While Warren County’s rapid growth is no secret, a recent analysis put forth some eye-opening projections.
The report from the Louisville-based Kentucky State Data Center predicted Warren County’s population will soar to more than 200,000 over the next three decades, making it the state’s third-largest county.
As the Daily News’ Don Sergent reported, the KSDC’s Population Projection Report uses data on births, deaths and net migration to forecast future populations for all 120 Kentucky counties.
While 75 of the 120 counties are expected to decline in population, Warren County is projected to add 74,743 residents by 2050, reaching a population of 209,297 to surpass both Kenton and Boone counties and become Kentucky’s third-most populous county.
“It really confirms what we’ve suspected all along,” said Ben Peterson, executive director of the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County. “We typically beat those population projections.”
Warren County has long been on a strong growth trend, jumping from 113,792 population in 2010 to 134,554 in 2020. Recent economic development announcements, such as the news that Japan-based Envision AESC will build a 3 million-square-foot electric-vehicle battery plant in the Kentucky Transpark that’s expected to employ 2,000 people, are further evidence of the Warren County boom.
Warren County’s projected growth will also drive an expected population hike for the 10-county Barren River region, from a population of 312,062 to 399,036. Along with Warren, Barren River region counties Allen, Barren, Hart, Monroe and Simpson are all expected to grow, with Simpson County leading the list with a projected growth of 32.5%. The other regional counties – Butler, Edmonson, Logan and Metcalfe – are projected to have slight declines in population.
While growth has positive and negative impacts, depending on the eye of the beholder, what is clear is that it will take unprecedented planning and coordination to manage the coming challenges.
Infrastructure will be further strained by the rapid growth and it will take a wise use of resources to ensure we are not overwhelmed. Growth not only impacts things like roads and utilities, but also schools, health care and public services like police and fire departments.
For many years already, there has been ample discussion of the need for more affordable hosing in our community. The growth will only further drive that demand.
With few exceptions over the last few decades, city, county and state governments have worked in unison in Warren County.
That willingness to cooperate on shared goals and needs, driven by thoughtful and forward-looking planning, will be more crucial than ever as we continue to grow exponentially.