What’s Your Rank? Health of Kentucky Counties

It’s no surprise that smoking, poor nutrition and lack of insurance put Kentuckians at risk. There’s a whole host of other issues to tackle, though, and for the first time ever all 120 Kentucky counties have been ranked from most healthy to least healthy.

Maybe health care is more important than gambling? Maybe health care should be taken more seriously? Wait, wait– we apologize. Gambling and alleged accountability are the most pressing issues facing Kentuckians.


120 County Ranking - Health



Oldham County leads the pack as the state’s healthiest. Wolfe County is at the bottom. No surprise, as Oldham is also one of Kentucky’s wealthiest. Wolfe is among the state’s poorest, as are the other ten counties ranked as Kentucky’s least healthy. All ten lowest-ranked counties are in Appalachia. Further evidence that our gubernatorial candidates should be focusing on the eastern part of the state.

While not the most important, we found it notable that Kentucky leads the nation in work-related injuries. Nonfatal injuries are 28% higher and fatal injuries are 75% higher than the national rate. Mostly thanks to our high concentration of workers in risky industries like mining and manufacturing.

Notable statistics: % of high school graduates: Oldham 87, Wolfe 54; % of uninsured: Oldham 8, Wolfe 21; number of drug arrests per 100k: Oldham 37, Wolfe 2,128.

Getting Something Right

Fletcher, Kentucky and the Appalachian Regional Commission finally get something right. We’re finally offering grants to develop adventure tourism in Eastern Kentucky!

The state is making $623,000 available for grants of about $20,000 each for counties to generate so-called adventure tourism, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Tuesday. The money can be used to plan facilities.

The tactic was adopted after a study by Pros Consulting of Dallas showed increased spending on such tourism in Eastern Kentucky could generate 132,000 new visitors annually and $54 million to $99 million in economic impact. The ventures could create as many as 1,500 jobs.

We are absolutely shocked (SHOCKED!) that the Commonwealth is recognizing what a gem we have in the Appalachian region.

Having been involved (Jake) in a long-term community development project with the Brushy Fork Institute in the 90s, we can say first-hand that adventure tourism in the Appalachians works. A group from Fayette County West Virginia developed a similar plan in their region that was met with great success.

Click Here to read the report.

Killing Kentucky’s Gem

Mountaintop Removal

The Bush administration is showing its corrupt love of big coal. The big business cabal has created energy policy that not only protects but promotes mountaintop removal.

We’re flushing eastern Kentucky down the drain. Literally killing it. And we hear nothing about it from either gubernatorial campaign. They sit idly by instead of using their unique platform to discuss the real problems facing the Bluegrass State.

Don’t blink! It’s Friday

Making a difference at home. Battling drug abuse just got a little easier in Pike County. Following on the heels of Hal Rogers’ Operation UNITE, the Office of Drug Control Policy has been established and it’s the first in the state. Communities are waking up to reality. [News-Express]

Sickening. From the WTF Dept. Modern-day slavery right at home. Human trafficking in Kentucky? Yeah. For real. [C-J]

Our thoughts are with Justice Mac. Kentucky’s first African American supreme court justice succumbs to cancer. [C-J]

Throwing jobs away. Kentucky’s jobless rate in July rose quite a bit. According to statistics, 1,200 jobs alone were lost in the educational and health services sector. Yeah, the economy’s golden! [C-J]

Living in Poverty

Poverty in Kentucky - MapWe’re map geeks at Page One. What do maps have to do with living in poverty? Well, while wasting countless hours looking through graphical analysis I stumbled upon something that hits home here in the Bluegrass State. It’s a map at Social Explorer (choose Poverty from the middle drop down menu) detailing the percentage of the population living in poverty (rather, all 120 counties in Kentucky along with the % of their population living in poverty). The map was created based on the latest census data so take it with a grain of salt. Reality is likely a bit darker.

Poverty - Front PorchLooking at the poorest region of Kentucky, the Appalachians of the east, one really has to question why neither of our two gubernatorial candidates are actively discussing ways to improve the situation, nor are they making poverty a centerpiece of their campaigns. A quick search of Beshear’s website reveals only a few instances of the term ‘poverty’ and there is only one instance on Fletcher’s.

What does this mean for the future of the Commonwealth?

Read more

Red State? Blue State?

How About WHITE State!

Our beloved homeland of Eastern Kentucky is among the whitest areas of the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Magoffin County, the birthplace of Larry Flynt, checks in with 98.9 percent of its population as milky white. That put it in with an Iowa county for whitest in the country, and 13 other Kentucky counties are more than 98 percent white. The Herald-Leader points out that these areas are also among the poorest and least educated.

Finally, it’s not the press perpetuating stereotypes, right? It’s the gubmint.

White Kentucky - Visit Appalachia

Poverty and education aside: go visit Appalachian Kentucky! Head east. It’s the gem of our fine state and it’s deserving of your tourism dollars. And Kentucky’s famed festival season starts at the end of the month.