State Resources

Kentucky Business Resources

Kentucky lies in the east central United States and borders the Ohio River. Farming was the principal economic activity throughout the state’s early history, with tobacco and hemp as the main agricultural outputs. In the early 20th century, Kentucky began to take advantage of the large deposits of coal and abundance of hydroelectric power within the state. These two features brought low-cost energy and helped make the manufacturing industry the most important industry to the state’s economy.

Production of automobiles and automotive parts is the largest component of the manufacturing industry, followed by food processing and metals. Tourism is also a growing industry, thanks to the stunning scenery and southern charm. The state is also home to the Kentucky Derby, a famous horse race that draws more than 150,000 spectators annually and is considered by some as the most prestigious event in horseracing.

Business Data

Per Capita Real GDP$29,842 Rank: 43/50 (2006)
Population4,041,770 Rank: 25/50 (2000)
Per Capita Personal Income$29,352 Rank: 46/50 (2006)
Unemployment Rate5.20% Rank: 38/50 (2008)
Business Tax Climate IndexRank: 36/50 (2008)
Corporate Tax Rate4% - 6%
Individual Tax Rate 2% - 4%
Sales Tax Rate 6%

Business Tax Climate Index

Individual Income Tax Index Rank31
Sales Tax Index Rank10
Unemployment Insurance Tax Index Rank48
Property Tax Index Rank20
Business Tax Climate Index36
Corporate Tax Index Rank39

State Information

Nick NameBluegrass State
State Web Site
MottoLet us give thanks to God

Top 5 Export Partner Countries

Canada, Mexico, France, Japan, United Kingdom

Top 5 Export Merchandise

Chemicals Sales Transportation Equipment Sales Chemicals Manufacturing Primary Metals Manufacturing Machinery Manufacturing

Major Cities

Lexington-Fayette, Louisville, Owensboro


Total Gross Domestic Product (USD Millions) $154,184.00 (2007)
Per Capita Real GDP (USD)$30,364.00 Rank: 42 (2007)

Population Stats

Population 4,269,245 Rank: 26 (2008)

Age Distribution

Under 18 Population994,818
Under 18 Percent of Total Population25%
65 and older Population504,793
65 and older Percent of Total Population13%

Gender Distribution

Male Population48.9%
Female Population51.1%
Non-English Speaker (at home)119,641
Net International Immigration27,435
Birth Rate13.1%
Percent of People Under Poverty Level16.8%


Per Capita State Spending$25,570
Energy Expenditures per Person$4,446
Expenditures of State and Local Government Employee-Retirement Systems$2,063,438


Personal Income$34,342
State Internal Revenue Collection$23,150,555
Cash and Deposits by State Government$1,519,240
Per Capita State Tax Collection$2,377


High School Graduation Rate71.8%
Percent of Population with a Bachelor's Degree11.7%
Percent of Population with an Advanced Degree8%

Largest Universities

University of Kentucky University of Louisville Western Kentucky University
High School Graduation Rate71.8%


Public Road Length (Mile)78,231
Gas Tax Rate (%)19.7%
Highway Planning and Construction (USD Thousands)564,936
Number of Public Airports60

Main Airports

CVG: Kentucky International SDF: Louisville International-Standiford





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State Business Links

Courier Journal

Secretary of State

Kentucky Secretary of State
The Kentucky Secretary of State provides business filing, records, and trademark services. In addition, there are a number of online services provided, including business database searches, UCC services, and more.

Small Business Administration

Kentucky Small Business Administration
Small Business filings, news, research and more

Top 10 Business Links

Center for Business and Economic Research
The CBER at the Gatton College in the University of Kentucky provides research and various publications. Research is available about workforce supply and demand, and publications cover different research reports, Kentucky’s annual report, business and economics outlook, and sometimes presentations.
Kentucky Department of Revenue Business Information
From this site, the user can fill out various business forms, such as those for registering a business, as well as access forms for various tax purposes. Tax information is also provided.
Kentucky Small Business Development Center
The Kentucky SBDC aims to help small businesses in Kentucky. For new businesses, great information is provided on whether one is ready to start a business, steps to undertake, financing, business planning, and market research. For more established businesses, information geared toward marketing solutions, financial analysis, HR and management solutions, and strategic planning is provided. Affordable services in planning, consulting, and training are available.
Kentucky World Trade Center
The KWTC is a non-profit member organization helping Kentucky businesses trade internationally. Services provided for members include, among others, import/export counseling, sourcing assistance, country investment climate profiles, and a number of seminars and programs.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
This website provides a lot of information about programs and services for Kentucky businesses. There is a section on why Kentucky is a good place to do business, a business assistance section addressing issues such as expansion, location, marketing, and workforce development, a section on technology and innovation, and a data center providing statistics, annual reports, and more.