Barren County, Kentucky

For the progressive bluegrass album, see Barren County (album).
Barren County, Kentucky

Barren County Courthouse in Glasgow
Map of Kentucky highlighting Barren County
Location in the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1798
Named for The Barrens, a region of grassland in Kentucky
Seat Glasgow
Largest city Glasgow
  Total 500 sq mi (1,295 km2)
  Land 488 sq mi (1,264 km2)
  Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 2.5%
  (2010) 42,173
  Density 87/sq mi (34/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Barren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 42,173.[1] Its county seat is Glasgow.[2] The county was founded on December 20, 1798,[3] from parts of Warren and Green Counties. It was named for the Barrens, meadow lands that cover the northern third,[4] though actually the soil is fertile.[5]

Barren County is part of the Glasgow, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Bowling Green-Glasgow, KY Combined Statistical Area.

In 2007 Barren County was named the "Best Place to Live in Rural America" by Progressive Farmer Magazine.[6]


Barren County was established in 1798 from land given by Green County and Warren County. Six courthouses have served the county throughout its history, the first built of logs.[7]

Barren County, like most of south central Kentucky, was settled by the Scots-Irish, and still bears many cultural aspects that trace back to that heritage. The Scottish heritage is the most evident, as indicated by the name of the county seat, which is named for Glasgow, Scotland, and is celebrated annually with the Glasgow Highland Games, one of three highland games held each year in Kentucky.

Barren is a prohibition or dry county, with two exceptions:

Bowling Green, just to the west, also offers full liquor sales.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 500 square miles (1,300 km2), of which 488 square miles (1,260 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.5%) is water.[10]

Barren River Lake is located in the southern part of the county, forming part of its boundary with Allen County. Barren River Lake State Resort Park is located primarily within Barren County, along the lake's shoreline.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201543,570[11]3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 38,033 people, 15,346 households, and 10,941 families residing in the county. The population density was 78 per square mile (30/km2). There were 17,095 housing units at an average density of 35 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.30% White, 4.09% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. 0.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,346 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.30% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 25.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91.

The age distribution was 24.20% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,240, and the median income for a family was $37,231. Males had a median income of $29,860 versus $21,208 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,816. About 11.80% of families and 15.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.30% of those under age 18 and 19.10% of those age 65 or over.


Christianity is the predominant religion in the county. The Southern Baptist Convention is the leading Protestant denomination in terms of adherents, with Glasgow Baptist Church being the largest congregation in the county. Missionary Baptist, United Methodist, Free Methodist, Presbyterian (including Cumberland Presbyterian), Episcopalian, Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ including non-institutional,[17] Assemblies of God, and numerous independent churches are located in the county, as well as two Roman Catholic parishes, an LDS ward, and a sizable Amish community. No known Jewish, Muslim or other religions are known to have houses of worship within the county.


Barren County is primarily rural in nature, with agriculture as the primary industry. Glasgow, the county seat, has numerous manufacturing facilities, and is also a medical and retail hub for the area. Cave City is also a popular lodging area for tourists visiting nearby Mammoth Cave National Park.


Voter registration

Barren County Voter Registration & Party Enrollment as of November 17, 2015[18]
Political Party Total Voters Percentage
Democratic 16,589 55.40%
Republican 11,502 38.41%
Others 1,008 3.37%
Independent 782 2.61%
Libertarian 38 0.13%
Green 15 0.05%
Total 29,946 100%

Statewide elections

Previous Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 65.92% 10,922 32.59% 5,400 1.49% 246
2008 66.24% 11,133 32.33% 5,434 1.43% 240
2004 67.05% 10,822 32.32% 5,216 0.63% 102
2000 63.14% 8,741 35.61% 4,930 1.25% 173
1996 48.13% 5,700 42.59% 5,044 9.28% 1,100
1992 42.14% 5,467 43.84% 5,688 14.02% 1,818
Previous Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2015 57.40% 5,289 38.72% 3,568 3.88% 358
2011 38.22% 3,003 56.31% 4,425 5.47% 430
2007 47.41% 5,279 52.59% 5,856 0.00% 0
2003 56.53% 5,065 43.47% 3,895 0.00% 0
1999 17.33% 598 75.83% 2,616 6.84% 236
1995 45.38% 3,882 54.62% 4,672 0.00% 0


The county is home to all or part of three school districts:


Barren County is served by Interstate 65, which goes through the northwest part of the county, and the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway, a former toll road that is designated to be part of the future Interstate 66 corridor. U.S. Routes 31E, 31W, and 68 also pass through the county.

Railroad service is provided by CSX Transportation, whose former Louisville and Nashville Railroad main line passes through Cave City and Park City. The Glasgow Railway Company is a short line which owns a branch from Park City (which was formerly called Glasgow Junction) to Glasgow; the line is serviced via an operating lease by CSX.




Barren County's industry includes these companies in different fields

Cave City's main industry in Barren County's economy is tourism, thanks to its proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park, which is one of the top ten most visited attractions in Kentucky. A number of motels and restaurants are located at the interchange of Interstate 65 and state routes 70 and 90, which cater to tourists visiting the area or just passing through, thereby making Cave City, and much of northwest Barren County a tourism hot-spot. The city operates a small convention center that is popular with church groups and other family-related organizations, mainly because of the area's lack of crime and abundance of tourist attractions. Cave City has long been a gateway to Mammoth Cave; in the era of passenger rail travel, trains of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad would discharge tourists there, who would then be shuttled to the cave. The agricultural industry is also a big factor in the area's economy.

Sites and events of interest

Events include, but not limited to the following:

Notable people

Henry Skaggs (January 8, 1724 - December 4, 1810), an American longhunter, explorer and pioneer, lived in Hiseville

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Barren County. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  4. Barren County, Kentucky
  5. The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 34.
  6. "Best Places to Live in Rural America 2007". The Progressive Farmer. 2007. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  7. Hogan, Roseann Reinemuth (1992). Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. Ancestry Publishing. p. 190. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  8. Kinslow, Gina (September 9, 2014). "Cave City liquor ordinance approved". Glasgow Daily Times. Glasgow, KY. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  9. Dickerson, Brad; Neitzel, Stacy L. (2007-11-07). "Liquor by the drink passes". Glasgow (KY) Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  10. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  11. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  12. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  13. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  14. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  15. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. "Churches of Christ in the United States". Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  18. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-26. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  19. Barren County School District Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. "Glasgow Independent Schools map" (PDF). Kentucky Department of Revenue. 1996. Retrieved 2008-02-07. As of 2008, Barren County High is still at the location indicated on the map (look in the southern part of the city, near the Cumberland Parkway). Although Barren County Middle is not listed on this map, it is located on the same street as the high school, as indicated at the official Barren County Schools website.

External links

Coordinates: 36°58′N 85°56′W / 36.96°N 85.93°W / 36.96; -85.93

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