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Bowling Green, KY
Bowling Green
MSA: Bowling Green, KY
Best places ranking: #12 among small metro areas
Population: 117,947
Bowling Green is busy reshaping itself.

The city's $250 million downtown redevelopment project includes the newly built Bowling Green Ballpark, home to the Bowling Green Hot Rods minor-league baseball team. The park hosted its first game this spring. New retailers and businesses have opened up around the city's scenic Circus Square Park, and a new performing arts center is in the works for a 2014 debut.

Fruit of the Loom and General Motors' Corvette manufacturing plant make up two of the city's largest and most well-known employers. Despite GM's recent woes, its National Corvette Museum continues to attract car aficionados. Auto suppliers, one of the city's main industries, have struggled, but still take advantage of the city's prime location off Interstate 65 -- a thoroughfare between Detroit and car manufacturing plants in the South.

But the city is also shifting toward developing high paying jobs in technology. A new, environmentally friendly business park, Kentucky Transpark, is drawing high-tech employers and features a training and research center in partnership with the Kentucky Community & Technical College System and Western Kentucky University. Western Kentucky University is also spurring innovation through its small business and high-tech incubators. -Ellen Lee

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Bowling Green, KY


Local smallbiz lenders

  • Community Trust Bancorp
  • Paducah Bank Shares
  • Porter Bancorp
  • U.S. Bank
  • South Central Banchares Of Ken
See all local lenders

Bowling Green Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
2,704 3,516
Small business growth rate
4.2% 4.1%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
34 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
27.3% 23.5%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
331.8 385.1
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,132 3,395.2
Population growth
9.5% 4.93%
Per-capita income
$29,929 $31,933
Per-capita income growth
24.8% 23.6%
GDP (in millions)
$4,038 $4,952
GDP growth
41% 33%
Average hourly wage
$16.48 $17.50
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
2,238 850
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$705 $737
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.8% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.8% 1.7%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-2% 0.1%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"We farm and work the land and the cows. It's a way of life that we love." -Carl Chaney
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Bowling Green?
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Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's