Millennials Love Ohio County, Kentucky

Millennials Love Ohio County, Kentucky Main Photo

26 Feb 2021


Millennials are a vibrant part of Ohio County, Kentucky. They’re both moving into the area and staying there. Thanks to this younger influence, the county now hits all of the points on the "hipster index,” which is an economic indicator that shows a community is poised for growth and can host a strong workforce of millennials for companies that pay competitive wages.

Jodi Ashby, Executive Director of Ohio County Economic Development Alliance elaborates on local factors that contribute to the appeal. “We are a walkable, cycling-friendly community, with many trails, and paths to choose from,” she says, adding that there are plenty of markets, festivals, fairs, local retailers of unique homemade and handmade goods. 

Ashby goes on to mention the vibrant local art and music scene with live performances. “There are coffee shops such as Coppa Cafe and "third spaces" such as The Hub,” she says. “And we have a foodie scene with a few unique options such as Capres Cafe, Slickback, and our vibrant farmer's markets with organic options available. . . . and you can get a craft beer or hand-crafted cocktail!” 

Trevor Lewis and Haven ChinnMillennial restaurateur, Trevor Lewis, loves Ohio County. Born and raised in the community, he and his family own the popular restaurant Beef O’ Bradys.  Lewis says he has no desire to leave. 

"There is nothing better than living in a small town,” he says. “Growing up, I always knew I was going to stay in Ohio County after high school. I wanted to be involved in my community. I absolutely loved being raised here and I can't wait to have children of my own and raise them with this same experience."

Lewis adds that one of the best things about Ohio County is the sense of community. He explains that as business owners, he and his family often host fundraisers and events. “This is when it is most apparent that our community is unique. We all come together for a cause and support each other.” 

If those local reviews aren’t enough, here are five objective reasons millennials love Ohio County:

1.) Millennials are losing interest in bigger cities - More and more, millennials are moving out of large metropolitan areas and heading for communities they can make their own. They prefer places they feel an affinity with —revitalizing smaller cities where quality of life is the driving force. Ohio County is a place where they can contribute their ideas, talents, and vision to impact the way the community and local businesses operate. 

2.) Affordability - Metropolitan and urban areas have a high cost of living. The people of that generation want to live within their financial means, even if that requires making lifestyle changes. They won’t buy a home or rent without it fitting into their budget. They’re acutely aware of the rising cost of housing, food and entertainment in already-expensive cities. This high quality of life paired with the lower cost of living is bringing them to Ohio County and keeping them there.

3.)  Authenticity  - Millennials are fascinated with the revitalization of cities and smaller communities. They have a strong drive for a sense of community and culture. They prefer to shop at smaller local boutique stores and markets, and dine at independent restaurants. Ohio County with its vibrant main street and Bluegrass culture offers all of the above. Moreover, Millennials are a sociable generation. Though they’re connected online, they prefer to spend time together in person. They want to know their neighbors, make new friends, and engage with the community.

4.) Outdoor Recreation - Millennials are fitness-conscious and energetic. They thrive on outdoor activities. Public parks, hiking, and biking trails are a must for them. Water sports, such as kayaking are also a favorite. Ohio County offers miles of free fun and fitness in a beautiful setting.  

Jodi Ashby explains. “Yes, millennials want a unique cultural experience, this area offers, but they also want a place they can hunt, fish, kayak, ride ATVs, gather around a bonfire on a spring or fall weekend. They want the outdoor experience that they can get in Ohio County, along with the condensed version of a vibrant nightlife and family-friendly atmosphere. Ohio County has that unique blend!”

5.) Opportunity - Millennials aren’t willing to stagnate. They love to learn. They love collaborating as creators who can put their stamp on projects. Our workforce development support programs have been  key for attracting and retaining this bright,  youthful workforce. 

This bold generation is driving change in the suburbs, revitalizing smaller cities, and making their corner of the world a better place. When 79 million Americans want to make their communities even a little bit better, it is a good thing for the country. Their presence in Ohio County, KY is a wonderful local asset.