Does Kentucky immediately bring images of moonshine to mind? Us too. And rolling green pastures tied together with picket fences and scattered with noble beasts. This may be true to up a point, but we’ve discovered the state has a lot more to offer.
The Bluegrass State is rife with different cultures and experiences. The distinctive regions of Kentucky offer newbies varied views of the state. Before thinking of moving to this derby-loving region, consider a few top insights.
Kentucky took a hit during the recession in 2008 (like most places). Slowly but surely, it’s making its way back. While the state may be struggling to bring new movers in, the upside is cheaper housing than in most other states. Winning.
While more people seem to leaving the state than moving in, there is good news. Housing prices are low. U.S. News ranked Kentucky 12th for housing affordability in the country.
Homes are not only cheaper in Kentucky, they are also newer. Zillow says most houses in Kentucky were built between 2000 and 2010, and with the population moving towards metropolitan areas, there is new construction to be found. It’s mostly concentrated in suburbs around metropolitan centers like Louisville, Lexington and the northern part of the state by Cincinnati, Ohio.
It’s still under debate whether Kentucky’s job market is anything to write home about. A study done by Wallet Hub ranked Kentucky 48th in its rating of the best states for jobs, based on opportunities and economic environment. That’s not too great.
There is a greener side of things. The Louisville metropolitan area does have an unemployment rate a bit lower than the rest of the state (which is on par with the national average of 4.1%) at 3.9%. This is mostly due to increases in jobs in health care, business, tourism and tech. If you’re thinking of a move to Kentucky, those industries would be the ones to look at.
There are perks of a state being low on the totem pole for jobs. That cherry on top of the job market sundae is affordability. The cost of living in Kentucky is 11.4% lower than the U.S. average. It’s living index is 89, compared to the national average of 100.
U.S. News ranked Kentucky 8th in the country for affordability. Things like health care, food, and transportation can be found more cheaply in Kentucky than many places elsewhere in the U.S.
There are a few things Kentuckians wouldn’t want you to miss. The Kentucky Derby is one of the heavy hitters. Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, it brings in people from all over the world every year and is a huge tourism boost. A close second is the Louisville Slugger Museum for the die-hard baseball fans out there. Also not to be passed by is the Kentucky State Fair. This nine-day event sees over 600,000 fairgoers with great entertainment, food and rides for everyone.
Kentucky has some pretty special laws in addition to special events. It’s all fun and games until someone gets sent to jail for five years for sending a bottle of beer, wine or spirits to a friend, or until someone's dog molests a car (a big no-no in Kentucky). If you’re a hunter, forget about hunting from that brand-spanking-new helicopter you just bought, or any moving vehicle for that matter.
The people in Kentucky are as varied and special as the surplus of interests their state holds. Southern hospitality is still alive a well throughout the state. From the rolling hills of horse country to the Appalachian region in the east and the northern metropolitan area, you’ll find proud Kentuckians happy to welcome newcomers to their beautiful state.
Kentucky, like most states, seems to take pride in its heritage and culture. Why wouldn’t it, with its reputation for fried chicken and horses that are better than stellar. As long as you’re not planning on throwing eggs or tomatoes at any public speakers any time soon (hopefully that’s as unspoken as it is an official law), you’ll be good to go in the great Bluegrass State.