Moving to Kentucky

So, you're considering a move to the Bluegrass State? Wise choice! Kentucky is a hidden gem, offering more than just the world's best bourbon and horse races. With its lush green landscapes, vibrant cities, and warm, friendly people, there's so much to discover in this captivating state. Our comprehensive Kentucky relocation guide is here to help you get a taste of that sweet southern charm and prepare you for your big move. Buckle up, and let's embark on this exciting journey together!

Moving to Kentucky landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Kentucky

1. Get ready for some Southern charm and hospitality

One of the first things you'll notice when moving to Kentucky is the Southern charm and hospitality that this state has to offer. From the moment you arrive, you'll be greeted by friendly neighbors, warm smiles, and plenty of good food. So, if you're craving some down-home cooking and genuine kindness, then you've come to the right place!

2. Horse lovers will be in heaven

It's no secret that Kentucky is famous for its horses, especially when it comes to thoroughbred racing. If you're a horse lover, moving to the Bluegrass State means you'll be surrounded by some of the most beautiful horse farms and racetracks in the world. Be sure to check out the Kentucky Horse Park, where you can learn about the history of thoroughbred racing and even meet some retired racehorses. And, of course, don't forget to tune into the "most exciting two minutes in sports" – the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs every May.

3. Bourbon is a way of life

If you're a fan of bourbon, you're in for a treat. Kentucky is home to some of the best bourbon distilleries in the world, and there's no shortage of opportunities to taste and learn about this iconic American spirit. Whether you're sipping on a classic Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby or visiting the famous Bourbon Trail, there's always a reason to raise a glass in the Bluegrass State. Just remember to enjoy responsibly!

4. The outdoor adventures are endless

Kentucky offers an abundance of outdoor activities to cater to any interest. If you're a fan of hiking, you're in luck – Kentucky is home to more than 12,000 miles of hiking trails. Red River Gorge, in particular, is a hiker's paradise, with its rugged cliffs, winding trails, and stunning vistas. If water activities are more your speed, head to one of the state's many lakes or rivers for boating, fishing, or kayaking. Or, if you're an adrenaline junkie, consider trying out some spelunking at Mammoth Cave National Park – the world's longest known cave system!

5. You'll learn to love college basketball

When it comes to sports, Kentuckians take their college basketball very seriously. The state is home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the University of Louisville Cardinals, and the rivalry between the two teams is intense. Even if you don't arrive as a fan of either team, living in Kentucky will almost certainly turn you into one – so be prepared to pick a side and start cheering!

6. It's called the Bluegrass State for a reason

Now, one of Kentucky's lesser-known secrets: the Bluegrass State moniker is not just about music – it's also about the actual bluegrass that grows here! Thanks to the rich limestone soil found in central Kentucky, the grass that grows in this region has a distinctive blue tint to it, especially when it's allowed to grow tall. The sight of vast fields of beautiful bluegrass is truly one of the unique charms of living in Kentucky. And of course, while you're here, be sure to immerse yourself in some of the state's world-famous bluegrass music!

7. Modern art and ancient fossils co-exist

One of the more unexpected aspects of living in Kentucky is the discovery that modern art fans and fossil enthusiasts can find common ground. The 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville combines a boutique hotel with an art museum displaying contemporary art exhibits, winning awards and high praise from travelers and art lovers alike. Meanwhile, just a few hours away in northern Kentucky, the 450-million-year-old limestone deposits at Big Bone Lick State Park showcase some of the most extensive and well-preserved invertebrate fossil beds in the U.S. It's truly a testament to the diverse range of experiences Kentucky has to offer.

In conclusion, moving to Kentucky brings with it a rich and varied lifestyle that combines Southern hospitality, natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and a love of horses and bourbon. By embracing these unique features and diving into the local culture, there's no doubt that newcomers will quickly feel right at home in the Bluegrass State!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Kentucky

Pros of Living in Kentucky

Low Cost of Living

Kentucky is known for its affordable housing and overall lower cost of living compared to many other states in the U.S. This makes it an ideal place for people looking to stretch their budgets or for those looking to retire on a fixed income. In addition to housing, utilities and transportation costs are also relatively low.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation

Kentucky is home to beautiful natural attractions, including Mammoth Cave National Park, Red River Gorge, and the Kentucky Horse Park. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and spelunking, among other activities. The state also offers picturesque landscapes, such as the rolling hills of the Bluegrass Region and the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky.

Horse Racing and Bourbon Culture

Kentucky is famous for its horse racing, specifically the Kentucky Derby, which is held annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Horse enthusiasts will find many opportunities to explore this cultural aspect of the state. Additionally, Kentucky is renowned for its bourbon production, and visitors can tour the many distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to learn about and sample this iconic American spirit.

Historical and Cultural Attractions

Kentucky has a rich history, dating back to its role as a border state during the American Civil War. There are numerous historical sites and attractions throughout the state, including the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The state also has a vibrant arts scene, with institutions like the Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

Good Colleges and Universities

Kentucky is home to several respected higher education institutions, including the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and Berea College. These schools offer a variety of programs and degrees, making Kentucky an attractive place for those looking to further their education or find job opportunities in academia.

Cons of Living in Kentucky

Lower Median Income

While the cost of living in Kentucky is relatively low, it's important to note that the state's median income is also below the national average. This could be a potential drawback for those seeking higher salaries or career advancement, as wage growth in the state may be limited compared to other regions of the country.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Kentucky experiences a wide range of weather conditions, with hot and humid summers and cold, icy winters. Severe weather, including thunderstorms and tornadoes, can also be a concern in certain parts of the state. Residents should be prepared for these weather changes and any potential impact they may have on daily life.

Higher Poverty Rate

Kentucky's poverty rate is somewhat higher than the national average, particularly in rural areas and the eastern part of the state. While this factoid may not directly impact all residents, it's still important to consider how this socioeconomic situation may affect the overall quality of life and availability of resources and services in the state.

Lower Healthcare Rankings

According to various state healthcare ranking reports, Kentucky regularly falls in the lower tier for overall healthcare quality and access. Potential residents with specific healthcare needs or concerns should research the facilities and providers in the areas they are considering and assess their ability to access the care they need.

Public Education Challenges

Kentucky faces some challenges with its public education system, including limited funding and lower standardized test scores compared to the national average. Prospective residents with school-aged children or who work in the education sector may want to closely examine the specific educational opportunities and resources in the communities they're considering before making a move to Kentucky.

Nighttime picture of Kentucky highlighting pros and cons of living in Kentucky

Is Kentucky a Good State to Live In?

Kentucky is a great place to live because of its scenic beauty, friendly atmosphere, and affordable cost of living. The state is known for its beautiful landscapes with rolling hills, horse farms, and the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, while also offering cultural attractions and thriving cities like Louisville and Lexington.

What Is Kentucky Famous For?


Kentucky is known as the birthplace of bourbon, a uniquely American whiskey. With over 68 distilleries, the Bluegrass State produces approximately 95% of the world's bourbon, making it a must-visit destination for whiskey enthusiasts.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a prestigious horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. This iconic event, also known as the "Run for the Roses" or "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports," attracts visitors from around the world with its thrilling races, stylish hats, and, of course, refreshing mint juleps.

Bluegrass Music

Kentucky is the home of bluegrass music, which originated in the Appalachian region in the 1940s. This lively form of American roots music, characterized by its use of string instruments and strong vocal harmonies, was named after the state's famous Bluegrass region where it first gained popularity.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky boasts the world's longest cave system, with over 400 miles of spectacular underground passageways and stunning geological formations. Visitors can explore this natural wonder through various guided tours, making it an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and explorers alike.

Capital building of Kentucky in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

Property tax rates in Kentucky are relatively low compared to other states, with a statewide average effective rate of 0.81%. Kentucky ranks 36th in the United States in terms of property tax rates.

Sales Tax

Kentucky has a state sales tax rate of 6% which is slightly below average when compared to other states. There are no additional local sales taxes, keeping the sales tax burden relatively low for Kentucky residents.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Kentucky has adopted a flat income tax rate of 5%, replacing the previous progressive income tax system. This places Kentucky's income tax rate near the middle of the pack compared to other states in the country.

Housing Market

The housing market in Kentucky offers affordable options for both renters and buyers compared to other states. With a median home value of $151,400, Kentucky's real estate is significantly lower than the national average. Rent rates also follow this trend, with the median monthly rent at approximately $1,045. Low costs of living and growing job opportunities in major cities such as Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green make the Bluegrass State an attractive option for those seeking budget-friendly homes in a stable environment.

Housing market analysis of Kentucky

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Kentucky is relatively low compared to other states in the U.S., with an overall cost of living index of 89.9 (compared to the national index of 100). This makes Kentucky an attractive destination for those seeking affordability. The state benefits from low housing and transportation costs, with relatively stable prices for groceries, healthcare, and utilities. However, it is essential to consider factors like job market and average salary while making comparisons, as these can impact the overall affordability and quality of life in any location.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Kentucky, located in the southeastern region of the United States, experiences a moderate climate characterized by relatively mild winters and warm, humid summers. The diverse topography, encompassing the Appalachian Mountains to the east and the Mississippi River to the west, results in varied microclimates across the state. Generally, temperatures are cooler in the eastern highlands while more moderate in the western lowlands. Kentucky's precipitation is abundant, averaging around 46 inches per year, with the heaviest rainfall during spring and early summer.

Weather in Kentucky is influenced by its position within the transition zone between subtropical and continental climates. This changeable weather exposes the state to severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and occasional winter storms. Although tornadoes can occur year-round, the peak season is from April to June. Flooding, particularly in low-lying regions near rivers, also poses a significant hazard. As topographical and climatic conditions continue to change, Kentucky may be increasingly susceptible to diverse weather patterns and natural disasters.

Economy & Job Market

Automotive Manufacturing

Healthcare Services

Food and Beverage Production

Coal Mining


Historically, Kentucky's economy has been heavily ingrained in agriculture, primarily with tobacco and horse farming taking center stage. However, over the past few decades, the state has diversified its economy to include various other industries. Today, Kentucky is home to a booming automotive manufacturing industry, with companies such as Toyota, Ford, and General Motors operating in the region. Additionally, the healthcare services industry has grown significantly in recent years, as has the food and beverage production sector, with the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail drawing in tourists and aficionados of the distilled spirit. However, Kentucky's long-standing history in coal mining has seen a decline in recent years, as the demand for renewable energy sources increases.

If you're planning a move to Kentucky and need to navigate its job market, you'll want to pay attention to a few key factors. The state's unemployment rate sits relatively low, around 4.3%, but this rate can fluctuate slightly depending on which area you focus on. For instance, Lexington and Louisville are consistently ranked as the best cities in Kentucky for job seekers, offering the most diverse range of industries and opportunities. In these cities, you'll find a plethora of job openings in automotive manufacturing, healthcare services, and food and beverage production. In rural areas, agriculture remains a strong sector for employment. Overall, Kentucky boasts a vibrant economy with an assortment of industries to cater to various skills and interests.

Traffic and Transportation

Driving through the deep bluegrass can be quite the adventure, especially when you're on a wild horse called Kentucky traffic! Urban dwellers in big cities like Louisville and Lexington might have to hang on tight during rush hour, as commute times average around 22-24 minutes. But never fear, our trusty steeds known as public transportation come to the rescue! Embark on a journey with the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) in Louisville, or hop on the Lextran in Lexington to make your way through the bustling streets.

And when you want to fly like an eagle (or, you know, a racehorse) to explore new lands, let us introduce you to our magical sky chariots - air travel! Kentucky is home to a number of airports, including Louisville International Airport (SDF) and Blue Grass Airport (LEX) in Lexington, ready to whisk you off to new horizons. Buckle up, partner - in Kentucky, we ride through twisting roads and soar through the skies with the same spirit as our thoroughbred champions. Yee-haw!

What is the traffic like in Kentucky?

Things to Do

So, you're moving to Kentucky – get ready to explore some of the most beautiful and fun places the Bluegrass State has to offer. From incredible natural wonders and diverse culinary experiences to fascinating historical sites, here are seven top things to do in Kentucky that should definitely be on your must-see list:

1. Explore Mammoth Cave National Park

As the world's longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park offers 400 miles of subterranean passages, spectacular underground caverns, and unique geological formations. Choose from a variety of tours, ranging from easy walking tours to thrilling wild cave expeditions. And if exploring underground isn't your thing, the park also offers beautiful hiking trails, horseback riding, canoeing, and camping above ground.

2. Sample Delicious Bourbon at Kentucky's Distilleries

No visit to Kentucky would be complete without experiencing its world-famous bourbon. Embark on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail or the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour to explore some of the state's historic and artisan distilleries. Sample iconic brands like Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, or try something new at a small-batch or craft distillery. Don't forget to take a bottle or two home with you as a tasty souvenir.

3. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park

Experience the heart of Kentucky's horse industry at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tour the impressive facilities, watch live horse shows, and get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. Visit the International Museum of the Horse and the American Saddlebred Museum for a deeper dive into the history and impact of horses in Kentucky, and enjoy miles of scenic riding trails and fields throughout the park.

4. Discover the Creation Museum & Ark Encounter

These two unique attractions offer a fascinating look into the biblical story of creation. The Creation Museum features interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, botanical gardens, and live animal encounters to showcase the biblically-based history of the universe. The monumental Ark Encounter is not to be missed, as you explore a life-size replica of Noah's Ark, complete with themed exhibits, dining options, and even a zipline adventure.

5. Experience a Hidden Gem at Blackacre State Nature Preserve

This lesser-known natural oasis is located just outside Louisville and offers over 280 acres of farmland, forest, and wetlands to explore. Blackacre State Nature Preserve is home to a wide variety of native plants and animals, making it a naturalist's paradise. Enjoy hiking trails, birdwatching, or simply savoring a peaceful escape. Blackacre is a great place to learn about Kentucky's past, as it also features a historic homestead and farmstead where visitors can attend workshops and events.

6. Conquer the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area

An adventurer's dream come true, this sprawling outdoor playground offers some of the most rugged and breathtaking landscapes in Kentucky. Whitewater raft through the scenic gorge, hike miles of picturesque trails, or try your hand at rock climbing. Embark on a guided horseback ride or test your skills on the area's premier mountain biking trails for a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience. Visit the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area website to plan your adventure.

7. Attend the World Chicken Festival

While many folks might know about Kentucky's famous Derby day, not many are aware of this unique and quirky annual festival in London, Kentucky. Proudly celebrating the state's love of fried chicken, the World Chicken Festival features live music, a carnival, arts and crafts vendors, and a plethora of chicken-themed activities. Don't miss the famed cooking contest or the chance to dine on the world's largest skillet of fried chicken.

With so much to offer, it's no wonder you're excited to move to Kentucky. Embrace the state's natural beauty, rich history, and charming southern hospitality by making a point to visit these seven top destinations. Happy exploring!

Things to do in Kentucky?

Find Movers for Your Kentucky Relocation

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