kids encyclopedia robot

Pike County, Kentucky facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Pike County
Pike County courthouse in Pikeville
Pike County courthouse in Pikeville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Pike 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 December 19, 1821
Named for Zebulon Pike
Seat Pikeville
Largest city Pikeville
 • Total 789 sq mi (2,040 km2)
 • Land 787 sq mi (2,040 km2)
 • Water 1.8 sq mi (5 km2)  0.2%
 • Total 58,669 Decrease
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 5th

Pike County is a county in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,024. Its county seat is Pikeville. The county was founded in 1821. 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. There are three cities, Pikeville, Elkhorn City, and Coal Run Village, in the county where package alcohol sales are allowed.


Pike County was founded on December 19, 1821. The county was named for General Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered Pikes Peak. 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.


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. It is the largest county by area in Kentucky.

The main population areas of the county include the city of Pikeville and surrounding suburbs, Elkhorn City, and the unincorporated town of South Williamson.

Major highways

Pikeville Cut-Through from south
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.

  • US 23
  • US 52
  • US 119
  • US 460
  • KY 80
  • KY 122
  • KY 194
  • KY 195
  • KY 197
  • KY 292
  • KY 1441

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 2,677
1840 3,567 33.2%
1850 5,365 50.4%
1860 7,384 37.6%
1870 9,562 29.5%
1880 13,001 36.0%
1890 17,378 33.7%
1900 22,686 30.5%
1910 31,679 39.6%
1920 49,477 56.2%
1930 63,267 27.9%
1940 71,122 12.4%
1950 81,154 14.1%
1960 68,264 −15.9%
1970 61,059 −10.6%
1980 81,123 32.9%
1990 72,583 −10.5%
2000 68,736 −5.3%
2010 65,024 −5.4%
2020 58,669 −9.8%
2021 (est.) 57,391 −11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2021

As of the census 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:

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).



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places


A coal breaker in Pike County in 1938
Mountaintop removal mine in Pike County, Kentucky
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.

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. Over 150 million tons are produced annually throughout the state.

The poverty level of counties in the Appalachian region of Kentucky is 24.4% compared to the United States Poverty Level of 12.4%. 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.

Poverty Rate in Kentucky's Appalachian Region

Coal companies in Pike County

  • Alliance Resource Partners
  • Alpha Natural Resources
  • James River Coal Company
  • Rhino Resource Partners
  • TECO Coal

Economic growth

Breaks Canyon Fall
Tourism is also a major component of the economy in Pike County. In 2012, nearly 300,000 people visited the Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky-Virginia border.

Over 1,400 businesses exist in Pikeville. From 2005 to 2011, downtown Pikeville experienced major growth. The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center was constructed in 2005 and seats 7,000. It features numerous events including concerts and shows. The county is also home to the Pikeville Concert Association, which secures events that 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.

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.

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.



Pike County has had several minor league teams based out of Pikeville. In 1982 the Pikeville Brewers were located in the city. They were part of the Appalachian League and affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1983 the team changed to become affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, thus changing its name to the Pikeville Cubs. 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 to 2010. In 2010, the American Basketball Association opened an expansion franchise in Pikeville called the East Kentucky Energy. In 2010 Shelby Valley High School won the KHSAA Men's Basketball State Championship. 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.

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 2012–2013 CIFL Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
Pikeville Brewers Baseball 1982 Appalachian League Davis Park
Pikeville Cubs Baseball 1983-1984 Appalachian League Davis Park


University of Pikeville pedestrian entrance
University of Pikeville

Pike County colleges

  • University of Pikeville (UPike), Pikeville, Kentucky
  • Big Sandy Community and Technical College Pikeville Campus

Pike County Schools

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

High schools

Middle and elementary schools

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

  • Belfry High School System
    • Belfry Middle School
      • Bevins Elementary
      • Belfry Elementary
  • East Ridge High School System
    • Elkhorn City Elementary School
    • Feds Creek Elementary School
    • Millard Elementary School
  • Phelps High School System
    • Phelps Elementary School
  • Pike County Central High School System
    • Johns Creek Elementary School
    • Kimper Elementary School
    • Mullins School
  • Shelby Valley High School System
    • Dorton School
    • Valley Elementary School

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

  • High School
    • Pikeville High School, Pikeville
  • Elementary School
    • Pikeville Elementary School

Private schools

Notable people

  • Woody Blackburn – professional golfer
  • Stephen Cochran – country music singer and songwriter
  • Robert Damron – professional golfer
  • Patty Loveless – country music singer
  • Paul E. Patton – former Governor of Kentucky
  • Mark Reynolds – professional baseball player
  • Jonny Venters – professional baseball player
  • Warner Wolf – sports journalist
  • Dwight Yoakam – country music singer and songwriter
  • Randolph McCoy- leader involved in the Hatfield McCoy feud
  • Katherine G. Langley - first female member of Congress from the state of KY
  • Mary Elliott Flanery - first female member of KY House of Representative
  • Josh Osborne - country music songwriter

See also

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

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