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Hazard, Kentucky
Official seal of Hazard, Kentucky
Queen City of the Mountains
Location of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky
Location of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Perry
Incorporated April 30, 1884
Named for Cdre. Oliver Hazard Perry
 • Total 7.60 sq mi (19.68 km2)
 • Land 7.45 sq mi (19.30 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)  0%
928 ft (283 m)
 • Total 5,263
 • Density 706.44/sq mi (272.76/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
41701, 41702
Area code 606
FIPS code 21-35362
GNIS feature ID 0512617
Website [1]

Hazard is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Perry County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 5,263 at the 2020 Census.


Local landowner Elijah Combs Sr. laid out the town in 1824 as the planned seat of the newly established Perry County. Both the town and the county were named for Cdre. Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The post office was initially known as Perry Court House but the name was officially changed to Hazard in 1854. The city was formally incorporated by the state assembly in 1884.

Hazard Kentucky bridge2
Coal miners' children cross a footbridge into Hazard, Kentucky, July 1940. Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott.

Long isolated by the surrounding mountains, Hazard was opened to the outside world by the arrival of the railroad in 1912. The only access to the valley had previously been 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River or a two-week trip over the surrounding mountains. The railroad brought boom times to the town, but the Great Depression saw prosperity end as quickly as it had begun.

The song "High Sheriff of Hazard" was written by Tom Paxton in reference to a coal miner's strike in 1964.

In 1981, several cast members of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard – viz., Catherine Bach, James Best, Sorrell Booke and Rick Hurst – visited Hazard during its Black Gold Festival. Soon afterwards, the series' stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider made appearances in Hazard.

Although there has been a steady decline in Hazard's population since the 1950s, there have been numerous commercial and residential developments within the city. The city is also actively working on a downtown renaissance plan to rejuvenate its business district. Nonetheless, in July 1999, Hazard was the first stop on Pres. Bill Clinton's tour of poverty-stricken communities that had failed to share in the boom of the 1990s. Hillary Clinton visited Hazard on November 2, 2008, at a political rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford.


Hazard is located at 37°15′21″N 83°11′37″W / 37.25583°N 83.19361°W / 37.25583; -83.19361 (37.255910, -83.193706).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18 km2), all land.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hazard has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 76
1910 587
1920 4,348 640.7%
1930 7,021 61.5%
1940 7,397 5.4%
1950 6,985 −5.6%
1960 5,958 −14.7%
1970 5,459 −8.4%
1980 5,371 −1.6%
1990 5,416 0.8%
2000 4,806 −11.3%
2010 4,456 −7.3%
2020 5,263 18.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2021, there were 5,263 people, and 2,046 households. The population density was 692.5 people per square mile (267.56/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.4% White, 16.57% African American, 0.08% Native American, 2.07% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.86% of the population.

In 2000, there were 1,946 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,690, and the median income for a family was $27,226. Males had a median income of $34,398 versus $22,386 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,782. About 30.9% of families and 30.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.3% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.


  • Hazard Community and Technical College
  • Hazard Independent Schools – a school district that serves the city; operates one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school
    • Hazard High School
  • Perry County Schools – operates six elementary schools, one K–12 school, one high school, and one alternative school
  • Hazard Christian Academy

Hazard has a lending library, the Perry County Public Library.

Notable people

People who were born in or residents of Hazard include:

Name Born Death Personal
Red Allen 1930 1993 bluegrass singer, a native of Pigeon Roost Hollow in Perry County, was a member of the Osborne Brothers band.
Sam Smith 1944 one of the first three African American basketball players at the University of Louisville, later played for the Chicago Bulls; born in Hazard.
Mary Lou Turner 1947 country music singer born in Hazard. Turner recorded the #1 song, "Sometimes" with Bill Anderson.
Joe Craft 1950 businessman and philanthropist, namesake of the Joe Craft Center, UK's practice basketball facility. Born in Hazard. Also the namesake of the Joe Craft Tower at the Hazard ARH Hospital.
Louann Brizendine 1952 a Hazard native and a neuropsychiatrist. Was a clinician, researcher, and professor (1985–88, on the faculty at Harvard, and from 1988 onwards at UC San Francisco). Best-selling author of "The Female Brain" (2006) and "The Male Brain" (2010).
Daniel Mongiardo 1960 physician, Democratic Kentucky Senator, and Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Brandon Smith 1967 businessman, Republican Kentucky Representative and Senator.
Rebecca Gayheart 1971 actress.
Baddiewinkle 1928 internet personality.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Hazard (Kentucky) para niños

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