Welcome to Kentucky

Your life in the Bluegrass State begins


Welcome to Kentucky

Even those who’ve never set foot in the Bluegrass State probably know about two of Kentucky’s claims to fame: bourbon and horse racing. Those who live in the state know that, while 95 percent of the world’s bourbon supply flows through the state and the Kentucky Derby is widely considered the holy grail of U.S. horse racing, there’s much more to Kentucky.

Kentucky is one of several states in America that has a broad identity due to its geography. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kentucky is considered part of the South. But, if you are viewing the state from the deep south — say Mississippi or Alabama — it’s part of the Midwest, or maybe even the North. Culturally, however, Kentucky resonates with Southern living, with its barbecue and laid-back, friendly vibe.

Kentucky Self-Storage Facts

Kentucky has a growing population, which means it is an ideal market for self-storage developers. Self-storage construction has been ramping up to record high levels over the last few years, and that has resulted in more facilities being developed nationwide–Kentucky included. Developers have expanded the number of available self-storage units in the state by building new facilities from the ground up, as well as by renovating former retail big box stores. The increase in development has had a positive effect for consumers. By increasing supply, the monthly rental rates for storage has been on a downward trend.

Below are some statistics that provide an overview of the self-storage industry in Kentucky:


Kentucky is home to more than 631 self-storage facilities


Kentucky facilities offer more than 18.4 million square feet of storage space combined.


Kentucky has 4.21 square feet of storage space for every man, woman, and child. That's less than the national average of 5.4 square feet per capita.

Reasons to Move to Kentucky

If you're thinking about making the move, but aren't sure if Kentucky is the right place for you, consider the following:


The Kentucky Derby. Held the first Saturday of every May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, this 1¼ mile race features $2 million in prize money that attracts the best horses, trainers, and jockeys in the nation. The event, which is part of the Triple Crown of horse racing, also attracts visitors who like to play the horses and revel in Derby style. The whole state gets excited for this event, which is often referred to as the most exciting two minutes in sports.


Bourbon. All those Derby partiers get thirsty, and the drink of choice is the Mint Julep. And, the main ingredient of this quintessential Kentucky cocktail is bourbon. The state has 68 distilleries devoted to producing bourbon, and many say it's the ideal combination of climate, conditions, and naturally limestone-rich water that makes the spirit so unique. Kentucky bourbon is tasty served on its own, but to make the Derby day drink, mix it with sugar, water, ice, and fresh mint.


Kentucky barbecue. When many people think about barbecue, pork, beef, or chicken often come to mind. Kentucky has plenty of these meat options to offer but adds mutton as its unique barbecue meat. Mutton is the name for older sheep, and its use in Kentucky barbecue followed a wool production boom in the early 1800s. The meat has a deeply rich flavor, but can be chewy and gamey when cooked quickly. Low and slow barbecue and an acidic sauce combine for a barbecue experience like no other.


The Hot Brown. Kentucky cuisine has more to offer than regional barbecue. One of the most famous culinary creations in the Bluegrass State is the Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich that is covered in Mornay cheese sauce and broiled crisp. It’s been a popular dish for a century, but it’s hard to find it on any restaurant menus outside of Kentucky.


Bluegrass. Now, you may be wondering why Kentucky is referred to as the Bluegrass State. The term is not a direct reference to the style of music, but a nod to a particular type of grass found in Kentucky. This grass is not blue, but early settlers to the area thought it had a peculiar blue-green tint in the sun. Bluegrass music is an American roots music genre that originated in Kentucky in the 1940s.


Friendly faces. Another name for Kentucky could be the Friendly State, as its residents are well-known for being polite. Kentucky’s laid back vibe has also helped make it a retirement-friendly state, but the low taxes and deductions of seniors have helped, too.


Fort Knox. This army post south of Louisville contains the United States Bullion Depository, which houses much of the nation’s gold reserves — valued at over $6 billion. It is an interesting fact about Kentucky but is not a tourist destination, as the gold depository is one of the most secure facilities in the world, and visitors are not permitted.


Cumberland Falls. Dubbed the “Niagara of the South,” Cumberland Falls is a 60-foot tall waterfall on the Cumberland River. It’s a breathtaking piece of nature, deep inside a vast area filled with outdoor activities for residents and tourists alike. It’s also one of the few places in the world where people can witness a moonbow — which is like a rainbow but is formed from the reflection of moonlight on water droplets misted from the falls.


Rock climbing. Kentucky is also known for its sandstone mountains and cliffs. Actually, these rock formations are the top edges of the Cumberland Plateau. This sandstone is the preferred climbing surface for rock climbing enthusiasts. Popular climbing spots include the Red River Gorge, Morehead, and the Rockcastle River watershed.


The Wildcats. The University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, the Wildcats, has the most victories in NCAA Division I. So, the team is a big deal in Kentucky and throughout neighboring states as well.

Moving to Kentucky

Kentucky is the 37th largest state by size, covering approximately 39,732 square miles. It ranks as the 26th largest state by population, with an estimated 4.5 million residents. This combination means that Kentucky is comfortably populated, so you have a lot of room in the Bluegrass State, but not so much that you’ll get lonely.

Kentucky has shown modest population growth from 2018 to 2019 of .35%. The rural areas of the state have experienced a net loss in population, while some of the more urban areas are seeing continued growth.

Kentucky Economic Outlook

Kentucky’s gross domestic product (GDP) is roughly $173 billion, a 4.38% increase over the past five years. This makes Kentucky the 29th largest state economy in the nation. Growth is steady, but the per capita GDP of $38,985 is considerably lower than the US average of $50,577.

The unemployment rate in Kentucky was recently 4.4%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 3.6%. Over the period from December 2015 to August 2019, Kentucky added about 50,000 non-farming jobs. That figure is also proportionately lower than the national average but is better than neighboring Ohio and West Virginia.

Who are Kentucky's Largest Employers?

Ford Motor Company
GE Appliances
Norton Healthcare
Humana Inc.
Yum! Brands
LG&E and KU Energy
Tyson Foods
Kroger Co.

Places to live in Kentucky

Most of the state’s economic activity is in Louisville and the northern tier of the state, as much of the eastern side of the state is rural Appalachia. But, the central part of the state includes a major metropolitan area at Lexington, and Bowling Green on the south also is a thriving community.

Here’s a quick look at the state’s three largest cities:


Louisville has a population of 620,000, which is a huge number compared to other cities in the state. The state only has one other metropolitan area with more than 100,000 residents. The average salary in the city is $60,000, which is roughly on par with the national average. The biggest employers include Humana, Inc., General Electric, University of Louisville, and UPS.

Cost of living
8 percent lower than the national average
Median home price
Average rent
Average apartment size
931 square feet


Located about 80 miles southeast of Louisville is Kentucky’s second most populous city, Lexington. The city of 321,000 residents, like its larger neighbor, has a strong connection to horse farms and thoroughbred racetracks. It is also home to the Kentucky Horse Park, with the International Museum of the Horse. But, the economy in Lexington goes beyond the equestrian. Major employers include the University of Kentucky, Lockheed Martin Corp., and Lexmark.

Cost of living
4 percent lower than the national average
Median home price
Average rent
Average apartment size
899 square feet

Bowling Green

Bowling Green is in southern Kentucky, closer to Nashville, Tennessee, than it is to Louisville. This city, with approximately 60,000 residents, has seen the population grow in recent years. It is, however, mostly considered a growing retirement destination due to a lower cost of living and laid back lifestyle. Employment opportunities are primarily in the healthcare field, with the largest employers, including the Medical Center at Bowling Green, Graves Gilbert Clinic, and Greenville Regional Hospital.

Cost of living
8 percent lower than the national average
Median home price
Average rent
Average apartment size
882 square feet

Moving to Kentucky Resources