Pike County, Kentucky

Pike County, Kentucky

Pike County courthouse in Pikeville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Pike County
Location in the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1821
Named for Zebulon Pike
Seat Pikeville
Largest city Pikeville
  Total 789 sq mi (2,044 km2)
  Land 787 sq mi (2,038 km2)
  Water 1.8 sq mi (5 km2), 0.2%
  (2010) 65,024
  Density 83/sq mi (32/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website http://www.pikecountyky.gov/

Pike County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,024.[1] Its county seat is Pikeville.[2] The county was founded in 1821.[3]

Pike is Kentucky's easternmost county, it is also the state's largest county in terms of land area. Pike County is the 11th largest county in Kentucky in terms of population preceded by Bullitt County and followed by Christian County. Pike County is Kentucky's third largest banking center, with financial institutions and holding companies having more than $1 billion in assets.[4] In the five years spanning 1995-2000, personal income increased by 28%, and the county's per capita income exceeded the national and state average growth rates of the past decade.[5] Pike County is the seventy-first Kentucky county in order of creation.

With regard to the sale of alcohol, it is classified as a moist county—a county in which alcohol sales are prohibited (a dry county), but containing a "wet" city, in this case two cities: Pikeville and Coal Run Village, where package alcohol sales are allowed.[6]


Pike County was founded on December 19, 1821. The county was named for General Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered Pikes Peak.[7] Between 1860 and 1891 the Hatfield-McCoy feud raged in Pike and in bordering Mingo County, West Virginia. On May 6, 1893, Pikeville officially became a city and the county seat.

Pike County is also home to Paul E. Patton, former governor of Kentucky.

The Appalachian News Express, published in Pikeville, is preserved on microfilm by the University of Kentucky Libraries. The microfilm holdings are listed in a master negative database on the UK Libraries Preservation and Digital Programs website.[8]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 789 square miles (2,040 km2), of which 787 square miles (2,040 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) (0.2%) is water.[9] It is the largest county by area in Kentucky.

The main population areas of the county include the city of Pikeville and surrounding suburbs and the unincorporated town of South Williamson which is located in the northeast portion of the county.

Major highways

U.S. Route 23 passes through the Pikeville Cut-Through, the second largest earthmoving project in the Western Hemisphere.

Pike County has a total of 486.285 miles of classified roads.[10]

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201561,792[11]−5.0%
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 68,736 people, 27,612 households, and 20,377 families residing in the county. The population density was 87 per square mile (34/km2). There were 30,923 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile (15/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.35% White, 0.45% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. 0.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The largest self-reported ancestry groups in Pike County, Kentucky are:[17]

There were 27,612 households out of which 33.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.90.

The age distribution was 23.70% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 30.00% from 25 to 44, 24.90% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,930, and the median income for a family was $29,302. Males had a median income of $32,332 versus $19,229 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,005. About 20.60% of families and 23.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.20% of those under age 18 and 16.10% of those age 65 or over. The zip codes 41502 (Pikeville), 41503 (South Williamson), and 41527 (Forest Hills) are the wealthiest portions of the county. 41502 is the 50th wealthiest zip code in Kentucky, 41503 is the 61st wealthiest, and 41527 is the 63rd wealthiest. South Williamson and Forest Hills are located on the Northeast side of the county. These three areas combine to 2,129 residents and make up around 3% of the county's population. The average income for these areas are $51,962 (41502), $49,345 (41503), and $48,484 (41527).[18]


Pike County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016[19] 80.1% 19,747 17.3% 4,280
2012 74.2% 17,590 23.9% 5,646
2008 55.9% 12,655 42.1% 9,525
2004 47.1% 12,611 52.3% 14,002
2000 44.1% 11,005 54.6% 13,611
1996 30.5% 7,160 60.1% 14,126
1992 29.2% 8,212 61.8% 17,358
1988 37.8% 9,976 61.9% 16,339
1984 42.7% 11,869 56.9% 15,817
1980 41.0% 10,550 57.8% 14,878
1976 38.7% 9,178 60.4% 14,320
1972 56.5% 12,535 42.9% 9,513
1968 39.6% 8,911 51.8% 11,663
1964 33.3% 7,078 66.5% 14,140
1960 43.3% 9,956 56.7% 13,039

Pike was historically a solidly Democratic county until 2004. However, since 2004 it has shifted dramatically towards the Republican party.


A coal breaker in Pike County in 1938
A mountaintop removal mine just off of U.S. Route 23 in 2010

Pike County has vast fossil fuel, (coal and natural gas) reserves. Pike County is one of the nation's leading coal and natural gas producers. In April 2007, Pike County announced the first-in-the-nation comprehensive energy strategy which was developed in partnership with the Southern States Energy Board in Atlanta, Georgia, whose Executive Director is Ken Nemeth.[20]

Pike County is the second-largest coal producing county as reported in 2013 next to Union County in the western part of the state. Adding that to the counties of Harlan County, Perry County, and Martin County, Eastern Kentucky produces nearly 34 of all coal produced in the entire state.[21] Over 150 million tons are produced annually throughout the state.[22]

The economic status of Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia has come to be a prominent discussion in the news. The poverty level of counties in the Appalachian region of Kentucky is 24.4% compared to the United States Poverty Level of 12.4%.[23] Of the top eight coal-producing counties in eastern Kentucky, Pike County is the only county that does not have a higher poverty rate than Appalachian Kentucky as a whole.

Coal companies in Pike County

Economic growth

Tourism is also a major source of economic growth in Pike County. In 2012, nearly 300,000 people visited the Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky-Virginia border.[30]

Over 1,400 businesses contribute to the growing economy in Pikeville. Local city government is rapidly working to promote business development by attracting and supporting new businesses, as well as existing businesses. From 2005-2011, downtown Pikeville has seen major growth. The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center was constructed in 2005 and seats 7,000.[31] It features numerous events including world-renowned concerts and shows. The county is also home to the Pikeville Concert Association which secures renowned cultural events for the area. These events usually take place at Booth Auditorium on the campus of the University of Pikeville.

The Pikeville Medical Center received a $44 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program in 2010 to construct an eleven-story office building and adjacent parking garage in downtown. Construction was completed in 2014.[32]

The University of Pikeville broke ground on a nine-story building (the Coal Building) on Hambley Boulevard in downtown Pikeville in early 2011 to house the University of Pikeville's School of Osteopathic Medicine.[33]

In the summer of 2011, Jenny Wiley Theatre group announced their collaboration with the city of Pikeville to construct a 200-seat indoor professional theater in downtown Pikeville. The theatre opened in May 2014.[34]


The office of Pike County Judge Executive is one of Kentucky's most powerful local offices and served as a launching pad for the governorship of Paul E. Patton (1995–2003).[35]

On November 8, 2016 the voters of Pike County choose to switch from a magisterial form of government to a commissioner form of government. As of 2019, the Pike County Fiscal Court will be composed of three county commissioners and the county judge/executive.




University of Pikeville

Pike County Colleges

Big Sandy Community and Technical College Pikeville Campus

Pike County Schools

The Pike County School System consists of 25 high, middle, and elementary schools.[36]

High schools

Middle and elementary schools

The following lists of middle and elementary schools is categorized by the high school they feed:

Shelby Valley Day Treatment Center, Phelps Day Treatment Center, are all discipline facilities. Northpoint Academy is a high school drop out prevention program that focuses on the individual needs of the student. All students at Northpoint are there on a voluntary basis.

Pikeville Independent Schools

Private schools



Pike County has had several minor league teams based out of Pikeville . From 1982-83, the Pikeville Cubs were located in the city. They were part of the Appalachian League and affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. In 1984, the team changed to become affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers, thus changing its name to the Pikeville Brewers. In 2010 Pikeville Independent's baseball team finished in the final four at the KHSAA Baseball State Tournament. In 2012 and in 2013 Pikeville Junior High baseball finished runner up in the Kentucky Middle School State Tournament both years.


In 2007, the East Kentucky Miners came to Pike County after the opening of the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center. the team played in Pikeville from 2007-2010. In 2010, the American Basketball Association opened an expansion franchise in Pikeville called the East Kentucky Energy. In 2011, UPike Men's Basketball won the National Championship defeating Mountain State University.


In 2010 the Pike County Crusaders, an Indoor Arena Football team, was announced as coming to the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center, but the initiative soon failed. In 2011, The East Kentucky Drillers, an Indoor Arena Football franchise came to the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. In 2012, the team changed its name to the Kentucky Drillers. In 2015, Pikeville Independent won the Class 1A State title.

Club Sport Years Active League Venue
East Kentucky Drillers Indoor Arena Football 2011-2012 UIFL Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
East Kentucky Energy Basketball 2010-2012 ABA Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
East Kentucky Miners Basketball 2007-2010 ABA Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
Kentucky Drillers Indoor Arena Football 2012–present CIFL Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
Pikeville Brewers Baseball 1984 Appalachian League Howard Field
Pikeville Cubs Baseball 1982-1983 Appalachian League Howard Field


Notable residents

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. http://www.kyenc.org/entry/p/PIKEC01.html
  4. "Pikeville: Mayberry, with muscle" (PDF). Kentucky Monthly. March 2005. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  5. "Pike County, Kentucky". Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  6. "Wet & Dry Counties in Kentucky" (PDF). Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  7. The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 36.
  8. http://lib..uky.edu/repro/
  9. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  10. "Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet" (PDF). Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  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. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  14. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  15. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-context=adp&-qr_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_DP3YR2&-ds_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_&-tree_id=3308&-redoLog=true&-_caller=geoselect&-geo_id=05000US21195&-format=&-_lang=en
  18. "Highest Income Zip Codes". IRS. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  19. "Dave Leip's Election Atlas Results Pike County Kentucky". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  20. "Pike noted as 'Energy Capital' at state summit". The Medical Leader. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  21. "KY Coal Facts". Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing Annual Report, 2006. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  22. "About Kentucky Coal". Copyright © 2003 -2008 Roger Philpot All Rights Reserved. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  23. "Economic Status of Coal-Producing Counties". Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. Retrieved May 19, 2010. External link in |publisher= (help)
  24. Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. » Central Appalachia
  25. [Alpha Natural Resources - 2012 Kentucky Operations]
  26. James River Coal Company – McCoy Elkhorn complex
  27. Rhino Resource Partners - Central Appalachia
  28. Clintwood - TECO Coal
  29. Premier - TECO Coal
  30. Virginia State Parks 2012 Attendance and Economic Impact Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  31. About Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  32. "Pikeville Medical opens new clinic, parking". The Herald-Dispatch. 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  33. Coal Building Ground Breaking coalminingourfuture.net. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  34. Jenny Wiley Theatre opens second location in Pikeville WKYT-TV. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  35. Pike County Judge/Executives Since 1965 Office of the Pike County Judge Executive. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  36. "Schools". Pike County Board of Education. Retrieved May 19, 2010.

Coordinates: 37°28′N 82°23′W / 37.47°N 82.39°W / 37.47; -82.39

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