kids encyclopedia robot

Nelson County, Kentucky facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Nelson County
County of Nelson
Nelson County Courthouse in Bardstown
Nelson County Courthouse in Bardstown
Map of Kentucky highlighting Nelson County
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Kentucky
Founded November 29, 1784
Named for Thomas Nelson Jr.
Seat Bardstown
Largest city Bardstown
 • Total 424 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Land 418 sq mi (1,080 km2)
 • Water 6.6 sq mi (17 km2)  1.5%
 • Total 46,738 Increase
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Nelson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Its county seat is Bardstown. Nelson County comprises the Bardstown, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Louisville/Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Madison, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area.


The fourth county created in what is now Kentucky, it was formed from Jefferson County, Virginia in 1784, shortly after the Revolutionary War. The county was named for Thomas Nelson, Jr., a Virginia Governor who signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1808, after Kentucky had become a state, a new Virginia county was named for Governor Nelson. (see Nelson County, Virginia).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 424 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 418 square miles (1,080 km2) is land and 6.6 square miles (17 km2) (1.5%) is water.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,315
1800 9,866 −12.8%
1810 14,078 42.7%
1820 16,273 15.6%
1830 14,932 −8.2%
1840 13,637 −8.7%
1850 14,789 8.4%
1860 15,799 6.8%
1870 14,804 −6.3%
1880 16,609 12.2%
1890 16,417 −1.2%
1900 16,587 1.0%
1910 16,830 1.5%
1920 16,137 −4.1%
1930 16,551 2.6%
1940 18,004 8.8%
1950 19,521 8.4%
1960 22,168 13.6%
1970 23,477 5.9%
1980 27,584 17.5%
1990 29,710 7.7%
2000 37,477 26.1%
2010 43,437 15.9%
2020 46,738 7.6%
2021 (est.) 47,098 8.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2021

As of the census of 2010, 43,437 people inhabited the county. The population density was 102.4 per square mile (39.5/km2). Its 18,075 housing units averaged 42.6 per square mile (16.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.48% White (90.93% non-Hispanic), 5.03% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. About 2.04% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 16,826 households, 36.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.09% were married couples living together, 13.19% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.35% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.37% were not families. Of all households, 24.41% were made up of individuals, and 8.09% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.01.

The age distribution was 25.98% under 18, 7.98% from 18 to 24, 26.47% from 25 to 44, 27.84% from 45 to 64, and 11.73% who were 65 or older. The median age was 37.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.60 males.

Income data for Kentucky locations from the 2010 Census have not yet been released. As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the county was $39,010, and for a family was $44,600. Males had a median income of $32,015 versus $21,838 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,120. About 10.00% of families and 12.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.70% of those under age 18 and 17.40% of those age 65 or over.

Attractions and events

There are many attractions and events in Bardstown. Following are attractions and events outside the county seat:

  • Rooster Run is a general store located on Kentucky Route 245 halfway between Bardstown and Clermont, well known for baseball caps featuring its logo and a 13.5-foot (4.1 m)-tall fiberglass rooster statue standing in front of the store. According to The Kentucky Encyclopedia, it is "one of the best-known general stores in the country and one of Kentucky's best-known unincorporated businesses".



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places


Two public school districts operate in the county:

  • The Nelson County School District serves K–12 students throughout the county, with the exception of most of the city of Bardstown and developed areas near the city limits. The district operates two K–8 schools, two elementary schools, two middle schools, an alternative school, a vocational-technical school, and two high schools.
  • The Bardstown City Schools serve students in most of the city of Bardstown, as well as much of the developed area immediately adjacent to the city limits. However, some areas of the city are instead served by the Nelson County district, and some of the Nelson County schools are physically within the Bardstown district. The district operates a preschool, an ungraded primary school (K–2), one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The preschool and primary school occupy separate buildings on adjacent plots of land in the north of the city, and the other schools are adjacent to one another near downtown.

Several private schools also operate in the county. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville operates five schools in all—three K–8 schools, a fourth that educates grades 1 through 8, and one high school. Several Protestant-affiliated schools also exist.

Notable residents

  • William Beall; general in the Confederate Army
  • J. C. W. Beckham; Governor of Kentucky
  • Linda Bruckheimer; novelist and historic preservation activist
  • Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr.; poet
  • Henry Pierson Crowe; US Marine
  • Ephraim H. Foster; Senator of Tennessee
  • James B. Graham; Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts
  • Benjamin E. Grey; Congressman
  • Joseph Hanks; great-grandfather of US President Abraham Lincoln
  • Ben Johnson (politician); lawyer and congressman
  • Silvester Johnson; merchant
  • Monique Jones; professional bodybuilder
  • Virgil Livers; football cornerback
  • James Love (Kentucky politician); congressman
  • Joseph N. McCormack; surgeon
  • Thomas Merton; monk
  • Zachariah Montgomery; lawyer and politician
  • Charles S. Morehead; congressman and governor of Kentucky
  • Felix Newton Pitt; monsignor
  • Daniel Rudd; catholic journalist and civil rights leader
  • Catherine Spalding; religious leader
  • Horace Speed; pioneer and district attorney
  • Stith Thompson; scholar of folklore
  • Bryan Young (politician); congressman
  • William Singleton Young; congressman

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Nelson (Kentucky) para niños

kids search engine
Nelson County, Kentucky Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.