Graves County Health Department Emergency Preparedness

Graves County Economic Development

Graves County is located in the United States, Commonwealth of Kentucky.  It was formed in 1824.  As of 2000, the population was 37,028.  Our county seat is Mayfield.  The county is named for Major Benjamin Franklin Graves, a soldier in the War of 1812.  The Mayfield Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Graves County.

Graves County is a "limited" dry county, meaning that sale of alcohol in the county is prohibited except for alcohol by the drink in restaurants in Mayfield which have seating for at least 100 patrons or at the Mayfield Golf and Country Club.

As one of Kentucky's largest counties, Graves' history of legends and leaders includes a US Vice-President, four US Congressmen, famous and infamous heroes, singers and songwriters, noted writers and a legacy of historic sites.

The fertile land attracted early settlers from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, who brought with them a degree of education and culture and a fierce determination to succeed on the land.  Remarkable in their achievements as craftsmen and farmers they put down roots to blend a political, economic, and social environment unique, perhaps only to Graves County.

Tobacco was very much a part of the local economy over the years and Graves County ha a rich history of the dark-fired and dark-air-cured leaf tobacco used in smokeless tobacco.  A woolen mill, began operation prior to the Civil War and continued to grow with the men's clothing market.  Several clothing companies were added and the town's minor league baseball team was even called the "Mayfield Clothiers".

According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 556 square miles of which 555 square miles is land and 1 square mile is water.

As of July 2009, population for Graves County was estimated at 37,719 (30% urban, 70% rural).  With a land area of 556 square miles and water area of 0.9 square miles, the average population  for the county was 68 people per square mile.  In December 2009, the cost of living index in Graves County was 78.1 out of the US average of 100.  Employment was at manufacturing (22.1%), education, health, and social services (20.3%); and retail trade (12.3%).  The type of workers were private wage or salary 77%; government 12%; self-employed, not incorporated 10%; and unpaid family work 1%.  The racial composition was white non-hispanic (91.7%); black (4.4%); Hispanic (2.4); other race (1.3%) two or more races (1.1%); and American Indian (0.7%).  (Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races).  The median age of the residents was 38.1 years, with 18,041 (48.7%) males and 18,987 (51.3%) females.  The estimated median household income in 2008 was $38,086 ($30,874 in 1999).  Percentage of residents with income below the poverty level in 2008 was 16.4%

Unemployment in April 2010 was 9.7%

Current college students of 1,251 with people 25 years of age or older with a high school degree or higher of 73.4%, and people 25 years of age or older with a bachelor's degree or higher of 12.6%.

Religion statistics:  Percentage of population affiliated with a religious congregations was 76.08% in 105 congregations, consisting of Southern Baptist Convention (60%); Other (12%); Churches of Christ (10%); United Methodist Church (9%); and Catholic Church: 
Source:  Jones, Dale E., et al. 2002.  Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000.  Nashville, TN:  Glenmary Research Center.

Agriculture:  The average size of a farm was 175 acres, with an average value of agricultural products sold per farm of $87,741.  The average value of crops sold per acre for harvested cropland was $272.77.  The value of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold was 0.35%.  The value of livestock, poultry, and their products as a percentage of the total market value of agricultural products sold was 73.14%  The average total farm production expenses per farm was $65,218, with an average market value of all machinery and equipment per farm of $54,815.  The percents of farms operated by a family or individual was 94.22% with the average of principal farm operators of 56 years.  The average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms was 5.70, with milk cows as a percent of all cattle and calves at 5.27%.  Crops included corn for grain of 59,829 harvested acres; all wheat for grain of 16,225 harvested acres; soybeans for beans 69.967 harvested acres; vegetables of 118 harvested acres; and land in orchards at 77 acres.

Graves County historical area-adjusted tornado activity is slightly above Kentucky state average.  It is 1.9 times above overall US average.  Tornadoes in this county have caused 5 injuries recorded between 1950 and 2004.  ON March 4, 1967, a category 3 (maximum wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado injured 5 people and caused between $50,000 and $500,000 in damages.

Graves County-area historical earthquake activity is significantly above Kentucky state average.  It is 3% smaller than the overall US average.

On September 26, 1990 at 13:18:51, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred 57.6 miles away from the county center.  On May 4, 1991 at 01:18:54, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred 66.3 miles away from the county center.  On Jun 18, 2002 at 17:37:15 a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred 99 miles away from the county center.  On September 29, 1987 at 00:04:56 a magnitude 4.6 earthquake occurred 30.0 miles away from the Graves County center.  On April 27, 1989 at 16:47:49, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake occurred 80.1 miles away from the county center.  On February 5, 1994 at 14:55:37, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake occurred 53.1 miles away from the county center.