Redistricting Process: Legislative Population Change (since 2000): 297,598
Legislature: Split: House-D, Senate-R Seats: 6
Governor: Steve Beshear (D) Members of Congress: 5R, 1D
Party Control: Split 2012: 37.8% Obama, 60.5% Romney

Map Instructions:

Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
Click on each district on the map to see more information.
Click the arrow button to switch between districts that are close together.
New Districts by Party Representation

Redistricting Analysis: Kentucky

2010 Redistricting Changes:

Old Districts by Partisan Voting Index with New District Outlines
Old Districts by Party Representation with New District Outlines

Population and Demographic Shifts

In the ten years between 2000 and 2010, Kentucky gre­­­w by 255,648 people giving the state a population growth rate of 7.4% compared to the national average of 9.7%. Despite the slow growth, Kentucky retained its six congressional districts.

Kentucky’s population growth has largely been driven by an increase in the Caucasian, Black, and Hispanic populations of the state, who make of 85% of the state’s population increase. As in most states, growth has been concentrated in Kentucky’s urban centers, focusing mainly on the Lexington, Louisville, and Frankfort metropolitan areas. Oldham, Shelby, and Spencer Counties, for instance, consist primarily of suburbs of Lexington, and all experienced over 25% growth between 2000 and 2010.

Redistricting Process

Redistricting in Kentucky is completed by the Kentucky General Assembly in a somewhat informal process. Typically, each chamber of the Assembly will prepare their own Congressional plans as legislation to be passed by both chambers, and then approved by the governor. In 2011, both chambers formed an Interim Joint Committee on State Government (IJCSG), comprised of 35 Representatives and 11 Senators, in order to complete the redistricting process. The IJCSG, which was appointed at the end of the Spring 2011 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly, had the summer of 2011 to work on the issue. In the fall, Governor Steve Beshear could either call a special legislative session to approve any proposed plans, or elect to allow the General Assembly to consider any plans in 2012.

The IJCSG moved on redistricting in 2011, offering up one plan that favored Democrats, and another plan that protected the current congressional status quo. Delayed by legal troubles over the state’s legislative redistricting, the topic of congressional redistricting was largely left aside until February of 2012, when House Democrats and Senate Republicans announced a compromise on a plan that would largely keep Congressional districts the same as they had been in the decade previous. On February 10, 2012, this plan passed 58-26 in the House, and 29-7 in the Senate. Governor Beshear signed the plan into law the same day.

The delay over the 2010 redistricting process prompted the drafting of a state constitutional amendment by the Kentucky Senate State and Local Government Committee. The amendment would require the legislature to remain in session in the spring until a redistricting plan is approved. Though the amendment was approved 9-0 by the Committee, it was not brought to a vote on the floor of the Kentucky State Senate, and thus did not appear on the ballot in 2012.

First District

The Kentucky First encompasses most of the southwestern portion of the state, reaching up from its border with Tennessee with two prongs to the Ohio River and another towards Marion County. The eastern border of the district is along Casey, Russell, and Clinton Counties, while the cities of Henderson and Campbellsville form the loci of the northward prongs. The First remains largely the same as before the redistricting process, save for the addition of most of Ohio County in the northwest, as well as Marion and Taylor Counties in the northeast.

Second District

The Kentucky Second is located in the central portion of the state, with a northern edge defined by the Ohio River. The Second is most notable for being home to Fort Knox and Mammoth Cave National Park, which define the districts inner northern and southern borders. The Second is also characterized by an arm that reaches into Mercer, Boyle, Garrard, and parts of Jessamine County in the east, which includes portions of suburban Lexington. After the redistricting process, the Second lost a significant amount of northern territory near Shelby and Spencer Counties in favor of its eastern expansion towards Lexington.

Third District

The Kentucky Third is based around the city of Lexington in Jefferson County. It encompasses the entirety of the western portion of the county, and ends with an eastern border that is centered approximately on Interstate 265. For the most part, the northern and southern borders follow the county lines, save for a minor indentation near the northern portion of the district. Previous to redistricting, the Third occupied most of Jefferson County, with a few small exceptions in the south. By contrast, the new Third has moved into the western corner of the Jefferson County, and has ceded significant territory in the eastern part of the county to the Fourth.

Fourth District

The Fourth is a narrow district that caps off the northern portion of Kentucky, reaching from Jefferson County to the state’s eastern border with West Virginia. It includes a large portion of suburban Cincinnati in the north, and parts of the city of Summit in the east. The redistricting process added much of the Fourth’s current southern reach, adding Shelby County, the eastern part of Jefferson County, and a portion of Spencer County. In the east, however, the Fourth has moved northwards, ceding holdings in Boyd, Carter, and Elliott Counties to the Fifth.

Fifth District

The Kentucky Fifth is located in the southeastern part of Kentucky, reaching from the state’s border with Tennessee along the West Virginia and Virginia borders. The Fifth also stretches far inside the state, encompassing the cities of London, Somerset, Hazard, and Morehead. By contrast, the Fifth before redistricting stayed closer to the state lines, omitting northern Elliott, Carter, and Lincoln Counties.

The Fifth has a strong Republican heritage – Republicans have consistently represented it in Congress since 1963.

Sixth District

The Kentucky Sixth is based in central Kentucky, with loci in the state capital of Frankfort and the state’s second largest city, Lexington. It additionally encompasses a large swath of rural land to the east and the southeast of Lexington, stretching towards Berea in the south and Flemingsburg in the east. The Sixth has moved further to the northeast after the redistricting process, shedding holdings in Boyle, Lincoln, Mercer, and Garrard Counties in favor of the northeastern Fleming, Nicholas, Robertson, and Bath Counties.