Pike County
Pike County courthouse in Pikeville
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°28′N 82°23′W / 37.47°N 82.39°W / 37.47; -82.39
Country United States
State Kentucky
Named forZebulon Pike
Largest cityPikeville
 • Judge/ExecutiveRay S. Jones III
 • Total789 sq mi (2,040 km2)
 • Land787 sq mi (2,040 km2)
 • Water1.8 sq mi (5 km2)  0.2%
 • Total58,669
 • Density74/sq mi (29/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district5th

Pike County is a county in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,024.[1] Its county seat is Pikeville.[2] The county was founded in 1821.[3] 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, in this case three cities: Pikeville, Elkhorn City, and Coal Run Village, where package alcohol sales are allowed.[4]


Pike is Kentucky's easternmost county; it is also the state's largest county in terms of land area. Pike County is the 11th largest county in Kentucky in terms of population preceded by Bullitt County and followed by Christian County. Pike County is Kentucky's third largest banking center, with financial institutions and holding companies having more than $1 billion in assets.[5] In the five years spanning 1995–2000, personal income increased by 28%, and the county's per capita income exceeded the national and state average growth rates of the past decade.[6] Pike County is the seventy-first Kentucky county in order of creation.

Pike County was founded on December 19, 1821 from a portion of Floyd County.[7] The county was named for General Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered Pikes Peak.[8] 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 university's Libraries Preservation and Digital Programs website.[9]


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.[10] 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

U.S. Route 23 passes through the Pikeville Cut-Through, the second largest earthmoving project in the Western Hemisphere.
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.[11]

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790–1960[13] 1900–1990[14]
1990–2000[15] 2010–2013[1]

As of the census[16] 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:[17]

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).[18]


Historically, Pike County was a solidly Republican county in presidential voting from 1896 to 1928 under the Fourth Party System, then a solidly Democratic county in presidential elections from 1932 until 2004. Since 2008, it has shifted back towards the Republican party in presidential voting.[19]

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[20]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 79.9% 20,284 19.2% 4,866 1.0% 245
2016 80.1% 19,747 17.4% 4,280 2.6% 638
2012 74.4% 17,590 23.9% 5,646 1.7% 400
2008 55.9% 12,655 42.1% 9,525 2.0% 463
2004 47.1% 12,611 52.3% 14,002 0.6% 157
2000 44.1% 11,005 54.6% 13,611 1.3% 319
1996 30.5% 7,160 60.1% 14,126 9.4% 2,209
1992 29.2% 8,212 61.8% 17,358 8.9% 2,512
1988 37.8% 9,976 61.9% 16,339 0.4% 101
1984 42.7% 11,869 56.9% 15,817 0.5% 126
1980 41.0% 10,550 57.9% 14,878 1.1% 292
1976 38.7% 9,178 60.4% 14,320 0.8% 193
1972 56.5% 12,535 42.9% 9,513 0.7% 152
1968 39.6% 8,911 51.8% 11,663 8.7% 1,952
1964 33.3% 7,078 66.5% 14,140 0.2% 35
1960 43.3% 9,956 56.7% 13,039 0.0% 0
1956 50.4% 11,678 49.5% 11,466 0.2% 41
1952 43.3% 9,778 56.5% 12,761 0.2% 37
1948 41.0% 8,097 57.8% 11,423 1.2% 244
1944 45.2% 8,092 54.5% 9,757 0.3% 48
1940 42.5% 8,985 57.5% 12,160 0.1% 16
1936 41.9% 8,210 58.1% 11,382 0.1% 11
1932 38.3% 7,914 61.4% 12,686 0.4% 74
1928 54.1% 9,386 45.8% 7,930 0.1% 19
1924 52.1% 7,059 43.1% 5,835 4.8% 646
1920 58.1% 7,911 41.3% 5,619 0.7% 92
1916 54.7% 4,212 44.3% 3,414 1.0% 73
1912 44.9% 2,777 41.7% 2,583 13.4% 832

Local politics have been dominated by the Democratic Party throughout its history, remaining so today – while the county has been carried by Republicans in presidential races since 2008, most local offices, including judge-executive, sheriff, and several representatives in the Kentucky House of Representatives remain Democratic – there were no Republicans running in the last races for judge-executive and sheriff.[21][22]


A coal breaker in Pike County in 1938
A coal breaker in Pike County in 1938
A mountaintop removal mine just off of U.S. Route 23 in 2010
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.[23]

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.[24] Over 150 million tons are produced annually throughout the state.[25]

The poverty level of counties in the Appalachian region of Kentucky is 24.4% compared to the United States Poverty Level of 12.4%.[26] 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.

Coal companies in Pike County

Economic growth

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.[33]
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.[33]

Over 1,400 businesses exist in Pikeville. From 2005 to 2011, downtown Pikeville experienced major growth[citation needed]. The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center was constructed in 2005 and seats 7,000.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

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.[37]


The office of Pike County Judge Executive served as a launching pad for the governorship of Paul E. Patton (1995–2003).[38]

On November 8, 2016, Pike County voted to switch from a magisterial form of government to a commissioner form of government. As of 2019, the Pike County Fiscal Court is composed of three county commissioners and the county judge/executive. This effort was a bi-partisan effort led by a citizens' group, Pike Countians Against Government Waste, that garnered signature petitions in 2015–2016 to place the question on the ballot. The voters of the 2016 election supported changing to a commissioner form of government with nearly 12,000 votes in favor, which was nearly 70% of the popular vote. In March 2016, the fiscal court which is composed of six magistrates and a judge-executive voted unanimously to sue the judge-executive (who voted to sue himself) to overturn the results of the ballot question to change the form of government. The fiscal court, composed of magistrates Jeff Anderson, Vernon "Chick" Johnson, Leo Murphy, Hilman Dotson, and Bobby Varney; and, Judge Bill Deskins, was first represented by John Doug Hays, Assistant County Attorney, and then by County Attorney Howard Keith Hall. The citizens' group was represented by State Senator Ray S. Jones, II, who filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Pike County. In October 2017, Special Judge Rebecca Phillips of Morgan County dismissed the fiscal court lawsuit in a 23-page decision, which effectively ended the effort to overturn the voters decision. The commissioner form of government replaced the prior magistrate form of government in 2019.




University of Pikeville
University of Pikeville

Pike County colleges

Pike County Schools

The Pike County School System consists of 25 high, middle, and elementary schools.[39]

High schools

Middle and elementary schools

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

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

Private schools



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



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ E., Kleber, John; Kentucky, University Press of; Policy, Institute for Regional Analysis and Public; Library, Camden-Carroll; University, Morehead State (April 4, 2018). "The Kentucky Encyclopedia". kyenc.org. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "Wet & Dry Counties in Kentucky" (PDF). Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  5. ^ "Pikeville: Mayberry, with muscle" (PDF). Kentucky Monthly. March 2005. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  6. ^ "Pike County, Kentucky". Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Nancy Capace (1999). Encyclopedia of Kentucky. Somerset Publishers, Inc. p. 242. ISBN 9780403097401.
  8. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. pp. 36.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 28, 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet" (PDF). Commonwealth of Kentucky. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2007.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". factfinder.census.gov. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Highest Income Zip Codes". IRS. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  19. ^ Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: Pike County, Ky". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  21. ^ "Pike voters replace state lawmaker, judge-executive and Kentucky's longest-serving sheriff". kentucky.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "Kentucky 94th District State House Results: Angie Hatton Wins". August 1, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  23. ^ "Pike noted as 'Energy Capital' at state summit". The Medical Leader. Archived from the original on June 25, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "KY Coal Facts". Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing Annual Report, 2006. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  25. ^ "About Kentucky Coal". Roger Philpot. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  26. ^ "Economic Status of Coal-Producing Counties". Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. Retrieved May 19, 2010. External link in |publisher= (help)
  27. ^ Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. » Central Appalachia Archived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ [Alpha Natural Resources - 2012 Kentucky Operations]
  29. ^ "James River Coal Company – McCoy Elkhorn complex". jamesrivercoal.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  30. ^ "Central Appalachia". rhinolp.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  31. ^ "Clintwood - TECO Coal". tecocoal.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  32. ^ "Premier - TECO Coal". tecocoal.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  33. ^ Virginia State Parks 2012 Attendance and Economic Impact Archived 2014-01-31 at the Wayback Machine Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  34. ^ About Archived 2014-06-15 at the Wayback Machine Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  35. ^ "Pikeville Medical opens new clinic, parking". The Herald-Dispatch. April 11, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  36. ^ Coal Building Ground Breaking coalminingourfuture.net. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  37. ^ Jenny Wiley Theatre opens second location in Pikeville Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine WKYT-TV. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  38. ^ Pike County Judge/Executives Since 1965 Office of the Pike County Judge Executive. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  39. ^ "Schools". Pike County Board of Education. Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.

Coordinates: 37°28′N 82°23′W / 37.47°N 82.39°W / 37.47; -82.39