Most rural counties in Missouri

Written by:
July 25, 2022
Original by Patrick Hull, modifications by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

Most rural counties in Missouri

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Missouri using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the percent of land area that is rural, as of the 2010 Census, with ties broken by residents per square mile, according to 2020 5-year population estimates.

According to the Census Bureau, rural land encompasses any land that isn't an urban area. To be considered an urban area, a place has to have a densely settled core of census tracts or blocks and count at least 2,500 people, at least 1,500 of whom must be residents of non-institutional buildings. Areas with 50,000 people or more are considered urbanized areas, while areas with between 2,500 and 50,000 people are considered urban clusters.

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Barton County

- Rural area: 99.5% (589 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 592 square miles
--- #58 largest county in state, #1,655 nationwide

- Population density: 19.8 people / square mile (11,732 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #889 nationwide

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Steveewatkins // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Dent County

- Rural area: 99.5% (749 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 753 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #1,170 nationwide

- Population density: 20.6 people / square mile (15,518 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #911 nationwide

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Bungaloid // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Cedar County

- Rural area: 99.6% (473 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 474 square miles
--- #89 largest county in state, #2,172 nationwide

- Population density: 29.8 people / square mile (14,144 residents)
--- #55 lowest density county in state, #1,206 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Dallas County

- Rural area: 99.6% (539 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 541 square miles
--- #70 largest county in state, #1,932 nationwide

- Population density: 31.1 people / square mile (16,841 residents)
--- #58 lowest density county in state, #1,244 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Iron County

- Rural area: 99.6% (548 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 550 square miles
--- #66 largest county in state, #1,898 nationwide

- Population density: 18.4 people / square mile (10,150 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #835 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Wright County

- Rural area: 99.6% (679 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 682 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #1,375 nationwide

- Population density: 26.8 people / square mile (18,256 residents)
--- #49 lowest density county in state, #1,120 nationwide

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Davekeiser // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Gasconade County

- Rural area: 99.6% (516 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 518 square miles
--- #75 largest county in state, #2,013 nationwide

- Population density: 28.3 people / square mile (14,673 residents)
--- #54 lowest density county in state, #1,165 nationwide

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Brian Hunter // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Benton County

- Rural area: 99.6% (701 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 704 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #1,317 nationwide

- Population density: 27.4 people / square mile (19,305 residents)
--- #51 lowest density county in state, #1,132 nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Macon County

- Rural area: 99.6% (798 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 801 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #1,061 nationwide

- Population density: 18.9 people / square mile (15,154 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #856 nationwide

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Washington County

- Rural area: 99.6% (757 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 760 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #1,150 nationwide

- Population density: 32.7 people / square mile (24,819 residents)
--- #62 lowest density county in state, #1,289 nationwide

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1807060460JCM // Wikimedia Commons

#40. DeKalb County

- Rural area: 99.7% (420 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 421 square miles
--- #103 largest county in state, #2,404 nationwide

- Population density: 28.2 people / square mile (11,872 residents)
--- #53 lowest density county in state, #1,160 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Montgomery County

- Rural area: 99.7% (535 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 536 square miles
--- #72 largest county in state, #1,949 nationwide

- Population density: 21.3 people / square mile (11,414 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #934 nationwide

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Carroll County

- Rural area: 99.7% (692 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 695 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #1,347 nationwide

- Population density: 12.6 people / square mile (8,723 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #658 nationwide

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Jpjonesusn // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Bates County

- Rural area: 99.7% (835 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 837 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #1,000 nationwide

- Population density: 19.5 people / square mile (16,282 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #870 nationwide

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Vsmith // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Douglas County

- Rural area: 99.7% (812 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 814 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #1,037 nationwide

- Population density: 16.4 people / square mile (13,335 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #781 nationwide

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Harrison County

- Rural area: 99.8% (721 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 723 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #1,235 nationwide

- Population density: 11.7 people / square mile (8,427 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #624 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Oregon County

- Rural area: 99.8% (788 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 790 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #1,091 nationwide

- Population density: 13.4 people / square mile (10,561 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #685 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Ralls County

- Rural area: 99.8% (469 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 470 square miles
--- #91 largest county in state, #2,193 nationwide

- Population density: 21.8 people / square mile (10,258 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #957 nationwide

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#32. McDonald County

- Rural area: 100.0% (539 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 539 square miles
--- #71 largest county in state, #1,939 nationwide

- Population density: 42.4 people / square mile (22,882 residents)
--- #72 lowest density county in state, #1,524 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Texas County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,177 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,177 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #520 nationwide

- Population density: 21.7 people / square mile (25,518 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #950 nationwide

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Morgan County

- Rural area: 100.0% (598 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 598 square miles
--- #55 largest county in state, #1,636 nationwide

- Population density: 34.2 people / square mile (20,438 residents)
--- #64 lowest density county in state, #1,322 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Hickory County

- Rural area: 100.0% (399 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 399 square miles
--- #110 largest county in state, #2,531 nationwide

- Population density: 23.7 people / square mile (9,452 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #1,029 nationwide

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Patrick Jennings // Shutterstock

#28. Osage County

- Rural area: 100.0% (604 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 604 square miles
--- #54 largest county in state, #1,613 nationwide

- Population density: 22.5 people / square mile (13,613 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #981 nationwide

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Dean Sebourn // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Ripley County

- Rural area: 100.0% (630 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 630 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #1,526 nationwide

- Population density: 21.4 people / square mile (13,484 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #940 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Caldwell County

- Rural area: 100.0% (426 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 426 square miles
--- #102 largest county in state, #2,381 nationwide

- Population density: 21.2 people / square mile (9,052 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #932 nationwide

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Skye Marthaler, retouched by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Bollinger County

- Rural area: 100.0% (618 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 618 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #1,565 nationwide

- Population density: 19.7 people / square mile (12,181 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #886 nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Lewis County

- Rural area: 100.0% (505 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 505 square miles
--- #79 largest county in state, #2,056 nationwide

- Population density: 19.6 people / square mile (9,898 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #878 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Wayne County

- Rural area: 100.0% (759 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 759 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #1,152 nationwide

- Population density: 17.2 people / square mile (13,058 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #805 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Maries County

- Rural area: 100.0% (527 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 527 square miles
--- #74 largest county in state, #1,986 nationwide

- Population density: 16.7 people / square mile (8,791 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #791 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Dade County

- Rural area: 100.0% (490 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 490 square miles
--- #87 largest county in state, #2,127 nationwide

- Population density: 15.5 people / square mile (7,571 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #753 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Schuyler County

- Rural area: 100.0% (307 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 307 square miles
--- #113 largest county in state, #2,792 nationwide

- Population density: 14.8 people / square mile (4,550 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #730 nationwide

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en:User:Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Daviess County

- Rural area: 100.0% (563 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 563 square miles
--- #63 largest county in state, #1,836 nationwide

- Population density: 14.7 people / square mile (8,294 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #728 nationwide

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TommyBrison // Shutterstock

#18. St. Clair County

- Rural area: 100.0% (670 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 670 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #1,404 nationwide

- Population density: 14.1 people / square mile (9,455 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #714 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Clark County

- Rural area: 100.0% (505 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 505 square miles
--- #80 largest county in state, #2,057 nationwide

- Population density: 13.4 people / square mile (6,783 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #689 nationwide

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Gentry County

- Rural area: 100.0% (491 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 491 square miles
--- #86 largest county in state, #2,118 nationwide

- Population density: 13.4 people / square mile (6,576 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #686 nationwide

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Onegentlemanofverona // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Monroe County

- Rural area: 100.0% (648 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 648 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #1,459 nationwide

- Population density: 13.3 people / square mile (8,630 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #682 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Ozark County

- Rural area: 100.0% (745 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 745 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #1,184 nationwide

- Population density: 12.3 people / square mile (9,138 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #645 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Carter County

- Rural area: 100.0% (507 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 507 square miles
--- #78 largest county in state, #2,045 nationwide

- Population density: 12.0 people / square mile (6,085 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #637 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Shelby County

- Rural area: 100.0% (501 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 501 square miles
--- #82 largest county in state, #2,077 nationwide

- Population density: 11.9 people / square mile (5,975 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #634 nationwide

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Scotland County

- Rural area: 100.0% (437 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 437 square miles
--- #98 largest county in state, #2,321 nationwide

- Population density: 11.3 people / square mile (4,923 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #611 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Chariton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (751 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 751 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #1,171 nationwide

- Population density: 9.9 people / square mile (7,449 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #573 nationwide

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Charvex // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Sullivan County

- Rural area: 100.0% (648 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 648 square miles
--- #41 largest county in state, #1,456 nationwide

- Population density: 9.5 people / square mile (6,163 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #558 nationwide

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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Atchison County

- Rural area: 100.0% (547 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 547 square miles
--- #67 largest county in state, #1,906 nationwide

- Population density: 9.5 people / square mile (5,180 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #556 nationwide

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Holt County

- Rural area: 100.0% (463 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 463 square miles
--- #94 largest county in state, #2,221 nationwide

- Population density: 9.5 people / square mile (4,374 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #555 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Putnam County

- Rural area: 100.0% (517 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 517 square miles
--- #76 largest county in state, #2,015 nationwide

- Population density: 9.2 people / square mile (4,746 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #543 nationwide

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christopher friese // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Shannon County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,004 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,004 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #675 nationwide

- Population density: 8.2 people / square mile (8,207 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #502 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Mercer County

- Rural area: 100.0% (454 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 454 square miles
--- #95 largest county in state, #2,256 nationwide

- Population density: 8.0 people / square mile (3,623 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #491 nationwide

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Canva

#3. Knox County

- Rural area: 100.0% (504 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 504 square miles
--- #81 largest county in state, #2,062 nationwide

- Population density: 7.8 people / square mile (3,948 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #484 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Reynolds County

- Rural area: 100.0% (808 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 808 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #1,048 nationwide

- Population density: 7.8 people / square mile (6,274 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #482 nationwide

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Original by Patrick Hull, modifications by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Worth County

- Rural area: 100.0% (267 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 267 square miles
--- #114 largest county in state, #2,868 nationwide

- Population density: 7.5 people / square mile (2,001 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #472 nationwide

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