Most rural counties in New York

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

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 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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#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, #2,991 nationwide

- Population density: 758.3 people / square mile (155,086 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, #1,112 nationwide

- Population density: 593.0 people / square mile (461,591 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, #1,996 nationwide

- Population density: 585.6 people / square mile (306,165 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, #1,042 nationwide

- Population density: 470.7 people / square mile (382,077 residents)
--- #48 lowest density county in state, #2,866 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, #1,076 nationwide

- Population density: 368.9 people / square mile (293,524 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, #1,997 nationwide

- Population density: 402.3 people / square mile (210,145 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,828 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, #1,047 nationwide

- Population density: 283.1 people / square mile (229,313 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,715 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, #1,443 nationwide

- Population density: 243.7 people / square mile (159,013 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,663 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, #1,310 nationwide

- Population density: 272.1 people / square mile (192,042 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,699 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, #2,484 nationwide

- Population density: 206.5 people / square mile (84,115 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,606 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, #560 nationwide

- Population density: 158.7 people / square mile (178,371 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,495 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, #506 nationwide

- Population density: 188.9 people / square mile (229,074 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,571 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, #1,477 nationwide

- Population density: 170.4 people / square mile (109,774 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,539 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, #2,171 nationwide

- Population density: 215.4 people / square mile (102,237 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,617 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, #1,617 nationwide

- Population density: 149.2 people / square mile (90,103 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,475 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, #2,510 nationwide

- Population density: 122.3 people / square mile (49,294 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,372 nationwide

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#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, #612 nationwide

- Population density: 120.3 people / square mile (127,584 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, #948 nationwide

- Population density: 74.0 people / square mile (64,187 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #2,028 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, #476 nationwide

- Population density: 87.9 people / square mile (111,454 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #2,157 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, #1,519 nationwide

- Population density: 100.1 people / square mile (63,218 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #2,254 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, #739 nationwide

- Population density: 123.6 people / square mile (117,630 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,379 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, #2,102 nationwide

- Population density: 107.9 people / square mile (53,452 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,309 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, #2,751 nationwide

- Population density: 105.9 people / square mile (34,295 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,298 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, #1,440 nationwide

- Population density: 108.4 people / square mile (70,990 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,312 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, #636 nationwide

- Population density: 77.4 people / square mile (80,320 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #2,064 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, #2,012 nationwide

- Population density: 93.4 people / square mile (48,431 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #2,203 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, #2,109 nationwide

- Population density: 116.8 people / square mile (57,554 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,355 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, #1,354 nationwide

- Population density: 111.3 people / square mile (76,958 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,327 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, #2,089 nationwide

- Population density: 95.5 people / square mile (47,618 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #2,222 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, #2,570 nationwide

- Population density: 103.8 people / square mile (40,624 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,281 nationwide

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#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, #1,507 nationwide

- Population density: 94.6 people / square mile (60,016 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #2,212 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, #435 nationwide

- Population density: 68.9 people / square mile (95,843 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,963 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, #724 nationwide

- Population density: 77.8 people / square mile (75,329 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #2,068 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, #457 nationwide

- Population density: 58.7 people / square mile (76,750 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,828 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, #1,462 nationwide

- Population density: 73.1 people / square mile (47,335 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #2,014 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, #1,012 nationwide

- Population density: 73.8 people / square mile (61,304 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #2,022 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, #425 nationwide

- Population density: 43.7 people / square mile (61,738 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,551 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, #2,717 nationwide

- Population density: 73.9 people / square mile (24,981 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #2,025 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, #1,649 nationwide

- Population density: 67.5 people / square mile (40,027 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,945 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, #677 nationwide

- Population density: 59.5 people / square mile (59,593 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,842 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, #2,744 nationwide

- Population density: 54.4 people / square mile (17,845 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,765 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, #194 nationwide

- Population density: 40.4 people / square mile (108,352 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,480 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, #372 nationwide

- Population density: 30.9 people / square mile (50,389 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #1,236 nationwide

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#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, #642 nationwide

- Population density: 45.0 people / square mile (46,304 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,579 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, #1,554 nationwide

- Population density: 50.2 people / square mile (31,189 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,696 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, #878 nationwide

- Population density: 53.2 people / square mile (47,527 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,744 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, #416 nationwide

- Population density: 31.0 people / square mile (44,676 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #1,237 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, #331 nationwide

- Population density: 20.8 people / square mile (37,281 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #918 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, #473 nationwide

- Population density: 20.8 people / square mile (26,456 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #916 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, #347 nationwide

- Population density: 2.6 people / square mile (4,454 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #204 nationwide

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