Corbin is a fourth-class city governed by a mayor and city commission. Willard McBurney is the current mayor. Phil Gregory, Joe Shelton, Bruce Farris, and Dennis Lynch are its four current Commissioners.
Corbin is one of the few cities in Kentucky which lies in two counties. This arrangement has created some problems with taxes. The city receives a portion of the occupational tax collected in Whitley County, but Knox County has refused to give Corbin a part of the tax collected there. On March 10, 2008, the City Commission voted to file a lawsuit against Knox County to receive a portion of the tax collected within city limits.
Corbin lies in the Cumberland Plateau region of Appalachia in southeastern Kentucky. The Pine Mountain Overthrust Fault, a geologic fault system located several miles to the east, produces occasional tremors, the most recent in 2008.
Major employers in the area today include Aisin Automotive Casting, Vangent, Inc. (formerly known as NCS Pearson), Pepsi Bottling Company, CTA Acoustics, Baptist Regional Medical Center, and Whayne Supply, Superior Protection Fire Safety.
Corbin is the smaller principal city of the Corbin-London CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Corbin (Whitley County) and the much larger London (Laurel County) micropolitan areas, which had a combined population of 88,580 at the 2000 census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,742 people, 3,308 households, and 2,067 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,045.8 people per square mile (403.9/km²). There were 3,704 housing units at an average density of 500.3/sq mi (193.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.35% White, 0.08% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.79% of the population.
There were 3,308 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 81.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,203, and the median income for a family was $32,784. Males had a median income of $27,323 versus $17,568 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,200. About 15.5% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.0% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.
The community also places considerable emphasis on the success of its high school athletic teams. "Redhounds" games, especially football, are important social events for many within the community.
In 2004 Eastern Kentucky University opened a new extension campus in Corbin.
The annual Battle for the Brass Lantern, a college football rivalry game between University of the Cumberlands and Union College, takes place at Corbin High School's stadium, as a neutral field roughly equidistant from the two campuses. The Cumberland-Union rivalry dates to 1905, and was first played in Corbin in 2006
Corbin is also home to Saint Camillus Academy, a private pre-K-8 school affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1908 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, the school has been successful as both a boarding school for national and international students and as a Montessori school. It's original schoolhouse, built in 1913, is scheduled for demolition in June. The new school building is still situated atop a prominent hill overlooking the town, providing a striking backdrop to the streets of downtown Corbin.