Flatwoods is a suburban city of the larger and nearby Ashland, Kentucky, although located in a different county as Ashland, in Greenup County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 7,605 at the 2000 census. Bobby Crager is the city's mayor. Flatwoods is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 288,649.
Locally, Flatwoods is considered to be a "bedroom community", as it has no large employer within the city. Many residents work for CSX Transportation, AK Steel, Marathon Oil, King's Daughters Medical Center, or Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. There are five institutions of higher education located within 30–40 minutes of Flatwoods. The Ohio University Southern Campus, Marshall University, Kentucky Christian University, Ashland Community and Technical College and, Shawnee State University.
The area now known as the City of Flatwoods was originally named Advance; Advance Methodist Church formed a Sunday school beginning in 1860. The name was later changed to Cheap, after John Cheap, a blind Methodist minister. The original farming community returned to the name of Advance when a post office was established in 1918. In 1938, the post office was renamed Flatwoods, and the town was incorporated in 1938 under that name. Flatwoods is named for the area's unique topography, a belt of flat wooded land in the ancient Teays River Valley, on an elevation of approximately 650 feet or higher, just south of the Ohio River Valley. The availability of flat level land and low tax rates made Flatwoods a local "hot spot" of new construction in the 1950s and 60's, when many upper middle class tract housing developments were built and quickly inhabited. A main contributor to Flatwoods' growth was the fact that nearby Ashland had developed much of its available land prior to 1960, with little new construction possible within its corporation limits.