Scott remains Kentucky's fastest-growing county; Jessamine also in state's top 10

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 1, 2014 

Scott and Jessamine counties remain two of the fastest-growing counties in Kentucky, according to projections released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Scott was the fastest-growing county in the state; its population rose 2 percent between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013.

That's no surprise to Missy Winchell, a Realtor who said 2013 was one of the best in her 12-year career. She attributed the growth in part to Toyota's plans, announced last year, to build Lexus sedans at its Georgetown plant in 2015.

"We're seeing a lot of relocating auto-industry workers," Winchell said. "Honestly, we have so much turnover all the time, with people moving in and out of here because of our location. We're so well located off two major interstates (I-75 and I-64). And we do have a lot of people that retire here."

Jessamine was the ninth fastest-growing county; its population rose 1.2 percent during the same period.

Scott County was followed by Oldham (1.6 percent), Shelby (1.4 percent), Montgomery (1.4 percent) and Bath (1.3 percent).

Finishing the top 10 were Simpson, Bullitt, Warren, Jessamine and Spencer counties. All benefit from their proximity to large cities. Simpson is within Bowling Green-Warren County's sphere of influence; Bullitt and Spencer are bedroom communities to Louisville; and Jessamine — like Scott — is part of the Lexington metropolitan area.

Like Scott County, eight of the 10 fastest-growing counties are on interstates. Oldham has I-71; Simpson, Bullitt and Warren are along I-65. Jessamine is trying to get better access to I-75 in Madison County through a proposed connector road from U.S. 27.

Montgomery and Bath are along the I-64 corridor east of Lexington, which helps their growth.

Previous census data indicate that manufacturing has grown in Montgomery County in recent years, while more people are moving to Bath County to work elsewhere, said Ron Crouch, director of research and statistics for the state office of Employment and Training.

"You've got one county (Montgomery) growing because it's creating employment, and the other (Bath) growing because it's a residential area," Crouch said.

Black Mountain Door LLC, which makes hollow metal doors, Olympic Steel and Boyd Mining have brought new jobs to Mount Sterling and Montgomery County in recent years. Manufacturing provides nearly 37 percent of all jobs in the county, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bath County Judge-Executive Lowell Jamison initially chuckled when told that Bath was listed as one of the fastest-growing counties. But, anecdotally, he said there are more unfamiliar faces passing by the house where he has lived since 1976.

"I used to know everybody that goes up the road," Jamison said. "Now I don't know a third of them."

In addition, CTI, a plant in Bath County that makes processed beef, pork, turkey and other products for food-service chains, is expanding and adding 200 jobs.

"That will give us a good boost," Jamison said.

The census estimates released last week were developed by measuring population change since the 2010 federal census using births, deaths, administrative records and survey data.

In terms of numerical growth, Jefferson County added 6,022 people, for 0.8 percent growth during the period. Jefferson — home of Louisville, the state's largest city — now has an estimated 756,832 people.

Fayette County, which is merged with Lexington, grew by 3,176 people during the period, for 1 percent growth. Fayette now has an estimated 308,422 residents.

Later this year, the Census Bureau will release county business patterns that will tell the economic side of the story. Annual statistics will be released on the number of businesses, employees and annual payroll for about 1,200 industries at the national, state and county levels.

The latest statistics on the number of people who commute from one specific county to another will also be released this spring.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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