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Jefferson County is located in the north central portion of the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 741,096. It is the most populous county in the commonwealth (with more than twice the population of second ranked Fayette County).

Since a city-county merger in 2003, the county's territory, population and government have been coextensive with the city of Louisville, which also serves as county seat. The administrative entity created by this merger is the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, abbreviated to Louisville Metro.

Jefferson County is the anchor of the Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes also referred to as Kentuckiana.

See also: History of Louisville, Kentucky
Jefferson County—originally Jefferson County, Virginia—was established by the Virginia General Assembly in June 1780, when it abolished and partitioned Kentucky County into three counties: Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln. Named for Thomas Jefferson, who was governor of Virginia at the time, it is one of Kentucky's nine original counties.

Jefferson County in 1780, as established by the Virginia General Assembly
In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, George Rogers Clark's militia and 60 civilian settlers, established the first American settlement in the county on Corn Island in the Ohio River, at head of the Falls of the Ohio. They moved to the mainland the following year, establishing Louisville.

Richard Mentor Johnson, the 9th Vice President of the United States, was born in Jefferson County in 1780, while the family was living in a settlement along the Beargrass Creek.

The last major American Indian raid in present-day Jefferson County was the Chenoweth Massacre on July 17, 1789.

Whenever possible, the metro government generally avoids any self-reference including the name "Jefferson County" and has even renamed the Jefferson County Courthouse as Metro Hall.

Prior to the 2003 merger, the head of local government was the County Judge/Executive, a post that still exists but now has few powers. The office is currently held by Queenie Averette.

Local government is effectively now led by the Mayor of Louisville Metro, Greg Fischer.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 398 square miles (1,030 km2), of which 380 square miles (980 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) (4.3%) is water. The Ohio River forms its northern boundary with the state of Indiana.

The highest point is South Park Hill, elevation 902 feet (275 m), located in the southern part of the county. The lowest point is 383 feet (117 m) along the Ohio River just north of West Point.

Adjacent counties
Bullitt County (south)
Shelby County (east)
Oldham County (northeast)
Spencer County (southeast)
Hardin County (southwest)
Clark County, Indiana (north)
Harrison County, Indiana (west)
Floyd County, Indiana (northwest)
Major highways
US 31W
US 42
US 60

US 60 Alt.
US 150
KY 61
KY 146
KY 148
KY 155
KY 660
KY 841
KY 864
KY 907
KY 1020
KY 1065
KY 1447
KY 1531
KY 1694
KY 1703
KY 1747
KY 1819
KY 1865
KY 1931
KY 1932
KY 1934
KY 2052
KY 3222
Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1790 4,765 —
1800 8,754 83.7%
1810 13,399 53.1%
1820 20,768 55.0%
1830 23,979 15.5%
1840 36,346 51.6%
1850 59,831 64.6%
1860 89,404 49.4%
1870 118,953 33.1%
1880 146,010 22.7%
1890 188,598 29.2%
1900 232,549 23.3%
1910 262,920 13.1%
1920 286,369 8.9%
1930 355,350 24.1%
1940 385,392 8.5%
1950 484,615 25.7%
1960 610,947 26.1%
1970 695,055 13.8%
1980 685,004 ?1.4%
1990 664,937 ?2.9%
2000 693,604 4.3%
2010 741,096 6.8%
Est. 2019 766,757 3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019
As of the census of 2000, there were 693,604 people, 287,012 households, and 183,113 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,801 per square mile (695/km2). There were 305,835 housing units at an average density of 794 per square mile (307/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.38% White, 18.88% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 1.39% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. 1.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 287,012 households out of which 29.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.20% were married couples living together, 14.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.20% were non-families. 30.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $54,357 (2018), and the median income for a family was $49,161 (2005). Males had a median income of $36,484 versus $26,255 for females (2005). The per capita income for the county was $31,980 (2018). About 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.1% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over (2018).

Jefferson County KY places.svg
NOTE: Since the formation of Louisville Metro on January 6, 2003, residents of the cities below also became citizens of the newly expanded Metro, but none of the incorporated places dissolved in the process. The functions formerly served by the county government for the towns were assumed by Louisville Metro. However, the former City of Louisville was effectively absorbed into the new city-county government.

Audubon Park
Beechwood Village
Blue Ridge Manor
Broad Fields
Broeck Pointe
Brownsboro Farm
Brownsboro Village
Buechel †
Cherrywood Village
Douglass Hills
Druid Hills
Fairdale †
Fern Creek †
Forest Hills
Glenview Hills
Glenview Manor
Goose Creek
Green Spring
Heritage Creek
Hickory Hill
Highview †
Hills and Dales
Hollow Creek
Houston Acres
Hurstbourne Acres
Indian Hills
Langdon Place
Manor Creek
Maryhill Estates
Meadow Vale
Meadowbrook Farm
Meadowview Estates
Mockingbird Valley
Murray Hill
Newburg †
Norbourne Estates
Okolona †
Old Brownsboro Place
Parkway Village
Pleasure Ridge Park †
Plymouth Village
Poplar Hills
Rolling Fields
Rolling Hills
Seneca Gardens
South Park View
Spring Mill
Spring Valley
St. Dennis †
St. Matthews
St. Regis Park
Strathmoor Manor
Strathmoor Village
Ten Broeck
Valley Station †
Watterson Park
West Buechel
Whipps Millgate
Windy Hills
Woodland Hills
Woodlawn Park
Worthington Hills
† Formerly a census-designated place in the county, but, in 2003, these places became neighborhoods within the city limits of Louisville Metro.
Jefferson County has voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since 1992. In the 2019 gubernatorial election, it voted for Democrat Andy Beshear by a higher percentage than any other county in Kentucky, giving him 67% of the vote.
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