Most rural counties in New York

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May 2, 2022
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Most rural counties in New York

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 York 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 2019 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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#50. Schenectady County

- Rural area: 70.4% (144 square miles)
- Urban area: 29.6% (61 square miles)
- Total land area: 205 square miles
--- #56 largest county in state, #2,990 nationwide

- Population density: 757.2 people / square mile (154,859 residents)
--- #51 lowest density county in state, #2,953 nationwide

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#49. Onondaga County

- Rural area: 75.7% (589 square miles)
- Urban area: 24.3% (189 square miles)
- Total land area: 778 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #1,111 nationwide

- Population density: 594.7 people / square mile (462,872 residents)
--- #50 lowest density county in state, #2,923 nationwide

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#48. Albany County

- Rural area: 76.6% (401 square miles)
- Urban area: 23.4% (122 square miles)
- Total land area: 523 square miles
--- #40 largest county in state, #1,995 nationwide

- Population density: 587.2 people / square mile (306,968 residents)
--- #49 lowest density county in state, #2,919 nationwide

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#47. Orange County

- Rural area: 77.3% (627 square miles)
- Urban area: 22.8% (185 square miles)
- Total land area: 812 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #1,041 nationwide

- Population density: 468.3 people / square mile (380,085 residents)
--- #48 lowest density county in state, #2,865 nationwide

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#46. Dutchess County

- Rural area: 78.0% (621 square miles)
- Urban area: 22.0% (175 square miles)
- Total land area: 796 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #1,075 nationwide

- Population density: 369.2 people / square mile (293,754 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #2,792 nationwide

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#45. Niagara County

- Rural area: 82.1% (429 square miles)
- Urban area: 17.9% (94 square miles)
- Total land area: 522 square miles
--- #41 largest county in state, #1,996 nationwide

- Population density: 403.6 people / square mile (210,820 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,835 nationwide

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#44. Saratoga County

- Rural area: 87.2% (706 square miles)
- Urban area: 12.8% (104 square miles)
- Total land area: 810 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #1,046 nationwide

- Population density: 282.1 people / square mile (228,502 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,716 nationwide

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#43. Rensselaer County

- Rural area: 89.4% (584 square miles)
- Urban area: 10.6% (69 square miles)
- Total land area: 652 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #1,442 nationwide

- Population density: 244.0 people / square mile (159,185 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,668 nationwide

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#42. Broome County

- Rural area: 90.6% (639 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.4% (67 square miles)
- Total land area: 706 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #1,309 nationwide

- Population density: 273.7 people / square mile (193,188 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,703 nationwide

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#41. Chemung County

- Rural area: 91.0% (371 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.0% (37 square miles)
- Total land area: 407 square miles
--- #48 largest county in state, #2,483 nationwide

- Population density: 208.4 people / square mile (84,895 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,609 nationwide

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#40. Ulster County

- Rural area: 92.6% (1,041 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.4% (83 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,124 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #559 nationwide

- Population density: 158.9 people / square mile (178,665 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,498 nationwide

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#39. Oneida County

- Rural area: 92.7% (1,123 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.4% (89 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,212 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #505 nationwide

- Population density: 189.7 people / square mile (229,959 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,576 nationwide

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#38. Ontario County

- Rural area: 93.9% (605 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.1% (40 square miles)
- Total land area: 644 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #1,476 nationwide

- Population density: 170.0 people / square mile (109,511 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,540 nationwide

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#37. Tompkins County

- Rural area: 94.0% (446 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.0% (29 square miles)
- Total land area: 475 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #2,170 nationwide

- Population density: 216.2 people / square mile (102,642 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,618 nationwide

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#36. Wayne County

- Rural area: 94.8% (572 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.2% (32 square miles)
- Total land area: 604 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #1,616 nationwide

- Population density: 149.9 people / square mile (90,519 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,480 nationwide

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#35. Montgomery County

- Rural area: 96.0% (387 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.0% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 403 square miles
--- #49 largest county in state, #2,509 nationwide

- Population density: 122.3 people / square mile (49,302 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,371 nationwide

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#34. Chautauqua County

- Rural area: 96.4% (1,022 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.6% (38 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,060 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #611 nationwide

- Population density: 121.2 people / square mile (128,496 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,368 nationwide

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#33. Warren County

- Rural area: 96.5% (837 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.5% (30 square miles)
- Total land area: 867 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #947 nationwide

- Population density: 74.1 people / square mile (64,276 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #2,031 nationwide

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#32. Jefferson County

- Rural area: 96.6% (1,226 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (43 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,269 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #475 nationwide

- Population density: 89.0 people / square mile (112,842 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #2,170 nationwide

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#31. Livingston County

- Rural area: 96.8% (611 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.2% (20 square miles)
- Total land area: 632 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #1,518 nationwide

- Population density: 100.7 people / square mile (63,591 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #2,258 nationwide

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#30. Oswego County

- Rural area: 97.0% (923 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.0% (29 square miles)
- Total land area: 952 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #738 nationwide

- Population density: 124.4 people / square mile (118,339 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,383 nationwide

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#29. Fulton County

- Rural area: 97.1% (481 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.9% (14 square miles)
- Total land area: 495 square miles
--- #44 largest county in state, #2,101 nationwide

- Population density: 108.3 people / square mile (53,646 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,312 nationwide

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#28. Seneca County

- Rural area: 97.4% (315 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.6% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 324 square miles
--- #53 largest county in state, #2,750 nationwide

- Population density: 106.2 people / square mile (34,390 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,302 nationwide

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#27. Madison County

- Rural area: 97.4% (638 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.6% (17 square miles)
- Total land area: 655 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #1,439 nationwide

- Population density: 108.7 people / square mile (71,205 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,315 nationwide

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#26. Clinton County

- Rural area: 97.5% (1,012 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.5% (26 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,038 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #635 nationwide

- Population density: 77.6 people / square mile (80,583 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #2,074 nationwide

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#25. Tioga County

- Rural area: 97.6% (506 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (13 square miles)
- Total land area: 519 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #2,011 nationwide

- Population density: 93.9 people / square mile (48,686 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #2,209 nationwide

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#24. Genesee County

- Rural area: 97.6% (481 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (12 square miles)
- Total land area: 493 square miles
--- #45 largest county in state, #2,108 nationwide

- Population density: 117.3 people / square mile (57,808 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,358 nationwide

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#23. Cayuga County

- Rural area: 97.9% (677 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.2% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 692 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #1,353 nationwide

- Population density: 112.0 people / square mile (77,425 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,336 nationwide

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#22. Cortland County

- Rural area: 97.9% (488 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 499 square miles
--- #43 largest county in state, #2,088 nationwide

- Population density: 96.0 people / square mile (47,865 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #2,228 nationwide

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#21. Orleans County

- Rural area: 97.9% (383 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 391 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #2,569 nationwide

- Population density: 104.5 people / square mile (40,904 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,293 nationwide

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Columbia County

- Rural area: 98.2% (624 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 635 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #1,506 nationwide

- Population density: 95.1 people / square mile (60,371 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #2,218 nationwide

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#19. Steuben County

- Rural area: 98.5% (1,370 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (21 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,391 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #434 nationwide

- Population density: 69.3 people / square mile (96,422 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,972 nationwide

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#18. Sullivan County

- Rural area: 98.5% (954 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 968 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #723 nationwide

- Population density: 77.6 people / square mile (75,116 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #2,070 nationwide

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#17. Cattaraugus County

- Rural area: 98.6% (1,290 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,308 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #456 nationwide

- Population density: 58.9 people / square mile (77,121 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,833 nationwide

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#16. Greene County

- Rural area: 98.7% (639 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 647 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #1,461 nationwide

- Population density: 73.3 people / square mile (47,424 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #2,020 nationwide

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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Washington County

- Rural area: 98.7% (821 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 831 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #1,011 nationwide

- Population density: 74.1 people / square mile (61,616 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #2,030 nationwide

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#14. Herkimer County

- Rural area: 98.8% (1,394 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (17 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,411 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #424 nationwide

- Population density: 44.0 people / square mile (62,057 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,554 nationwide

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#13. Yates County

- Rural area: 98.9% (334 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 338 square miles
--- #51 largest county in state, #2,716 nationwide

- Population density: 74.0 people / square mile (25,011 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #2,026 nationwide

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#12. Wyoming County

- Rural area: 99.0% (586 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 593 square miles
--- #39 largest county in state, #1,648 nationwide

- Population density: 68.0 people / square mile (40,305 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,948 nationwide

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#11. Otsego County

- Rural area: 99.0% (992 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,002 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #676 nationwide

- Population density: 59.9 people / square mile (59,972 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,847 nationwide

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Lamar Gore/USFWS // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Schuyler County

- Rural area: 99.2% (326 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.8% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 328 square miles
--- #52 largest county in state, #2,743 nationwide

- Population density: 54.6 people / square mile (17,920 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,769 nationwide

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#9. St. Lawrence County

- Rural area: 99.3% (2,661 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,680 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #193 nationwide

- Population density: 40.6 people / square mile (108,913 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,486 nationwide

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#8. Franklin County

- Rural area: 99.4% (1,619 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,629 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #371 nationwide

- Population density: 31.0 people / square mile (50,477 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #1,237 nationwide

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#7. Allegany County

- Rural area: 99.5% (1,024 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,029 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #641 nationwide

- Population density: 45.4 people / square mile (46,688 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,589 nationwide

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#6. Schoharie County

- Rural area: 99.5% (619 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 622 square miles
--- #37 largest county in state, #1,553 nationwide

- Population density: 50.2 people / square mile (31,222 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,698 nationwide

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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Chenango County

- Rural area: 99.6% (890 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 894 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #877 nationwide

- Population density: 53.6 people / square mile (47,909 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,749 nationwide

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#4. Delaware County

- Rural area: 99.6% (1,437 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,442 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #415 nationwide

- Population density: 31.2 people / square mile (44,995 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #1,245 nationwide

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#3. Essex County

- Rural area: 99.7% (1,788 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,794 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #330 nationwide

- Population density: 20.9 people / square mile (37,459 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #923 nationwide

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#2. Lewis County

- Rural area: 99.9% (1,273 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,275 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #472 nationwide

- Population density: 20.8 people / square mile (26,572 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #921 nationwide

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#1. Hamilton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,717 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,717 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #346 nationwide

- Population density: 2.6 people / square mile (4,515 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #208 nationwide

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