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Shelby County, Kentucky facts for kids

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Shelby County
Former Shelby County courthouse in Shelbyville
Former Shelby County courthouse in Shelbyville
Official seal of Shelby County
Map of Kentucky highlighting Shelby 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 1792
Named for Isaac Shelby
Seat Shelbyville
Largest city Shelbyville
 • Total 386 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Land 380 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Water 6.0 sq mi (16 km2)  1.6%
 • Total 48,065 Increase
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Shelby County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Its county seat is Shelbyville. The county was founded in 1792 and named for Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky. Shelby County is part of the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY–IN Metropolitan Statistical Area. Shelby County's motto is "Good Land, Good Living, Good People". The County Judge/Executive is Dan Ison.


Shelby County was established in 1792 from land given by Jefferson County.

Founding families

One of the earliest families to settle in Shelby County was that of Daniel Ketcham of Washington County, Maryland. Ketcham, who arrived in 1784, had been a soldier in the American Revolution. He had 9 children. His oldest, John Ketcham, moved to Indiana, become involved in politics, and laid the groundwork for the creation of Indiana University.

Another early settler was Thomas Mitchell, who also moved to Shelby County in 1784. Mitchell was born on December 16, 1777, in Augusta County, Virginia. He married Rebecca Ketcham, daughter of Daniel Ketcham, and settled near the headwaters of South Fork Clear Creek (or Mulberry Creek). Mitchell was commissioned an ensign in the 18th Regiment of Militia and on January 4, 1801, Governor James Garrard became a captain in the 18th Regiment. Mitchell was a minister of the Methodist Church and served in the War of 1812.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 386 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 380 square miles (980 km2) is land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) (1.6%) is water. Jeptha Knob at 1,188 feet (362 m) is the highest point in the Louisville area. Guist Creek Lake and Marina offers 325 acres of fishing.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-64
  • US 60
  • US 421
  • KY 53
  • KY 55


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 8,191
1810 14,877 81.6%
1820 21,047 41.5%
1830 19,030 −9.6%
1840 17,768 −6.6%
1850 17,095 −3.8%
1860 16,433 −3.9%
1870 15,733 −4.3%
1880 16,813 6.9%
1890 16,521 −1.7%
1900 18,340 11.0%
1910 18,041 −1.6%
1920 18,532 2.7%
1930 17,679 −4.6%
1940 17,759 0.5%
1950 17,912 0.9%
1960 18,493 3.2%
1970 18,999 2.7%
1980 23,328 22.8%
1990 24,824 6.4%
2000 33,337 34.3%
2010 42,074 26.2%
2020 48,065 14.2%
2021 (est.) 48,461 15.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2021

As of the census of 2000, there were 33,337 people, 12,104 households, and 9,126 families residing in the county. The population density was 87 per square mile (34/km2). There were 12,857 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.61% White, 8.83% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 2.39% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 4.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,104 households, out of which 34.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.00% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.60% were non-families. 20.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.00.

The age distribution was 25.20% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,534, and the median income for a family was $52,764. Males had a median income of $35,484 versus $25,492 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,195. About 6.50% of families and 9.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.70% of those under age 18 and 12.30% of those age 65 or over.



Shelby County Public Library

The Shelby County Public Library, built in 1903, is one of few Carnegie libraries still functioning as a public library in Kentucky. Pamela W. Federspiel is the Executive Director.

Shelby County Public Schools

Shelby County Public Schools has six elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. James Neihof is the Superintendent of Schools.

Schools located in Shelby County include:

Elementary Schools

  • Clear Creek Elementary School
  • Heritage Elementary School
  • Marnel C. Moorman School
  • Painted Stone Elementary School
  • Simpsonville Elementary School
  • Southside Elementary School
  • Wright Elementary School

Middle Schools

  • Marnel C. Moorman School
  • Shelby County East Middle School
  • Shelby County West Middle School

High Schools:

  • Martha Layne Collins High School
  • Shelby County High School

See also

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

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