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Warren County, Kentucky facts for kids

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Warren County
Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green
Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green
Map of Kentucky highlighting Warren 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, 1796
Named for Joseph Warren
Seat Bowling Green
Largest city Bowling Green
 • Total 548 sq mi (1,420 km2)
 • Land 542 sq mi (1,400 km2)
 • Water 6.0 sq mi (16 km2)  1.1%
 • Total 134,554 Increase
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Warren County is a county located in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2020, the population was 134,554, making it the fifth-most populous county in Kentucky. The county seat is Bowling Green. Warren County is now classified as a wet county after voters approved the measure in 2018. The measure became law in January 2019 that allows alcohol to be sold county wide.

Warren County is included in the Bowling Green, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the Pennyroyal Plateau and Western Coal Fields regions.


Warren County was the location of several Native American villages and burial mounds. The first white men to enter the area were the long hunters in the 1770s. General Elijah Covington was among the first landowners. McFadden's Station, one of the earliest settlements, was established in 1785 by Andrew McFadden/McFadin on the northern bank of the Barren River at the Cumberland Trace.

Warren County became the 23rd county of Kentucky in 1796, from a section of Logan County. It was named after General Joseph Warren of the Revolutionary War. He dispatched William Dawes and Paul Revere on their famous midnight ride to warn residents of the approaching British troops. He was also a hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Through the riverboat trade, Warren County thrived in the agricultural market. In 1859, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (currently CSX Transportation) was laid through the county.

During the Civil War, most residents are said to have favored the Confederacy.

The completion of Interstate 65 and Green River Parkway (currently the William H. Natcher Parkway) in the 1960s and 1970s, brought an industrial boom that transformed the farm-oriented county into a more urban one.

In 1997, Bowling Green became a Tree City USA, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 548 square miles (1,420 km2), of which 542 square miles (1,400 km2) is land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) (1.1%) is water.

Geographic features

The Green River forms the northern boundary of the county, and was a means of transportation for settlers. Tributaries of the Green River that flow through Warren County are the Barren and Gasper rivers, Drake's and Jennings creeks and Bay's Fork. In the north the land is possibly the most rugged, since it lies between the Green and Barren rivers, with very tall ridges near Riverside and Richardsville. The major drainage in Warren county is Barren River, which flows through Bowling Green and is surrounded by steep ridges in some areas. Several sizable hills rise in Bowling Green proper. They were favored for forts and other development: a reservoir, hospital, and Civil War fort were built on one; much of Western Kentucky University's campus on another; Hobson Grove, a historic Italian Renaissance style civil war era plantation estate on another; and a second civil war fort on another. In the east the land is rolling (much like central Kentucky's landscape) near Drakes Creek. The land in the south and southwest of the county is predominantly flat. In the western side of the county, the land is hilly with steep ridges and rocky and cliff-ridden near Gasper River. Shanty Hollow Lake is in the northwest corner of the county.

The flat elevated areas in the west and the flatland in the south and southwest have soil that is fertile and supports tobacco, hay, corn and soybean crop production. The rest of the land is predominantly clay soil; it is rocky and not very suitable for agriculture. Many residents rear livestock and horses, or hunt in these areas.

Major highways

  • Interstate 65
  • William H. Natcher Parkway
  • U.S. 231
  • U.S. 31-W
  • U.S. 68
  • KY 80
  • KY 185
  • KY 234
  • KY 880

Adjacent counties


Graph of Warren County population by decade
Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 4,686
1810 11,937 154.7%
1820 11,776 −1.3%
1830 10,949 −7.0%
1840 15,446 41.1%
1850 15,123 −2.1%
1860 17,320 14.5%
1870 21,742 25.5%
1880 27,531 26.6%
1890 30,158 9.5%
1900 29,970 −0.6%
1910 30,579 2.0%
1920 30,858 0.9%
1930 33,676 9.1%
1940 36,631 8.8%
1950 42,758 16.7%
1960 45,491 6.4%
1970 57,884 27.2%
1980 71,828 24.1%
1990 76,673 6.7%
2000 92,522 20.7%
2010 113,792 23.0%
2020 134,554 18.2%
2021 (est.) 137,212 20.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2021

At the 2000 census, there were 92,522 people, 35,365 households and 23,411 families residing in the county. The population density was 170 per square mile (66/km2). There were 38,350 housing units at an average density of 70 per square mile (27/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.98% White, 8.58% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.35% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.33% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. 2.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 35,365 households, of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.40% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.80% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.30% 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 2.97.

The age distribution was 23.10% under the age of 18, 16.20% from 18 to 24, 29.10% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 10.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.

The median household income was $36,151, and the median family income was $45,142. Males had a median income of $32,063 versus $22,777 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,847. About 10.80% of families and 15.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.80% of those under age 18 and 13.80% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated place

Other unincorporated places


Two public school districts operate in the county:

  • Warren County Public Schools, which serves most of the county, including outerlying parts of Bowling Green
  • Bowling Green Independent Schools, which serves most of the city of Bowling Green.

High schools include:

  • Greenwood
  • Light House Academy
  • Warren Central
  • Warren East
  • South Warren High School
  • GEO International High School
  • Bowling Green High School

There is also a state-operated public school for gifted students

  • Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky

There are also private schools including

  • Anchored Christian School
  • Bowling Green Christian Academy
  • Foundation Christian Academy
  • St. Joseph School, a private Catholic school of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Owensboro.

Colleges and universities

Public Library System

See also

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

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