seminaries. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville is the principal seminary for the Southern Baptist Convention. Louisville is also the home of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Lexington has one seminary, Lexington Theological Seminary (affiliated with the Disciples of Christ). The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky is located on the campus of Georgetown College in Georgetown. Asbury Theological Seminary, a multi-denominational seminary in the Methodist tradition, is located in nearby Wilmore.

Economy

Kentucky is home to several seminaries. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville is the principal seminary for the Southern Baptist Convention. Louisville is also the home of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Lexington has one seminary, Lexington Theological Seminary (affiliated with the Disciples of Christ). The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky is located on the campus of Georgetown College in Georgetown. Asbury Theological Seminary, a multi-denominational seminary in the Methodist tradition, is located in nearby Wilmore.

Tourism

Tourism has become an increasingly important part of the Kentucky economy. In 2019 tourism grew to $7.6 billion in economic impact. Key attractions include horse racing with events like the Kentucky Derby and the Keeneland Fall and Spring Meets, bourbon distillery tours and natural attractions such as the state's many lakes and parks to include Mammoth Cave, Lake Cumberland and Red River Gorge. The state also has several religious destinations such as the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter of Answers in Genesis.

Major Cities

The Metro Louisville government area has a 2018 population of 1,298,990. Under United States Census Bureau methodology, the population of Louisville was 623,867. The latter figure is the population of the so-called "balance" – the parts of Jefferson County that were either unincorporated or within the City of Louisville before the formation of the merged government in 2003. In 2018 the Louisville Combined Statistical Area (CSA) had a population of 1,569,112; including 1,209,191 in Kentucky, which means more than 25% of the state's population now lives in the Louisville CSA. Since 2000, over one-third of the state's population growth has occurred in the Louisville CSA. In addition, the top 28 wealthiest places in Kentucky are in Jefferson County and seven of the 15 wealthiest counties in the state are located in the Louisville CSA.

The second-largest city is Lexington with a 2018 census population of 323,780, its metro had a population of 516,697, and its CSA, which includes the Frankfort and Richmond statistical areas, having a population of 746,310. The Northern Kentucky area, which comprises the seven Kentucky counties in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area, had a population of 447,457 in 2018. The metropolitan areas of Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky have a combined population of 2,402,958 as of 2018, which is 54% of the state's total population on only about 19% of the state's land.

Education

Kentucky maintains eight public four-year universities. There are two general tiers: major research institutions (the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville) and regional universities, which encompass the remaining six schools. The regional schools have specific target counties that many of their programs are targeted towards (such as Forestry at Eastern Kentucky University or Cave Management at Western Kentucky University), however, most of their curriculum varies little from any other public university. The University of Kentucky (UK) and the University of Louisville (UofL) have the highest academic rankings and admissions standards.

Transportation

There are two Connecticut teams in the American Hockey League. The Bridgeport Islanders is a farm team for the New York Islanders which competes at the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport. The Hartford Wolf Pack is the affiliate of the New York Rangers; they play in the XL Center in Hartford.

The Hartford Yard Goats of the Double-A Northeast are a AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Also, the Norwich Sea Unicorns play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. The New Britain Bees play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA currently play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. In soccer, Hartford Athletic began play in the USL Championship in 2019.

Roads

Kentucky is served by six major Interstate highways (I-24, I-64, I-65, I-69, I-71, and I-75), seven parkways, and six bypasses and spurs (I-165, I-169, I-264, I-265, I-275, and I-471). The parkways were originally toll roads, but on November 22, 2006, Governor Ernie Fletcher ended the toll charges on the William H. Natcher Parkway and the Audubon Parkway, the last two parkways in Kentucky to charge tolls for access. The related toll booths have been demolished.

Ending the tolls some seven months ahead of schedule was generally agreed to have been a positive economic development for transportation in Kentucky. In June 2007, a law went into effect raising the speed limit on rural portions of Kentucky Interstates and parkways from 65 to 70 miles per hour (105 to 113 km/h).

Rails

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Ashland, South Portsmouth, Maysville and Fulton. The Cardinal (trains 50 and 51) is the line that offers Amtrak service to Ashland, South Shore, Maysville and South Portsmouth. The City of New Orleans (trains 58 and 59) serve Fulton. The Northern Kentucky area is served by the Cardinal at Cincinnati Union Terminal. The terminal is just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Norfolk Southern Railway passes through the Central and Southern parts of the Commonwealth, via its Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific (CNO&TP) subsidiary. The line originates in Cincinnati and terminates 338 miles south in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Air

Kentucky's primary airports include Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field (SDF)) of Louisville, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) of Cincinnati/Covington, and Blue Grass Airport (LEX) in Lexington. Louisville International Airport is home to UPS's Worldport, its international air-sorting hub. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is the largest airport in the state, and is a focus city for passenger airline Delta Air Lines and headquarters of its Delta Private Jets.

The airport is one of DHL Aviation's three super-hubs, serving destinations throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, making it the 7th busiest airport in the U.S. and 36th in the world based on passenger and cargo operations. CVG is also a focus city for Frontier Airlines and is the largest O&D airport and base for Allegiant Air, along with home to a maintenance for American Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines and Delta Air Lines subsidiary Endeavor Air. There are also a number of regional airports scattered across the state.

Water

As the state is bounded by two of the largest rivers in North America, water transportation has historically played a major role in Kentucky's economy. Louisville was a major port for steamships in the nineteenth century. Today, most barge traffic on Kentucky waterways consists of coal that is shipped from both the Eastern and Western Coalfields, about half of which is used locally to power many power plants located directly off the Ohio River, with the rest being exported to other countries, most notably Japan.As a state, Kentucky ranks 10th overall in port tonnage. The only natural obstacle along the entire length of the Ohio River is the Falls of the Ohio, located just west of Downtown Louisville.

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