With abundant transportation resources and a central location on the banks of the Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky is a manufacturing, distribution, and service hub.
Louisville is home to shipping and logistics giant UPS, as well as national insurer Humana and two major health systems, which employ a combined total of 29,000 residents. In the mid-20th century, many industrial giants like General Electric and Ford opened manufacturing plants in Louisville; however, from the 1970s to 2000, the manufacturing industry went into decline. All four of the city’s cigarette manufacturers eventually shuttered operations in Louisville, with thousands of jobs lost.
Beginning in the 1990s, Louisville’s civic, business, and educational leaders have worked together to build a thriving, 21st-century economy based largely on shipping and logistics, health care, and technology. However, a persistent legacy of economic and educational inequality between the city’s Black and white residents, as well as patterns of segregation, have contributed to profound inequities in health outcomes between the two communities. To improve the health and well-being of Louisville residents, civic, business, public health leaders, and public-private partnerships have collaborated on ambitious educational and health initiatives, whose impact is beginning to be realized.