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Somerset is a city in Pulaski County, Kentuckymarker, United Statesmarker. The city population was 11,352 at the 2000 census. 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 60,148.


Somerset was first settled in 1798 by Thomas Hansford and several members of the Jasper family and it received its name from Somerset Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, the place where some of the settlers once lived. 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. The completion of Lake Cumberlandmarker 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 Fallsmarker and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Areamarker; 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 (29.2 km²), of which, 11.3 square miles (29.2 km²) of it is land and 0.09% is water.

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 April.


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, 0.71% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino 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.

Local Economy

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 Springsmarker 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 Louisvillemarker and Lexingtonmarker.

Somerset has the Valley Oak Technology Complex, a key industrial center in the state, housing such companies as Science Applications International Corporation, Safeauto, Presidium Learning 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 state.

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:

Local schools

There are several schools in the county, served by two main school systems - Somerset Independent and Pulaski County. Students living within the city limits typically fall under the Somerset Independent school district. The Pulaski County School System contains Pulaski County High School (PCHS) and Southwestern High School, which was built in 1993 to alleviate overcrowding.

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 County, Somerset, 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 College, part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Somerset Community Technical College offers one of the few Aviation Maintenance Technology programs (Airframe and Powerplant) in the state of Kentucky.

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