People Are Fleeing Kentucky. Here’s Where They’re Plotting to Move to

Kentucky, celebrated for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and lively culture, is currently witnessing a substantial exodus of its inhabitants. This piece delves into the factors driving this trend and unveils the favored destinations for those bidding farewell to the Bluegrass State.

Why People Are Leaving Kentucky

Several factors contribute to the migration from Kentucky. A primary catalyst is the devastating floods that struck the state in 2022, resulting in a death toll of 37, with hundreds still unaccounted for. The calamity left numerous areas isolated, destroyed bridges, and inundated communities, compelling thousands of Kentuckians to seek new residences elsewhere.

Another contributing factor is the stagnant minimum wage. While neighboring states have increased their minimum wage, Kentucky has maintained its rate at $7.25 an hour for over a decade. More than half of those departing Kentucky are doing so in pursuit of better employment opportunities.

Where They Are Relocating

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the primary destinations for those moving out of Kentucky include Maryland, Louisiana, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Arkansas, Iowa, and New Hampshire. These states are ranked based on the number of individuals who migrated from Kentucky in 2019.

Reasons for selecting these destinations vary. Some individuals may be enticed by improved job prospects, a lower cost of living, or a desire for a change of scenery. Others may be relocating closer to family or seeking a different lifestyle.


While it’s disheartening to witness the departure of residents from Kentucky, it’s crucial to acknowledge that migration is a natural aspect of life. People relocate for diverse reasons, including employment opportunities, familial connections, and personal preferences.

As Kentucky continues its recovery from the devastating floods and addresses economic challenges, there’s a possibility that the trend of out-migration may decelerate or even reverse. Until then, Kentucky residents will persist in their search for new homes and opportunities elsewhere.


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