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McCreary’s population decreasing

McCreary County is one of Kentucky’s fastest shrinking counties, according to a new population estimate released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Kentucky State Data Center.

Data from the report indicates McCreary County lost 350 residents between 2015 and 2016, a two percent drop in overall population – fourth highest in the state.

From the date of the last official Census in 2010 McCreary has seen a population decrease of 785 residents – about four percent.

According to the 2010 Census, McCreary County’s population was 18,306. That number was called in to question at the time due to the fact that federal inmates at USP McCreary were included in the population numbers. At the time 1,415 inmates were housed in the facility. As of this month, that number remains relatively constant, with 1,435 inmates, so the data is still skewed, but the prison population does not effect the percentage drop.

The total population drop ranks seventh in the state, with Pike and Christian counties topping the list with decreases over 1,100 residents each. Percentage wise, McCreary ranks tied for fourth, with Pike and Ballard counties loosing two percent as well. Martin County, with a 2.8 percent population decrease tops the list.

Fayette County showed the largest population gain with 3,682 new residents added over the last year, and Scott County saw the largest percentage increase with 3.1 percent.

The population decrease in McCreary is part of a larger trend of rural counties in eastern and western Kentucky. The report states while the majority of rural counties lost population between 2015 and 2016. Only Garrard, Marshall, Ohio and Hart counties gained more than 100 residents over that period.
The report and associated files can be viewed at

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