Owsley County is a county located in the Eastern Coalfield region of the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,755 making it the second-least populous county in Kentucky. The county seat is Booneville. The county was organized on January 23, 1843 from Clay, Estill, and Breathitt counties and named for William Owsley (1782–1862), the judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals and Governor of Kentucky (1844–48).
According to the 2010 census reports, Owsley County has the second highest level of child poverty of any county in the United States. In terms of income per household, the county is the poorest in the nation. About 41.7% of families and 45.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 56.3% of those under age 18 and 34.5% of those age 65 or over.
In 2009, government benefits accounted for 53.07% of personal income.