Most rural counties in Ohio

Written by:
July 25, 2022
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Most rural counties in Ohio

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Ohio 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. Auglaize County

- Rural area: 95.9% (385 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.1% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 401 square miles
--- #79 largest county in state, #2,518 nationwide

- Population density: 113.9 people / square mile (45,709 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,344 nationwide

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#49. Defiance County

- Rural area: 96.2% (396 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.8% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 411 square miles
--- #62 largest county in state, #2,458 nationwide

- Population density: 92.4 people / square mile (38,024 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,196 nationwide

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#48. Crawford County

- Rural area: 96.2% (387 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.8% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 402 square miles
--- #78 largest county in state, #2,513 nationwide

- Population density: 103.5 people / square mile (41,603 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,278 nationwide

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#47. Pickaway County

- Rural area: 96.5% (484 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.5% (18 square miles)
- Total land area: 501 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #2,075 nationwide

- Population density: 115.9 people / square mile (58,112 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,349 nationwide

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Mark Spearman from Newark, Ohio, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Knox County

- Rural area: 96.6% (507 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (18 square miles)
- Total land area: 525 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #1,991 nationwide

- Population density: 117.6 people / square mile (61,776 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,356 nationwide

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Derek Jensen // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Shelby County

- Rural area: 96.6% (394 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (14 square miles)
- Total land area: 408 square miles
--- #68 largest county in state, #2,482 nationwide

- Population density: 119.2 people / square mile (48,610 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #2,365 nationwide

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#44. Belmont County

- Rural area: 96.6% (514 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (18 square miles)
- Total land area: 532 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #1,964 nationwide

- Population density: 126.7 people / square mile (67,424 residents)
--- #48 lowest density county in state, #2,394 nationwide

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#43. Scioto County

- Rural area: 96.9% (592 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.1% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 610 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #1,587 nationwide

- Population density: 123.6 people / square mile (75,441 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,380 nationwide

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#42. Athens County

- Rural area: 97.0% (488 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.0% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 504 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #2,066 nationwide

- Population density: 130.9 people / square mile (65,945 residents)
--- #50 lowest density county in state, #2,401 nationwide

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#41. Union County

- Rural area: 97.0% (419 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.0% (13 square miles)
- Total land area: 432 square miles
--- #45 largest county in state, #2,350 nationwide

- Population density: 134.0 people / square mile (57,871 residents)
--- #52 lowest density county in state, #2,410 nationwide

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#40. Huron County

- Rural area: 97.0% (477 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.0% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 491 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #2,116 nationwide

- Population density: 118.6 people / square mile (58,271 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,361 nationwide

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Roger O. Young // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Washington County

- Rural area: 97.1% (614 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.9% (18 square miles)
- Total land area: 632 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #1,515 nationwide

- Population density: 95.3 people / square mile (60,217 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,220 nationwide

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#38. Fulton County

- Rural area: 97.2% (394 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.8% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 405 square miles
--- #74 largest county in state, #2,498 nationwide

- Population density: 104.0 people / square mile (42,186 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,284 nationwide

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Mike Sharp // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Ross County

- Rural area: 97.5% (672 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.5% (17 square miles)
- Total land area: 689 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #1,359 nationwide

- Population density: 111.5 people / square mile (76,816 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,329 nationwide

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#36. Logan County

- Rural area: 97.7% (448 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 458 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #2,234 nationwide

- Population density: 98.8 people / square mile (45,315 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,245 nationwide

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#35. Clinton County

- Rural area: 97.7% (399 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.3% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 409 square miles
--- #64 largest county in state, #2,471 nationwide

- Population density: 102.8 people / square mile (42,000 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,273 nationwide

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#34. Seneca County

- Rural area: 97.9% (540 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 551 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #1,897 nationwide

- Population density: 100.3 people / square mile (55,251 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,255 nationwide

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Derek Jensen (Tysto) // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Van Wert County

- Rural area: 98.0% (401 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.0% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 409 square miles
--- #63 largest county in state, #2,468 nationwide

- Population density: 69.0 people / square mile (28,213 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #1,965 nationwide

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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Williams County

- Rural area: 98.0% (413 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.0% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 421 square miles
--- #53 largest county in state, #2,406 nationwide

- Population density: 87.3 people / square mile (36,760 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #2,151 nationwide

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#31. Guernsey County

- Rural area: 98.1% (512 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.9% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 522 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #1,998 nationwide

- Population density: 74.7 people / square mile (38,996 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #2,033 nationwide

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#30. Ashland County

- Rural area: 98.1% (415 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.9% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 423 square miles
--- #49 largest county in state, #2,398 nationwide

- Population density: 126.6 people / square mile (53,533 residents)
--- #47 lowest density county in state, #2,391 nationwide

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Derek Jensen // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Madison County

- Rural area: 98.2% (457 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 466 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #2,210 nationwide

- Population density: 95.0 people / square mile (44,248 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,216 nationwide

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#28. Preble County

- Rural area: 98.3% (417 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 424 square miles
--- #48 largest county in state, #2,389 nationwide

- Population density: 96.7 people / square mile (40,995 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,235 nationwide

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#27. Fayette County

- Rural area: 98.3% (400 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 406 square miles
--- #71 largest county in state, #2,494 nationwide

- Population density: 70.4 people / square mile (28,609 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,984 nationwide

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#26. Brown County

- Rural area: 98.4% (482 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.6% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 490 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #2,126 nationwide

- Population density: 88.8 people / square mile (43,508 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,168 nationwide

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#25. Carroll County

- Rural area: 98.5% (389 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 395 square miles
--- #84 largest county in state, #2,551 nationwide

- Population density: 68.9 people / square mile (27,195 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #1,962 nationwide

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#24. Jackson County

- Rural area: 98.5% (414 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 420 square miles
--- #54 largest county in state, #2,410 nationwide

- Population density: 77.2 people / square mile (32,440 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #2,061 nationwide

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Eric Lochtefeld // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Mercer County

- Rural area: 98.6% (456 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 462 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #2,222 nationwide

- Population density: 88.7 people / square mile (41,034 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,167 nationwide

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#22. Pike County

- Rural area: 98.6% (434 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 440 square miles
--- #44 largest county in state, #2,305 nationwide

- Population density: 63.4 people / square mile (27,914 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,893 nationwide

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#21. Champaign County

- Rural area: 98.7% (423 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 429 square miles
--- #47 largest county in state, #2,369 nationwide

- Population density: 90.7 people / square mile (38,861 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,184 nationwide

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Art Anderson // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Henry County

- Rural area: 98.7% (411 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 416 square miles
--- #57 largest county in state, #2,429 nationwide

- Population density: 65.1 people / square mile (27,068 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,912 nationwide

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#19. Darke County

- Rural area: 98.7% (591 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 598 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #1,633 nationwide

- Population density: 85.9 people / square mile (51,387 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #2,143 nationwide

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#18. Hardin County

- Rural area: 98.8% (465 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 470 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #2,192 nationwide

- Population density: 66.7 people / square mile (31,393 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,934 nationwide

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#17. Coshocton County

- Rural area: 98.8% (557 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 564 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #1,827 nationwide

- Population density: 64.8 people / square mile (36,558 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,908 nationwide

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#16. Wyandot County

- Rural area: 98.9% (402 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 407 square miles
--- #69 largest county in state, #2,489 nationwide

- Population density: 53.8 people / square mile (21,907 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,750 nationwide

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Kurt Tarvis // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Gallia County

- Rural area: 98.9% (461 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 467 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #2,207 nationwide

- Population density: 64.3 people / square mile (29,995 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,904 nationwide

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Christopher L. Riley // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Perry County

- Rural area: 98.9% (404 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 408 square miles
--- #67 largest county in state, #2,481 nationwide

- Population density: 88.4 people / square mile (36,076 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #2,163 nationwide

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Aesopposea // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Highland County

- Rural area: 98.9% (547 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 553 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #1,887 nationwide

- Population density: 77.9 people / square mile (43,080 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #2,070 nationwide

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Art Anderson // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Putnam County

- Rural area: 99.0% (478 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 483 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #2,151 nationwide

- Population density: 70.1 people / square mile (33,836 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,979 nationwide

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#11. Hocking County

- Rural area: 99.0% (417 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 421 square miles
--- #52 largest county in state, #2,405 nationwide

- Population density: 67.2 people / square mile (28,306 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,939 nationwide

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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Meigs County

- Rural area: 99.3% (427 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 430 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #2,365 nationwide

- Population density: 53.4 people / square mile (22,974 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,747 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Noble County

- Rural area: 99.3% (395 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 398 square miles
--- #82 largest county in state, #2,535 nationwide

- Population density: 36.2 people / square mile (14,410 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #1,374 nationwide

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Derek Jensen // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Morrow County

- Rural area: 99.4% (404 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 406 square miles
--- #72 largest county in state, #2,495 nationwide

- Population density: 86.6 people / square mile (35,148 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #2,147 nationwide

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Myself // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Paulding County

- Rural area: 99.6% (415 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 416 square miles
--- #55 largest county in state, #2,425 nationwide

- Population density: 45.0 people / square mile (18,742 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,580 nationwide

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Bwsmith84 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Harrison County

- Rural area: 99.6% (401 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 402 square miles
--- #77 largest county in state, #2,512 nationwide

- Population density: 37.6 people / square mile (15,132 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #1,409 nationwide

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Mike Sharp // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Holmes County

- Rural area: 99.6% (421 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 423 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #2,400 nationwide

- Population density: 104.0 people / square mile (43,954 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,283 nationwide

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Aesopposea // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Adams County

- Rural area: 99.6% (582 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 584 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #1,685 nationwide

- Population density: 47.4 people / square mile (27,685 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,635 nationwide

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Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Morgan County

- Rural area: 99.6% (415 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 416 square miles
--- #56 largest county in state, #2,426 nationwide

- Population density: 35.0 people / square mile (14,557 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #1,344 nationwide

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Bwsmith84// Wikimedia Commons

#2. Monroe County

- Rural area: 99.8% (455 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 456 square miles
--- #40 largest county in state, #2,249 nationwide

- Population density: 30.3 people / square mile (13,827 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #1,221 nationwide

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#1. Vinton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (412 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 412 square miles
--- #60 largest county in state, #2,451 nationwide

- Population density: 31.6 people / square mile (13,045 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #1,260 nationwide

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