A stunning variety of U.S. counties have 100% rural land—702, in reality. To decide the 50 most rural counties in the U.S., Stacker analyzed inhabitants density knowledge from the 2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification. The 2010 Census is the most complete, dependable, and up to date urban-rural classification out there.
According to the Census Bureau, rural land encompasses any land that is not an city space. To be thought of an city space, a spot has to have a densely settled core of census tracts or blocks and depend not less than 2,500 individuals, not less than 1,500 of whom should be residents of non-institutional buildings. Areas with 50,000 individuals or extra are thought of urbanized areas, whereas areas with between 2,500 and 50,000 individuals are thought of city clusters.
This record of the 50 most rural counties in America will help to contextualize what life is like in these areas.
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- 50. Kent County, Texas
- 49. Custer County, Idaho
- 48. De Baca County, New Mexico
- 47. Jackson County, Colorado
- 46. Wheeler County, Oregon
- 45. Phillips County, Montana
- 44. Mineral County, Colorado
- 43. Grant County, Nebraska
- 42. Kiowa County, Colorado
- 41. Meagher County, Montana
- 40. Hudspeth County, Texas
- 39. Hinsdale County, Colorado
- 38. Golden Valley County, Montana
- 37. Treasure County, Montana
- 36. Borden County, Texas
- 35. Billings County, North Dakota
- 34. Prairie County, Montana
- 33. Blaine County, Nebraska
- 32. McCone County, Montana
- 31. Arthur County, Nebraska
- 30. Sioux County, Nebraska
- 29. Culberson County, Texas
- 28. McPherson County, Nebraska
- 27. McMullen County, Texas
- 26. Slope County, North Dakota
- 25. Clark County, Idaho
- 24. Catron County, New Mexico
- 23. Powder River County, Montana
- 22. Lincoln County, Nevada
- 21. Eureka County, Nevada
- 20. Harding County, South Dakota
- 19. Aleutians East Borough, Alaska
- 18. Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska
- 17. Terrell County, Texas
- 16. Carter County, Montana
- 15. Harding County, New Mexico
- 14. King County, Texas
- 13. Petroleum County, Montana
- 12. Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska
- 11. Kenedy County, Texas
- 10. Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska
- 9. Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska
- 8. Dillingham Census Area, Alaska
- 7. Garfield County, Montana
- 6. Esmeralda County, Nevada
- 5. Denali Borough, Alaska
- 4. Loving County, Texas
- 3. Yakutat Borough, Alaska
- 2. Lake and Peninsula Borough, Alaska
- 1. Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska
50. Kent County, Texas
– Population density: 89.53 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 808
– Area: 903 sq. miles
Ranching and oil and gas are the two massive industries in Kent County, which has a sparse inhabitants unfold throughout greater than 900 sq. miles. Cattle, cotton, wheat, and sorghum are the most typical crops.
49. Custer County, Idaho
– Population density: 88.76 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 4,368
– Area: 4,921 sq. miles
The highest mountain in Idaho—Mount Borah—looms over rural Custer County, the place the terrain varies from inexperienced valleys to arid deserts. This county sees a good quantity of tourism due to the Salmon River, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
48. De Baca County, New Mexico
– Population density: 87.06 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 2,022
– Area: 2,323 sq. miles
Named after the second governor of New Mexico, Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca, this county is the second-least populated in the state. It’s declare to fame? Sheriff Pat Garrett shot and killed the well-known outlaw Billy the Kid in 1881 in Fort Sumner.
47. Jackson County, Colorado
– Population density: 86.38 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,394
– Area: 1,614 sq. miles
This sub-alpine valley in Northern Colorado has only one municipality: Walden, which is a well-liked vacation spot for hikers and campers. It was as soon as a well-known Ute searching floor and right now is called the Moose Capital of Colorado.
46. Wheeler County, Oregon
– Population density: 84.04 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,441
– Area: 1,715 sq. miles
Wheeler County counts two national forests inside its borders, and the remainder of the terrain varies from sagebrush to juniper to rimrock. An spectacular quantity of prehistoric fossils have additionally been found right here—the most in any county in the United States, in reality.
45. Phillips County, Montana
– Population density: 82.74 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 4,253
– Area: 5,140 sq. miles
Phillips County is bordered by Canada to the north and the Missouri River to the south. It’s the second-largest county in Montana, however removed from the least populated.
44. Mineral County, Colorado
– Population density: 81.31 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 712
– Area: 876 sq. miles
Ninety-five percent of this county in the southern Rocky Mountains is public land, so it is smart that it is pretty sparsely populated. Creede—the one municipality in Mineral County—was initially a silver mining city and right now will depend on tourism for its economic system.
43. Grant County, Nebraska
– Population density: 79.10 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 614
– Area: 776 sq. miles
This Nebraska county is known as after Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Grant County is comprised of three cities: Ashby, Hyannis, and Whitman.
42. Kiowa County, Colorado
– Population density: 79.08 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,398
– Area: 1,768 sq. miles
Kiowa County shares a reputation with an area Native American tribe. Established in 1889, this county has simply 1,398 individuals unfold out throughout 1,768 sq. miles.
41. Meagher County, Montana
– Population density: 79.06 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,891
– Area: 2,392 sq. miles
With a fairly meager inhabitants density (pun very a lot meant), Meagher County is one in all the many rural counties in Montana. The county seat is White Sulphur Springs, which will get its title from the pure scorching springs there.
40. Hudspeth County, Texas
– Population density: 76.04 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 3,476
– Area: 4,571 sq. miles
This enormous Texas county in the Rio Grande basin shares a border with Mexico to the south and New Mexico to the north. Swaths of Hudspeth County are so undisturbed that archaeologists have even found pottery and petroglyphs from prehistoric individuals in the arid desert.
39. Hinsdale County, Colorado
– Population density: 75.45 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 843
– Area: 1,117 sq. miles
Few roads criss-cross Hinsdale County, giving it the distinction of the most remote county in the lower 48 states. Though there are three nationwide forests and loads of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management inside Hinsdale County, it solely has one city: Lake City, the de facto county seat.
38. Golden Valley County, Montana
– Population density: 75.21 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 884
– Area: 1,175 sq. miles
Both of the cities in Golden Valley County—Lavina and Ryegate—sit alongside the Musselshell River, positioning that made them helpful waypoints for stagecoach and railroad vacationers. Today, it’s primarily a farming and ranching neighborhood.
37. Treasure County, Montana
– Population density: 73.46 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 718
– Area: 977 sq. miles
During the homestead period, Treasure County was bustling with farmers, ranchers, and their households. But over the years, modifications to the agriculture trade and the economic system led increasingly individuals to maneuver away—a lot in order that Treasure County in 2007 grew to become the fastest-shrinking county in Montana after dropping greater than 20 p.c of its inhabitants over a number of years.
36. Borden County, Texas
– Population density: 71.43 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 641
– Area: 897 sq. miles
Not solely is that this county named after Gail Borden, the Texan who invented condensed milk, however the county seat, Gail, shares her first title. Prairie grass and mesquite timber dominate the panorama.
35. Billings County, North Dakota
– Population density: 68.15 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 783
– Area: 1,149 sq. miles
This North Dakota county obtained its title from Frederick Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad. A century in the past, greater than 10,000 individuals known as Billings County house in 1910—a quantity that has dwindled since.
34. Prairie County, Montana
– Population density: 67.89 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,179
– Area: 1,737 sq. miles
Prairie County will make you perceive why Montana is known as Big Sky Country. The county was cobbled collectively from components of three separate counties in 1915.
33. Blaine County, Nebraska
– Population density: 67.24 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 478
– Area: 711 sq. miles
With simply 4 cities inside its borders and a stunningly low inhabitants, Blaine County amongst the least-populated counties in Nebraska. Founded in 1885, the county is located in the Sandhills, a area crammed with prairies excellent for cattle ranching.
32. McCone County, Montana
– Population density: 65.60 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,734
– Area: 2,643 sq. miles
McCone County was named after state Sen. George McCone in 1919. The Montana county has only one integrated city: Circle, which can also be the county seat.
31. Arthur County, Nebraska
– Population density: 64.30 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 460
– Area: 715 sq. miles
Until 1962, this county’s declare to fame was having what was possibly the smallest courthouse in the nation. The county was named after President Chester A. Arthur when it was integrated in 1913.
30. Sioux County, Nebraska
– Population density: 63.43 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,311
– Area: 2,067 sq. miles
Geology buffs would possibly wish to plan a visit to Sioux County, because it’s house to 2 notable areas: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, house to one in all the most important fossil websites of Miocene Epoch mammals, and Toadstool Geological Park, the place guests can take a look at uncommon rock formations formed like mushrooms.
29. Culberson County, Texas
– Population density: 62.89 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 2,398
– Area: 3,813 sq. miles
Culberson County boasts Texas’ tallest mountain: the 8,749-foot Guadalupe Peak, which is also referred to as Signal Peak. Other than tourism to the mountains and Wild West attractions like antique saloons and frontier day celebrations, this county’s greatest trade is agriculture.
28. McPherson County, Nebraska
– Population density: 62.75 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 539
– Area: 859 sq. miles
McPherson County obtained its title from Civil War basic James Birdseye McPherson. The county was created out of unorganized Nebraska territory in 1887.
27. McMullen County, Texas
– Population density: 62.05 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 707
– Area: 1,139 sq. miles
McMullen County could also be small in inhabitants, however it’s mighty in economics. High common incomes there are largely as a consequence of income from oil and gasoline fracking, as McMullen County sits atop a large shale gasoline deposit.
26. Slope County, North Dakota
– Population density: 59.84 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 727
– Area: 1,215 sq. miles
Slope County was created out of land from the similarly sparsely populated Billings County in 1914. The county has not in a position to maintain a big inhabitants in the 100-plus years since.
25. Clark County, Idaho
– Population density: 55.66 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 982
– Area: 1,764 sq. miles
The title of this Colorado county honors a local son: Sam Okay. Clark, a settler on Medicine Lodge Creek who later grew to become the first state senator from this county. Idahoans might need visited this county to hike or camp at Harriman State Park or soak in the Green Canyon or Heise Hot Springs.
24. Catron County, New Mexico
– Population density: 53.80 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 3,725
– Area: 6,924 sq. miles
Although it’s the largest county in New Mexico by land mass, Catron County is the third-smallest by inhabitants. Less than 20% of the land right here is privately owned: Most is rugged mountain public lands.
23. Powder River County, Montana
– Population density: 52.86 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,743
– Area: 3,297 sq. miles
The Powder River that runs by means of this Montana county obtained its title from its sandy banks that look like gunpowder. Most of Powder River County is grazing land for native ranches and farms.
22. Lincoln County, Nevada
– Population density: 50.27 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 5,345
– Area: 10,633 sq. miles
Lincoln County covers greater than 10,000 sq. miles of Nevada’s excessive mountain desert. It’s a preferred vacation spot for UFO lovers, due to its close proximity to the infamous Area 51 testing facility. Alien truthers can get a drink at the Little Ale’inn in the city of Rachel after visiting the Alien Research Center in Hiko.
21. Eureka County, Nevada
– Population density: 47.59 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,987
– Area: 4,176 sq. miles
Ranching, agriculture, and mining are the three largest industries in Eureka County in central Nevada. Unlike a lot of the counties on this record, Eureka’s inhabitants has really grown in current years—30 p.c over the previous decade, in reality.
20. Harding County, South Dakota
– Population density: 46.98 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,255
– Area: 2,671 sq. miles
There are about 10 times as many cattle and sheep in Harding County as there are people, however that does not cease residents from having loads of satisfaction in their house county. Local legends embrace the story of Tipperary, a rodeo bronco who bucked off 82 cowboys earlier than somebody managed to experience him, and the story of a three-toed grey wolf that supposedly killed $50,000 price of livestock over his lifetime.
19. Aleutians East Borough, Alaska
– Population density: 44.99 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 3,141
– Area: 6,982 sq. miles
This Alaskan county includes a piece of the Aleutian Islands trailing away from the southern tip of the state. Visitors can fly in by seaplane to go searching, attempt their hand at sport fishing, or simply take in the pure great thing about the area.
18. Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 43.67 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 7,459
– Area: 17,081 sq. miles
This census space in Western Alaska is huge—virtually twice the measurement of New Jersey. Though it was previously named Wade Hampton Census Area after a accomplice basic and slave proprietor who by no means set foot in Alaska, Governor Bill Walker officially changed the name to Kusilvak Census Area in 2015.
17. Terrell County, Texas
– Population density: 41.73 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 984
– Area: 2,358 sq. miles
Most of the guests to Terrell County in Texas come to hike the area’s canyons and rugged mountains or hunt white-tailed and mule deer. Ranching, oil, and gasoline are the different giant industries.
16. Carter County, Montana
– Population density: 34.72 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,160
– Area: 3,341 sq. miles
Founded in 1936, the Carter County Museum was the first county museum in Montana. Today, it nonetheless exhibits off a powerful show of fossils collected in the space, most of which was coated by the Pierre Sea and moist marshland in prehistoric occasions.
15. Harding County, New Mexico
– Population density: 32.70 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 695
– Area: 2,125 sq. miles
When Harding County was based in 1921—on the same day Warren G. Harding became president of the United States, hence the name—it was a bustling farm neighborhood of greater than 5,000 residents. Unfortunately, it by no means recovered from the Dust Bowl, and the panorama of prairie, mesa, and canyons appears much more large open.
14. King County, Texas
– Population density: 31.40 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 286
– Area: 911 sq. miles
The custom of ranching in King County dates all the means again to 1874, when the U.S. Army eliminated the Commanche from the space. Today, most ranches in the space elevate cattle or horses, whereas farmers develop wheat, hay, and cotton.
13. Petroleum County, Montana
– Population density: 29.85 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 494
– Area: 1,655 sq. miles
The least-populous county in Montana, Petroleum County boasts a inhabitants of just below 500 individuals. Petroleum County is a well known place for antelope searching, and sheep- and cattle-farming make up the remainder of the native economic system.
12. Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 28.57 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 2,150
– Area: 7,525 sq. miles
This census space situated simply outdoors Juneau has a major inhabitants of Alaska Native individuals: 39 p.c. It’s additionally gigantic—Connecticut could fit comfortably inside its borders.
11. Kenedy County, Texas
– Population density: 28.53 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 416
– Area: 1,458 sq. miles
Archaeological proof means that people have known as this Gulf Coast county house since the Paleo Indian period between 9200 and 6000 BC. Two native entrepreneurs—Mifflin Kenedy, the county’s namesake, and Richard King—consolidated most of the viable farmland into ranches in the 1800s, and most of the land stays in their descendants’ palms right now.
10. Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 28.38 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 7,029
– Area: 24,769 sq. miles
The median family earnings in this Alaskan census space is simply over $63,000 per 12 months. This census space is so giant, that there’s simply 0.3 individuals per sq. mile.
9. Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 28.14 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 9,636
– Area: 34,240 sq. miles
The median family earnings in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area is larger than the earlier Alaska county, at greater than $86,000. With 34,240 sq. miles of land inside its borders, it is also one in all the largest areas on this record.
8. Dillingham Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 26.10 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 4,847
– Area: 18,569 sq. miles
Harvesting and processing sockeye salmon is the massive trade in the Dillingham Census Area, which suggests the economic system is extremely seasonal. Related companies, like chilly storage and industrial fishing, dominate the bigger cities whereas many smaller communities apply subsistence actions.
7. Garfield County, Montana
– Population density: 25.79 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,206
– Area: 4,675 sq. miles
There’s only one city in rural Garfield County: Jordan, the county seat that was named after settler Arthur Jordan. Jordan was not solely liable for settling the land, but in addition beginning a small basic retailer and petitioning for an official submit workplace in 1899.
6. Esmeralda County, Nevada
– Population density: 21.86 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 783
– Area: 3,582 sq. miles
It’s becoming that ghost towns and historic mining communities are a few of the most important attracts in Esmeralda County, Nevada—it is so sparsely populated that guests really come to see the deserted cities. The panorama is stuffed with rugged mountains, scenic mesas, and big basins.
5. Denali Borough, Alaska
– Population density: 14.32 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,826
– Area: 12,751 sq. miles
Denali Borough shares a reputation with the well-known nationwide park that falls inside its borders, the place guests flock to see North America’s tallest peak in addition to wildlife like Dall sheep, caribou, grizzly bears, moose, and wolves. Since the park includes 6 million acres, it is no shock that Denali Borough is the fifth most-rural county or borough in America.
4. Loving County, Texas
– Population density: 12.26 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 82
– Area: 669 sq. miles
Loving County is one in all the smallest counties in the U.S. in phrases of the whole inhabitants. That could also be altering, nonetheless: Between 2010 and 2019, the inhabitants right here grew by 106.10%.
3. Yakutat Borough, Alaska
– Population density: 8.65 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 662
– Area: 7,649 sq. miles
Both the title of this county and the single year-round city inside its borders traces its roots to the native Tlingit individuals: Yakutat comes from the word Yaakwdáat, which means “the place where the canoes rest.” Yakutat sits on a moraine, or land shaped by deposits of rocks and sediment at a glacier’s edge.
2. Lake and Peninsula Borough, Alaska
– Population density: 6.90 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 1,631
– Area: 23,652 sq. miles
In addition to Lake and Peninsula Borough’s 23,653 sq. miles of land, it additionally controls another 7,125 square miles of water bordering the peninsula. Katmai National Park and Preserve—world well-known for the 2,200 brown bears who name it house—additionally falls inside this borough.
1. Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska
– Population density: 3.84 individuals / 100 sq. miles
– Population: 5,588
– Area: 145,505 sq. miles
The most rural place in the United States is Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in Central Alaska. This swath of territory covers a whopping 145,505 sq. miles—about the similar measurement as all of Montana. The Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area can also be near the Arctic Circle, so many vacationers journey to Fort Yukon, the largest city, to fulfill their native tour guides.