KFC – ever heard of it? Of course you have. The home of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the east-central portion of the United States lies the state of Kentucky. With livestock, green hills and pastures and Bourbon, this Bluegrass is filled to the brim with experiences and culture.
If you are contemplating a move to this land of horse racing, and tobacco farming, then you have come to the perfect place. In this guide we will aim to provide you with all the information you need to help make your decision on moving to Kentucky.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Kentucky?
Let’s begin with alcohol, like all good experiences. Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon. So get ready to fall in love with this amazing alcohol. Get yourself a Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport and go around the state tasting the nectar of the Gods. Hunting is also big here. A simple way to understand it is to accept that everyone hunts and they hunt practically everything. There’s always a season open for some kind of animal or game.
Being a southern state, the folk in Kentucky are truly good. They are friendly and extremely welcoming and long before you know it, your interaction with them will give you the famous hillbilly southern accent. Embrace it. Just get used to the frequent tornado warning and to 5 seasons, 4 traditional ones and the 5th being Derby season. Yup, get ready to put on your derby hats and place your bets.
When in Kentucky, marvellous sites sure aren’t hard to come by, with Mammoth Cave National Park being a prime example. Similarly, there’s also the Red River Gorge Geological Area.
Crime Rate In Kentucky
Kentucky is a very safe state. The crime rate in the state is well below the national average. The violent crime rate in the city is 2.2 incidents per 1000 people and the property crime rate in the city is 19.0 incidents per 1000 people. This means that you have a 1 in 461 chance of being a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 53 chance of being a victim to a property crime.
The climate in Kentucky is humid and subtropical with oceanic climates in the highlands of the southeastern region of the state. The state experiences moderately hot summers and cold winters.
Midway through the month of March, spring comes knocking on the state doors, and stays till the end of May. The temperatures vary from 38°F to 81°F, with the temperatures rising each passing week. Spring also happens to be the wettest season of the year, with early spring receiving little rainfall and snow, while the later month of May happens to be the wettest month of the year. In the month of May keep an eye out for frequent Thunderstorms.
Kentucky comes alive in April and May when spring is in full swing, making it the perfect time to step out, explore and enjoy the breathtaking landscape. Boating, fishing and relaxing around the lake are common in this season.
With the passing of spring, the months of June, July and August bring the summer season to the state. Temperatures range from 82°F to 92°F throughout the season. You can expect frequent thunderstorms in the month of June, while July is the hottest month of the year. The season is the best time to enjoy the outdoors and go camping in the lush green scenery or have a picnic on the many shorelines. The trending fashion of the season is sweatshirts and shorts
The beautiful season of Autumn graces the state with her arrival in September and stays on till November. With the arrival of this season you can start to feel the heat begin to dissipate. Temperatures in the early days range from 77°F to 83°F to a cooler range of 32°F to 62°F in the later month of November. The later days also see the temperatures dropping below freezing at night.
The burst of autumn hues in from the early days of September signal the harvest season, with orchards and pumpkin patches ripe for the picking. The scenic view, outdoor activities like hiking, the festivals and cozy atmosphere make this one of the best times in the year to be in Kentucky
December brings the frost bitten winds to the state, with temperatures dropping from 31°F to as low as 23°F in January. The season sees rain and snowfall, with snow being more prevalent during January, the snowiest month of the year.
But with this cold atmosphere come a lot of opportunities for recreation. The snow covered mountains and hills make for a killer view, especially for the winter adventurers and ice skating rinks open around the state. The sky tends to be cloudy and the wind chilly, but warm jackets and a fire make for a cozy and comfortable time during winter.
Just be safe when you drive as the precipitation can make the roads icy and slippery.
Is It Expensive To Live In Kentucky?
According to the United States Census Bureau, the average household income in the state of Kentucky is $50,589. This is lower than the national average household income of $66,039.
The state of Kentucky has a statewide sales tax rate of 6%. The property tax rate in Kentucky is 0.82%. This means that on average, a property owner in the state will have to pay $1,257 annually in property taxes.
Cost Of Living In Kentucky
The cost of living across the state in Kentucky is well below the national average. One of the contributors for the low cost of living in Kentucky is the low cost of housing in the state. Combine this with the cost of groceries, utilities and transportation being lower than the national average and voila, the cost of living ends up cheaper than the nationwide average.
To give you some context regarding this, we’re sharing below the cost of living index of Kentucky. Do keep in mind that the national average is always set at 100. Overall, Kentucky has a cost of living index of 90.9. This is below the national average we mentioned above. Here’s the breakdown:
- Grocery: 91
- Housing: 81.6
- Utility: 97.3
- Transportation: 97.9
Healthcare is also an aspect in calculating your cost of living. Value Penguin estimates that the average cost of healthcare for a 40 year old individual would be around 470. They estimate that this is 3% from the previous year.
They also estimate that if you are a family of three, two 40 year old adults and a child, then you would have to pay an estimated $1,337 in healthcare. For the same family but with an extra child, making them a family of 4, the average healthcare plan will cost them approximately $1,645 a month, while a family consisting of a single parent and a child would end up paying an average $822 a month.
Buying A House
As per the data on Zillow, the estimated median home value of a home in Kentucky is roughly $202,739. This is a 10.6% increase in value over the last year.
Renting A House
According to HomeSnacks, the average rent you would pay in Kentucky for an average apartment of 1,227 sq ft, would be $1,100. This is calculated at an average rate of $0.896 per sq ft. Compared to the national average of $1650, the average rent in Kentucky is 33.3% cheaper.
A studio apartment in the state would cost you roughly $1,002 while a 1 bedroom apartment would cost you $866 in rent. A 2 bedroom and a 3 bedroom apartment would cost roughly $949 and $1,199 in rent.
The other major contributor to the cost of living is the cost of utilities in the state. The cost of utilities in the state are lower than the national average of $370.16. The cost of electricity in the state is roughly $120.08, while the cost of the water bill is around $70.93 and the gas costs an estimated $58.83. Combine this with other miscellaneous bills like the internet bill for example and your average utility bill would be around $357.77, which is lower than the national average.
Kentucky Employment Opportunities
Kentucky does not have the best economy in the state. In fact in 2019, US News did a report on the state and ranked it 40th for economy in the entire nation. That is not a ranking to write home about. According to the U.S Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the state is 5% as of March 2021. This is only a 0.5% dip from October of last year. The minimum wage in Kentucky is the same as the current federal minimum wage rate, which is $7.25 per hour.
At one time, Kentucky’s main industry was agriculture. However, as time passed, the state realized that it would not be feasible for the economy and has since then welcomed other industries. But it is well worth mentioning that the dominant industry varies from region to region. That being said, the main industries in the state are manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare. Some of the smaller industries are mining and construction. Of these, the largest hiring fields are healthcare and manufacturing with the healthcare industry paying better and with more opportunities.
Kentucky does not rank at the top in terms of education. A 2019 report by US News ranks Kentucky 36th in education. Considering that it is 36th among 50 states, you get an idea of their education system. Though their education system may be lacking, the students of the state are not. A recent study by US News showed that Kentucky boasts the highest graduation rates in the country at 94%.
Private school tuition in Kentucky is estimated to be around $7,039 per year, according to Private School Review. The average cost of tuition for a private highschool is roughly $7,941 per year while the average tuition for a private elementary school is around $6,216 a year. The average tuition fees for colleges in Kentucky is $6,455 for a resident of the state and $18,552 for a student from out of the state. This is higher than the national average for out of state students, which is $17,871.
Getting Around Kentucky
Kentucky has fairly decent public transportation in the form of buses and taxis in the major cities of the state, but this is absent everywhere else. The state also lacks an intercity rail service.
The Kentucky buses are the alternative to rail travel in the city. Sure the rides may not be the most comfortable and you may not have the option of a restroom, but with the buses you can practically travel between any town and city in the state.
There are 5 bus companies that operate within the state. Miller Transportation and Tornado Bus run services within the state. Miller Transportation runs a service that connects 10 cities in Kentucky while Tornado Bus runs a service connecting two cities within the state. The remaining three companies of Jefferson Lines, Greyhound and Amtrak Thruway do not provide specific scheduled routes between cities with the states, but they run routes that connect cities in Kentucky with other states.
Though trains are great at getting into the state of Kentucky, they are not great to travel in and around Kentucky. Amtrak runs two services through Kentucky – The Cardinal from New York to Chicago and the city of New Orleans service that runs between Chicago and New Orleans. These services stop at the only four Amtrak stations in the state at Ashland, Fulton, Maysville, and South Portsmouth. The average cost of train tickets for these services is $147, with the cheapest ticket costing $19 and the most expensive ticket costing $346.
There are 5 airports in the state of Kentucky that cater to passenger flights. Of these 5 airports, Louisville International Airport and the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport are the two international airports in the state. The remaining three airports of Lexington Blue Grass Airport, Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport and Barkley Regional Airport are the regional or domestic airports in the state.
Taxi And Cab Travel
Taxis are only available in the major cities like Louisville and Lexington. Some of the major taxi companies in these cities are Yellow Cab in Louisville and Blue Grass Taxi in Lexington. The same principle applies to Uber and Lyft. If you are in the major cities, their services are available for you to use. The base fare for the taxis is around $2.70, and the ride will charge you $2.30 per mile. You are charged $30 per hour for waiting and standing time. Most of the residents of the state drive themselves around.
Kentucky has a plethora of highways, parkways and U.S and state routes consisting of 79,598 miles of roadways. All in all, Kentucky has 5 major interstate routes, the I-24, I-64, I-65, I-71 and I-75. Most of the folks drive themselves around the state due to the absence of a decent public transport system within and between cities.
Best Cities To Live In Kentucky
A city home to hardworking people, Fort Thomas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 2.9%. Sitting on the banks of the Ohio River, the residents of the city describe it as Elegant. Not overly expensive, with great schools, safe neighbourhoods, and local breweries, the city gives you that feeling of living in a charming small town.
The city does not lack in terms of modern day amenities, with a great nightlife and co-working spaces. Fort Thomas is both appealing to young families and those looking to retire, with its favourable cost of living.
- Median home value: $271,388
- Average market rent: $850
Home to the one and only Kentucky Fried Chicken, Louisville is the largest city in the state. The city is also home to many major industry headquarters like Walmart and Ford Motor Company to name a few.
Though a large population, but not overcrowded, the major city offers many modern amenities like shopping and a lively nightlife, along with great schools and a buzzing hub for employment. Louisville is also home to 6 universities, which is the reason for a large number of youth in the city.
Now despite being a major city, the cost of living is affordable and the rent is fairly cheap here. Another added bonus is that Louisville is surrounded by many great suburbs, just a short drive away, where one can look to settle down or retire.
- Population: 1,098,000
- Median home value: $202,739
- Average market rent: $873
Also Read: 7 U.S. Cities With The Lowest Cost of Living
This is one of the best places to live, not just in Kentucky, but also the whole of the U.S. Bowling Green is uniquely located just a couple hours away from Lexington and Louisville, making it perfect to be able to live disconnected from the city life, but not lose out on its perks like job opportunities and recreation.
The city is also home to Western Kentucky University andis a great place for both schools and colleges. Bowling Green is affordable, gives you amazing scenery, a great community and has a thriving economy. No wonder the residents of the city love it here. Being less than an hour from the city of Nashville, you can imagine just how easy it is to get good food and music.
All in all, Bowling green is a great place to put down roots or to come and retire. It promises a peaceful life, while giving you the opportunity to seek out that fast modern lifestyle when you need it.
- Population: 183,992
- Median home value: $190,567
- Average market rent: $739
Is Kentucky A Good Place To Live?
This is a tricky question. In certain aspects, yes but in others, no.
The state is not the best in terms of economy and education. If you are looking for a fresh start or a new lease of life, it may not be the best place to look for a job. Even though the state has some promising industries, you may not get a great job unless you have some experience in those fields. You may just end up working a minimum wage job, which again is literally the federal minimum. The same goes for schooling. Even if you live in an area with the best schools, the state’s schooling system is not even average.
But if you got a great job lined up, and education is not your concern, you own a car, can afford to live in the major cities and towns and love KFC, then yes the state is great to move to. Hopefully you are not scared of thunderstorms and love the outdoors. Because if you move to Kentucky, it would be a shame if you do not experience all of it.