Somerset is a city in
Pulaski County, Kentucky, United States.
The city population was 11,352 at the
population of the Somerset Micropolitan Statistical Area was 56,217
at the 2000 census.The 2009 estimated population is 12,320 for the
city of Somerset. The Somerset Micropolitan Statistical Area is
was first settled in 1798 by Thomas Hansford and several members of
the Jasper family and it received its name from Somerset
Jersey, the place where some of the settlers once
Somerset became the county seat of Pulaski County in
1802 and was incorporated as a city in 1887. A significant Civil
War battle was fought at Mill Springs (now "Nancy") about 8 miles
west of Somerset, and a museum exists at the site of the battle.
completion of Lake
Cumberland in 1950
transformed Somerset from a sleepy rural community into one of the
largest recreation centers in Kentucky drawing more than 1.7
million visitors yearly, the bulk of which occurs between the
Memorial and Labor Day holidays.
Lake Cumberland is one of
the largest man-made lakes in the world (101 miles in length, with
an average depth of 85 feet and a normal pool containing more than
2 trillion gallons of water). Somerset is also close to Cumberland
Falls and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation
Area; its tourism industries are, in part, due to its
scenic and varied landscape.
Geography and Climate
Somerset is located at (37.082966, -84.609387) , and the downtown
(central) part of the city is at an elevation of around 750-800
feet above sea level. The city is located at the eastern end of
Kentucky's "Mississippian Plateau" (or "Pennyroyal"); however, the
micropolitan area extends eastward into the "Appalachian Plateau"
(or "Eastern Kentucky Coalfields"), and northward to Kentucky's
"Outer Bluegrass" region. Thus, the area shows significant
variations in landform and scenery.
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
11.3 square miles
), of which,
11.3 square miles (29.2 km²) of it is land and 0.09%
Somerset's climate is warm during summer when temperatures tend to
be in the 80's and mild during winter when temperatures tend to be
in the 30s and 40s. The warmest month of the year is July with an
average daily maximum temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The
coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum
temperature of 25.10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The annual average precipitation at Somerset is 51.08 Inches.
Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The
wettest month of the year is May with an average rainfall of 5.17
Inches. Snowfall typically occurs between the months of December
and February, though on record as early as November and as late as
The major demographic differences between the city and the
micropolitan area relate to income, housing composition and age.
The micropolitan area, as compared to the incorporated city, is
more suburban in flavor and has a significantly younger housing
stock, a higher income, and contains most of the area's school age
population. Over the last 20 years, significant housing growth has
occurred along the Fishing Creek tributary of Lake Cumberland,
which lies just to the west of the City of Somerset, and along the
main body of Lake Cumberland between the City of Burnside and
Fishing Creek. Much of the Somerset area housing growth in the last
20 years is decidedly lake-oriented.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 11,352
people, 4,831 households, and 2,845 families residing within the
City of Somerset (proper). The population density
for the city proper
was 1,007.1 persons per square mile (388.9/km²). A large karst
valley occupies the south-central portion of the city, taking up
about 25% of the land area; this valley is quasi-industrialized and
also contains parks and recreational facilities; most of the
population lies to the east and north of this valley in fairly
compact and well-kept residential neighborhoods that have a real
population density of about 1,800 persons per square mile. There
were 5,428 housing units at an average density of 481.5/sq mi
(186.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.16% White
, 3.66% Black
, 0.18% Native American
, 0.26% from other races
, and 1.02% from two
or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.99%
of the population. However, there is a growing influx of immigrants
from Mexico and Central America, many of whom are undocumented and
not counted in this census.
There were 4,831 households out of which 26.6% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples
living together, 15.0% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families.
37.8% of all households were made up of individuals, 18.4% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the city proper, 20.6% were under the age of 18, 8.5% were in
the age cohort from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to
64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
40 years. For every 100 females there were 82.5 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,362, and the
median income for a family was $31,226. Males had a median income
of $28,536 versus $20,194 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$14,048. About 16.4% of families and 22.1% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 31.3%
of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.
Tourism is economic for Somerset, due to its proximity to Lake
Cumberland and other events. Lake Cumberland alone generates
approximately $150 million dollars in revenue each year . The city
holds the annual Master Musician's Festival. Somerset is home to
the Somernites Cruise, the largest monthly car show in the state.
The Battle of
Mill Springs took place in nearby Nancy, KY and the reenactments
held there often draw large crowds.
Commerce, driven in part by the area's tourism, thrives in
Somerset. The city is home to a small mall and several shopping
centers. Most of these stores, as well as many restaurants and
hotels are located along U.S.
Route 27, making up the state's longest
stretch of businesses outside of Louisville and Lexington.
Somerset has the Valley Oak Technology Complex, a key industrial
center in the state, housing such companies as Science
Applications International Corporation
and others. Somerset's location along Lake Cumberland
has caused it to become a major houseboat manufacturing center.
Sumerset Houseboats and are located in Somerset. The city also has
auto-associated, flooring, wood-associated, and other industries.
Somerset has also increasingly been taking on the functions of a
major medical center, with many doctor's offices and Lake
Cumberland Regional Hospital being one of the largest in the
The medical community is growing rapidly. Lake Cumberland Regional
Hospital is a regional hub for the regions only advanced medical
services. Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is a JACHO accredited
hospital with 304 beds. For a Virtual tour of Lake Cumberland
Regional Hospital: http://www.lakecregional.com
There are several schools in the county, served by two main school
systems - Somerset Independent
. Students living within the city limits typically fall
under the Somerset Independent school district. The Pulaski County
School System contains Pulaski County High
(PCHS) and Southwestern High
, which was built in 1993 to alleviate
There are several other smaller schools, including Tabernacle
Christian Academy, Science Hill Independent
, Somerset Christian School
, and Saleen Christian
Academy. The four main high schools are Southwestern, Pulaski
, and Somerset Christian. Standardized school
testing is required by state law, and those of the Somerset area
are typically in the upper half, comparatively, statewide. There is
a local two-year college, Somerset Community and Technical
, part of the Kentucky
Community and Technical College System
Community Technical College offers one of the few Aviation
Maintenance Technology programs (Airframe and Powerplant) in the
state of Kentucky.