Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Kentucky
Bringing together a blend of Midwestern style with that touch of Southern hospitality, Kentucky is well-known throughout the U.S as the birthplace of several “Americana” traditions.
From classic fried chicken and mutton BBQ to manufacturing the world’s finest bourbon, bluegrass music, and excited college basketball fans, Kentucky’s cultural mark on America is undeniable. Besides this, it also has a low cost of living, affordable housing, friendly communities state-wide, and low pollution.
In the last few decades, Kentucky has become a popular moving destination, with people leaving expensive states for quieter living. That’s why Kentucky has grown and now has 4.5 million residents.
Moving to Kentucky could be a fantastic decision for you, whether you’re a college student, a young professional, someone who wants to settle down with family, or a recent retiree. The state has something for everyone.
You’ll find a growing business landscape, providing many job opportunities and excellent public schools and colleges. And if you’re an “outdoorsy” type of person, count yourself luck: Kentucky has many state parks and beautiful landscapes.
Before you pack up your bags and move to the Bluegrass State, you should get to know Kentucky a little better. That’s why we’ve prepared an in-depth guide on everything you should know about moving to Kentucky. Let’s dive right in.
Located in the Southeast, Kentucky has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are mild. If you visit Kentucky in July or August, you’ll find high temperatures hovering around 86°F and high humidity levels ranging from 60% to 80%.
In the winter, temperatures can drop as low as 27 °F, and there could be some precipitation in the form of rain or snow.
Depending on where you’re located in Kentucky, you might find some weather variations. North and Central Kentucky have milder temperatures compared to the scorching heat of the South.
Wherever you are, you’ll find that the weather can change unpredictably, often from one hour of the day to the next. You’ll be walking around on a sunny day that suddenly turns into a thunderstorm. In terms of rainfall, Kentucky experiences an average of four inches, with some chances of snow during the cold winter months.
When we look at the risk of natural disasters, Kentucky is prone to tornadoes. That’s why it’s also been called the “Tornado Alley.” Other natural threats include flooding, thunderstorms, landslides, and hurricanes.
As a new Kentucky resident, you’ll have to consider how the move will affect you regarding income, property, and sales taxes.
Kentucky has a flat state income tax of 5%, but some counties may levy their own additional local tax, which could amount bring the total potential tax amount to 7.5%. For example, a median household income of $50,589 would pay $2,395 in taxes.
On the other hand, Kentucky’s 0.83% property tax is much lower than the national average. So if you were buying a house for the median price of $141,000, you would have to pay $1,227 in property taxes. Finally, the sales tax in the Bluegrass State is 6%, and counties are not allowed to add any additional local taxes.
Cost of Living in Kentucky
Moving to Kentucky means you’ll have a lower cost of living so you can afford a higher quality of life. The national average cost of living is measured by an index of 100. Any state ranking below 100 offers a more affordable living, while states ranking above 100 are more expensive. Kentucky’s cost of living index falls around 83.6.
When living in Kentucky, you’ll find that groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare all fall below the U.S average.
By far, the most affordable “item” on your living wishlist is housing.
The median home cost in Kentucky is $144,000, while the median monthly rent is $763. While there are deviations from this median depending on location, it’s clear that most individuals on a two-income salary will be able to easily afford a home when living in Kentucky.
If you want something below the median price, the most affordable places to live in Kentucky are:
- Central City
Employment in Kentucky
The Kentucky job market has steadily changed. As a traditionally rural state, its economy relies heavily on agriculture and manufacturing. And while these industries are still very much relevant to Kentucky, the state has also been diversifying by growing its healthcare and hospitality industries, as well as service-based jobs related to these niches.
Unemployment now sits 4.3% in Kentucky, thanks to growth in these sectors. Some of the fastest-growing jobs in Kentucky include Home Health Aid, Physical Therapist Assistant, Operations Analyst, Certified Nurse, Tour Guide, and more.
The top industries in the state include:
If you are looking for a job in Kentucky, you should focus on the bigger cities as they have more opportunities. This is especially true of the capital city Frankfort.
The top employers for the state are:
- Humana Inc. (Louisville)
- Norton Hospital Behavioral (Louisville)
- St. Elizabeth Healthcare (Edgewood)
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing (Georgetown)
- Corrections Department (Frankfort)
When living in Kentucky, you will need health care services. So it’s best to understand what the quality is and how you can gain access to it. Against other states in the country, Kentucky ranks at #44.
Looking at specific attributes of the system, healthcare access ranks at #16, while healthcare quality and public health are both at #46. So while most Kentucky residents can access services and only around 9% are without health insurance, there’s room for improvement.
If you’re living in Kentucky, you can gain access to health insurance by enrolling in a health plan during the specific enrollment period from November to January each year. If you move to Kentucky outside of this period, you can still enroll because your move is a qualifying event that allows you to still gain access to insurance outside of the enrollment period.
Kentucky offers a variety of plans, from the most affordable Bronze plan to the Silver and expensive Gold plans. If you’re a 35-year-old married person with two children, you will be paying a premium ranging from $930 to $1,555. For a 65-year-old person, these premiums increase to a range of $1,328 to $2,222. You can also enroll in Medicaid and Medicare, depending on your eligibility.
Education in Kentucky
In terms of education, Kentucky ranks somewhere in the lower middle half compared to the rest of the country. Currently, Kentucky education is ranked at #36, with PreK to 12th-grade ranking at #33 and higher education at #38.
You’ll be able to find quality schools and colleges across the state. Consider some of these highly ranked schools in the Bluegrass State:
- University of Kentucky (Lexington)
- University of Louisville (Louisville)
- Berea College (Berea)
- Centre College (Danville)
- Spalding University (Louisville)
- Murray State University (Murrey)
- Georgetown College (Georgetown)
- Asbury University (Wilmore)
If you have a younger child and you’re thinking about living in Kentucky, then these are some of the best school districts:
- Fort Thomas Independent Schools (Fort Thomas)
- Murray Independent Schools (Murray)
- Beechwood Independent Schools (Fort Mitchell)
- Pikeville Independent Schools (Pikeville)
- Boyle County Public Schools (Danville)
- Hazard Independent Schools (Hazard)
- Bowling Green Independent Schools (Bowling Green)
- Corbin Independent Schools (Corbin)
- Oldham County Public Schools (Buckner)
- Russell Independent Schools (Russell)
Southern states are famous for their easygoing way of life and the opportunity to have outdoor adventures. Kentucky is one of them. You’ll find plenty of exciting outdoor activities to experience in the state.
Don’t miss visiting the Red River Gorge, the Mammoth Cave National Park, Lake Cumberland, Cumberland Falls State Park, and the Ohio River. You should also visit the Kentucky caves because the state has the world’s longest cave system.
If you’re a fan of horse racing, then you’re moving to the right state. Kentucky is famous for its derby season, otherwise known as Kentucky Derby. Don’t miss out on visiting the Churchill Downs, one of the most famous racetracks in the state.
Many museums and historical sites explore the state’s rich history, such as the Louisville Slugger Museum. Kentucky residents are also diehard fans of college basketball, and you should attend any of the games — especially the Kentucky vs. West Virginia games.
And if you love delicious Southern food, Kentucky will not disappoint you. You can have plenty of different types of cuisines, fried food, artisanal food, and more.
But if you want to visit all these places, you should also plan to transport your car here. Make sure to get your vehicle registration up to date and your KY driver’s license.
5 Best Places to Live in Kentucky
Now that we know more about Kentucky, it’s time to explore the best places to live in the state. Here are our top five picks.
With a small population of 7,200, Flatwoods in Eastern Kentucky is one of the most vibrant communities and the safest place to live in Kentucky. It’s an idyllic suburb with beautiful and clean streets, interesting shops, restaurants, and several churches. There are many nice parks and family-oriented activities to do.
Housing is also incredibly cheap, with the median home value at only $89,000. And the schools are also great here. All in all, if you want a beautiful suburb to live in, Flatwoods is the place for you.
Even smaller than Flatwoods, Indian Hills in Central Kentucky has a population of only 3,000. This is the best place to live in if you plan to raise a family. 98% of residents own their homes, and housing prices are on the higher end of the spectrum.
Median values of homes in Indian Hills fall around $502,000, which means it’s clearly a coveted place to buy a house and settle down. It’s only a 15-minute drive to Louisville, so you can easily commute to the city for work. Other than that, it’s a quiet and peaceful place with many family activities.
A bigger city, Lexington has 322,000 residents and is known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” The city is known for its derbies and horse racing tracks. It receives plenty of tourists, making it a lively and diverse place.
It is rich in history, and you can go out shopping, dining, and have a great nightlife. You should also attend one of the famous Kentucky Wildcats games and witness the excitement of college sports.
There are also plenty of job opportunities in Lexington, and you can easily buy a home for the median price of $186,000. Lexington is the perfect place for young professionals, recent graduates, and families who want an active life full of things to do.
One of the most famous and largest cities in Kentucky, Louisville is considered a first-class city in Central Kentucky. Its more than 615,000 residents provide a melting pot of diversity, where you can find Southern and Midwestern hospitality, cuisine, and affordability.
Try the original Kentucky Fried Chicken and attend the annual Kentucky State Fair for some great fun. The city is famous for its sports, food, and education and is also the home of many Fortune 500 companies. So, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a job here.
You have great education, especially if you have high-school-aged children who attend the Dupont Manual High School. There are many opportunities, and you can lead an active lifestyle and can afford a home at the median value of $164,000.
The final town on the list is Wilmore. It has a small population of 6,300 residents, but it’s incredibly close to Lexington, so it provides a suburban town with a big city feeling. You can easily commute to the city for work while living in a quiet and peaceful place.
The low housing prices at a median cost of $160,000, the tight-knit community, and the safety of Wilmore are what attract people to move here. While you would think that this place would be full of families and retirees, Wilmore is the home of Asbury University and is therefore mostly known as a college town.
The median age of individuals living here rings in at 27 years old, so, despite its size, there are many activities for young professionals.
A transitional state between the Midwest and the deep South, Kentucky has a flourishing economy, beautiful outdoors, and an affordable cost of living. It’s also known as horse country, so racing fans are especially excited to visit Kentucky.
In recent years, it has attracted newcomers, who have chosen to leave expensive states and settle into Kentucky’s peaceful and vibrant communities. The state has something for everyone, and people are bound to find a community to fit in, whether they are college students, graduates, young professionals, families, or retirees.
If you’ve decided to take the leap and move to Kentucky, you’re not alone. But it’s quite challenging to move your belongings from one state to another, and you have to ship your car too. At Guardian Auto Transport, we can take care of the latter.
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