Most rural counties in Oregon

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

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Oregon 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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Stuart Seeger // Wikicommons

#36. Multnomah County

- Rural area: 61.9% (267 square miles)
- Urban area: 38.1% (164 square miles)
- Total land area: 431 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #2,354 nationwide

- Population density: 1,877.8 people / square mile (809,869 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #3,070 nationwide

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Washington County

- Rural area: 82.6% (598 square miles)
- Urban area: 17.4% (126 square miles)
- Total land area: 724 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #1,228 nationwide

- Population density: 822.6 people / square mile (595,761 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,969 nationwide

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Edmund Garman // Flickr

#34. Marion County

- Rural area: 92.3% (1,092 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.7% (91 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,182 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #518 nationwide

- Population density: 290.7 people / square mile (343,742 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,721 nationwide

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Mrgadget51 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Clackamas County

- Rural area: 93.2% (1,743 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.8% (128 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,870 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #307 nationwide

- Population density: 221.9 people / square mile (415,084 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,625 nationwide

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Yamhill County

- Rural area: 95.6% (684 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.4% (31 square miles)
- Total land area: 716 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #1,267 nationwide

- Population density: 148.2 people / square mile (106,087 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,470 nationwide

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cpaulfell // Shutterstock

#31. Benton County

- Rural area: 96.2% (650 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.8% (26 square miles)
- Total land area: 676 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #1,389 nationwide

- Population density: 136.4 people / square mile (92,168 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,423 nationwide

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Little Mountain 5 // Wikicommons

#30. Jackson County

- Rural area: 97.5% (2,713 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.6% (71 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,784 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #186 nationwide

- Population density: 78.6 people / square mile (218,781 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,081 nationwide

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Bruce Fingerhood from Springfield, Oregon, US // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Polk County

- Rural area: 97.5% (722 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.5% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 741 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #1,192 nationwide

- Population density: 114.4 people / square mile (84,730 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,345 nationwide

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Lauram12345 // Wikicommons

#28. Lane County

- Rural area: 97.6% (4,442 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (111 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,553 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #96 nationwide

- Population density: 83.0 people / square mile (377,749 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,122 nationwide

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Cacophony // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Columbia County

- Rural area: 97.7% (642 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.3% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 657 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #1,429 nationwide

- Population density: 79.3 people / square mile (52,117 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,092 nationwide

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EncMstr // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Lincoln County

- Rural area: 98.0% (960 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (20 square miles)
- Total land area: 980 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #704 nationwide

- Population density: 50.4 people / square mile (49,336 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #1,701 nationwide

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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Deschutes County

- Rural area: 98.1% (2,961 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.9% (57 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,018 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #172 nationwide

- Population density: 63.5 people / square mile (191,749 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #1,895 nationwide

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English: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Clatsop County

- Rural area: 98.3% (815 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (14 square miles)
- Total land area: 829 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #1,016 nationwide

- Population density: 47.8 people / square mile (39,656 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #1,648 nationwide

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Jmabel // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Linn County

- Rural area: 98.4% (2,254 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.6% (36 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,290 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #244 nationwide

- Population density: 55.5 people / square mile (127,216 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #1,784 nationwide

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Joseph Novak // Wikicommons

#22. Josephine County

- Rural area: 98.6% (1,616 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (23 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,640 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #368 nationwide

- Population density: 53.1 people / square mile (87,097 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #1,742 nationwide

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Debbie Tegtmeier // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Coos County

- Rural area: 98.6% (1,574 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (22 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,596 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #378 nationwide

- Population density: 40.2 people / square mile (64,175 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #1,474 nationwide

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Hood River County

- Rural area: 98.6% (515 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 522 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #2,000 nationwide

- Population density: 44.6 people / square mile (23,270 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #1,566 nationwide

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Gancayco // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Umatilla County

- Rural area: 99.1% (3,185 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.9% (30 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,216 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #161 nationwide

- Population density: 24.0 people / square mile (77,319 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,041 nationwide

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English: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Douglas County

- Rural area: 99.4% (5,006 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (30 square miles)
- Total land area: 5,036 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #76 nationwide

- Population density: 21.8 people / square mile (110,015 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #958 nationwide

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Manuela Durson // Shutterstock

#17. Curry County

- Rural area: 99.4% (1,618 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,627 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #373 nationwide

- Population density: 14.1 people / square mile (22,889 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #712 nationwide

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USFWS Headquarters' photostream // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Tillamook County

- Rural area: 99.6% (1,098 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,103 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #574 nationwide

- Population density: 24.3 people / square mile (26,782 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,046 nationwide

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Cacophony // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Wasco County

- Rural area: 99.6% (2,372 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,382 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #232 nationwide

- Population density: 11.0 people / square mile (26,274 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #607 nationwide

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Bobjgalindo // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Klamath County

- Rural area: 99.6% (5,919 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (22 square miles)
- Total land area: 5,941 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #62 nationwide

- Population density: 11.4 people / square mile (67,606 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #617 nationwide

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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Jefferson County

- Rural area: 99.7% (1,775 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,781 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #333 nationwide

- Population density: 13.5 people / square mile (24,048 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #693 nationwide

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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Union County

- Rural area: 99.7% (2,031 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,037 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #279 nationwide

- Population density: 13.0 people / square mile (26,502 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #675 nationwide

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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Morrow County

- Rural area: 99.8% (2,027 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,032 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #280 nationwide

- Population density: 5.6 people / square mile (11,425 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #393 nationwide

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Cacophony // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Crook County

- Rural area: 99.8% (2,973 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 2,979 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #174 nationwide

- Population density: 8.0 people / square mile (23,733 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #488 nationwide

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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Baker County

- Rural area: 99.8% (3,063 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,068 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #169 nationwide

- Population density: 5.2 people / square mile (16,090 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #378 nationwide

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Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Malheur County

- Rural area: 99.9% (9,879 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 9,888 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #25 nationwide

- Population density: 3.1 people / square mile (30,632 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #245 nationwide

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Lake County

- Rural area: 100.0% (8,138 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 8,139 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #33 nationwide

- Population density: 1.0 people / square mile (7,896 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #63 nationwide

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Harney County

- Rural area: 100.0% (10,131 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 10,133 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #23 nationwide

- Population density: 0.7 people / square mile (7,310 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #43 nationwide

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Wallowa County

- Rural area: 100.0% (3,146 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 3,146 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #164 nationwide

- Population density: 2.2 people / square mile (7,065 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #177 nationwide

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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Sherman County

- Rural area: 100.0% (824 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 824 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #1,025 nationwide

- Population density: 2.0 people / square mile (1,686 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #159 nationwide

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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Grant County

- Rural area: 100.0% (4,529 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 4,529 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #99 nationwide

- Population density: 1.6 people / square mile (7,174 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #119 nationwide

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Tedder // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Gilliam County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,205 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,205 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #509 nationwide

- Population density: 1.6 people / square mile (1,896 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #117 nationwide

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Tomas Nevesely // Shutterstock

#1. Wheeler County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,715 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,715 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #348 nationwide

- Population density: 0.8 people / square mile (1,417 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #51 nationwide

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