Most rural counties in New Mexico

Written by:
July 25, 2022
Vacaypicts // Wikimedia Commons

Most rural counties in New Mexico

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in New Mexico 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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M.Bucka // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Bernalillo County

- Rural area: 83.2% (966 square miles)
- Urban area: 16.8% (195 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,161 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #532 nationwide

- Population density: 585.0 people / square mile (679,037 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,918 nationwide

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#32. Los Alamos County

- Rural area: 90.9% (99 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.2% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 109 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #3,080 nationwide

- Population density: 173.8 people / square mile (18,976 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,546 nationwide

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Drmccreedy // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Valencia County

- Rural area: 93.5% (997 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.5% (69 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,066 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #607 nationwide

- Population density: 71.8 people / square mile (76,518 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #1,999 nationwide

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Asaavedra32 // Wikimedia

#30. Santa Fe County

- Rural area: 96.0% (1,833 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.0% (77 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,909 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #300 nationwide

- Population density: 78.7 people / square mile (150,319 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,084 nationwide

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#29. Doña Ana County

- Rural area: 97.6% (3,717 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (91 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,808 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #131 nationwide

- Population density: 57.2 people / square mile (217,696 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #1,807 nationwide

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Curry County

- Rural area: 98.4% (1,382 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.6% (23 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,405 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #428 nationwide

- Population density: 35.2 people / square mile (49,502 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #1,345 nationwide

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#27. Sandoval County

- Rural area: 98.5% (3,654 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (56 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,711 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #136 nationwide

- Population density: 39.1 people / square mile (144,954 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #1,456 nationwide

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#26. San Juan County

- Rural area: 98.9% (5,450 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (63 square miles)
- Total land area: 5,513 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #67 nationwide

- Population density: 22.8 people / square mile (125,608 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #993 nationwide

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Lochaven // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Taos County

- Rural area: 99.3% (2,187 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,203 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #256 nationwide

- Population density: 14.9 people / square mile (32,759 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #734 nationwide

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#24. Eddy County

- Rural area: 99.3% (4,147 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (28 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,176 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #113 nationwide

- Population density: 13.9 people / square mile (57,865 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #702 nationwide

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Lea County

- Rural area: 99.4% (4,362 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (29 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,391 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #103 nationwide

- Population density: 16.0 people / square mile (70,359 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #770 nationwide

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#22. Chaves County

- Rural area: 99.6% (6,038 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (27 square miles)
- Total land area: 6,065 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #58 nationwide

- Population density: 10.7 people / square mile (64,912 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #597 nationwide

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#21. Rio Arriba County

- Rural area: 99.6% (5,837 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (24 square miles)
- Total land area: 5,861 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #63 nationwide

- Population density: 6.6 people / square mile (38,962 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #438 nationwide

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#20. Otero County

- Rural area: 99.6% (6,588 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (26 square miles)
- Total land area: 6,613 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #50 nationwide

- Population density: 10.1 people / square mile (66,804 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #582 nationwide

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#19. McKinley County

- Rural area: 99.7% (5,432 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (17 square miles)
- Total land area: 5,450 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #69 nationwide

- Population density: 13.2 people / square mile (71,956 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #680 nationwide

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#18. Grant County

- Rural area: 99.7% (3,949 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (13 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,962 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #123 nationwide

- Population density: 6.9 people / square mile (27,391 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #449 nationwide

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Luna County

- Rural area: 99.7% (2,957 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,965 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #175 nationwide

- Population density: 8.1 people / square mile (24,022 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #500 nationwide

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#16. Roosevelt County

- Rural area: 99.8% (2,442 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,447 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #223 nationwide

- Population density: 7.7 people / square mile (18,723 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #479 nationwide

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KeanoManu // Wikimedia Commons

#15. San Miguel County

- Rural area: 99.8% (4,706 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,716 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #91 nationwide

- Population density: 5.8 people / square mile (27,546 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #402 nationwide

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#14. Cibola County

- Rural area: 99.8% (4,531 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,539 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #98 nationwide

- Population density: 5.9 people / square mile (26,763 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #405 nationwide

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#13. Lincoln County

- Rural area: 99.8% (4,822 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,831 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #84 nationwide

- Population density: 4.1 people / square mile (19,640 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #315 nationwide

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psyberartist // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Sierra County

- Rural area: 99.8% (4,171 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,179 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #111 nationwide

- Population density: 2.6 people / square mile (10,988 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #209 nationwide

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Colfax County

- Rural area: 99.9% (3,754 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,758 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #134 nationwide

- Population density: 3.2 people / square mile (12,106 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #256 nationwide

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#10. Quay County

- Rural area: 99.9% (2,871 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,874 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #180 nationwide

- Population density: 2.9 people / square mile (8,265 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #225 nationwide

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#9. Socorro County

- Rural area: 99.9% (6,641 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 6,647 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #49 nationwide

- Population density: 2.5 people / square mile (16,723 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #196 nationwide

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Guadalupe County

- Rural area: 99.9% (3,028 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,030 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #171 nationwide

- Population density: 1.4 people / square mile (4,336 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #104 nationwide

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Torrance County

- Rural area: 100.0% (3,345 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,345 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #150 nationwide

- Population density: 4.6 people / square mile (15,477 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #354 nationwide

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Mora County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,931 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,931 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #294 nationwide

- Population density: 2.3 people / square mile (4,500 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #183 nationwide

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Hidalgo County

- Rural area: 100.0% (3,437 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,437 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #146 nationwide

- Population density: 1.2 people / square mile (4,234 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #92 nationwide

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#4. Union County

- Rural area: 100.0% (3,824 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,824 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #129 nationwide

- Population density: 1.1 people / square mile (4,106 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #76 nationwide

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#3. De Baca County

- Rural area: 100.0% (2,323 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,323 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #239 nationwide

- Population density: 0.9 people / square mile (1,995 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #56 nationwide

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Peter Potrowl // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Catron County

- Rural area: 100.0% (6,924 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 6,924 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #47 nationwide

- Population density: 0.5 people / square mile (3,547 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #30 nationwide

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Vacaypicts // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Harding County

- Rural area: 100.0% (2,125 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,125 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #262 nationwide

- Population density: 0.2 people / square mile (432 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #8 nationwide

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