The equine industry is a leading sector of Kentucky’s economy, and Lexington is a substantial part of that industry. With 24,000 horses in Lexington’s 283 square miles, Lexington takes up less than 1% of Kentucky’s land but is home to 10% of Kentucky’s horses, according to the most recent Kentucky Equine Survey.
To put Lexington’s equine industry into perspective, consider the location quotient (LQ), which measures an industry’s concentration or share of employment in a region compared to the nation. The LQ can signal a region’s uniqueness and strengths.
- An LQ of 1 indicates that the region is no different from the national average.
- An LQ of greater than 1 indicates a regional strength, and a high LQ indicates uniqueness or a competitive advantage.
- An LQ of less than 1 indicates a weaker industry, which can sometimes be an opportunity for development.
The industry with the largest LQ in Lexington is horses and other equine production (NAICS 11292 ), at 78.94 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). In other words, horses are Lexington’s most unique industry and the share of equine employees in Lexington is 79 times higher than the national share.
Looking at the region, the Lexington MSA has the second highest equine industry LQ in the country at 118.02. Furthermore, 22% of the country’s equine industry employees are in the Lexington MSA.
Kentucky has the largest equine industry LQ compared to all states at 18.16, far outpacing the second-highest state, New Mexico, which has an LQ of 3.64.