Owsley county is in the Eastern Coal Field region of Kentucky. The elevation in the county ranges from 650 to 1720 feet above sea level.
It was formed in 1843 from Breathitt, Clay, and Estill counties. Owsley county was a source of Jackson (1858), Wolfe (1860), and Lee (1870) counties. The county seat is Booneville.
In 2020 the county population was 4,051 in a land area of 197.41 square miles, an average of 20.5 people per square mile.
The equine population was 700 in the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey.
Owsley county is in the Kentucky River Area Development District. It is in the Appalachian region according to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Owsley county was named to honor William Owsley, governor of Kentucky.
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