Most rural counties in Pennsylvania

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

Most rural counties in Pennsylvania

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

You may also like: Counties most concerned about climate change in Pennsylvania

1 / 50
Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Lebanon County

- Rural area: 84.5% (306 square miles)
- Urban area: 15.5% (56 square miles)
- Total land area: 362 square miles
--- #60 largest county in state, #2,647 nationwide

- Population density: 388.1 people / square mile (140,410 residents)
--- #53 lowest density county in state, #2,812 nationwide

2 / 50
Canva

#49. Luzerne County

- Rural area: 85.8% (764 square miles)
- Urban area: 14.2% (127 square miles)
- Total land area: 890 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #890 nationwide

- Population density: 356.7 people / square mile (317,547 residents)
--- #51 lowest density county in state, #2,784 nationwide

3 / 50
Canva

#48. Erie County

- Rural area: 87.9% (703 square miles)
- Urban area: 12.1% (97 square miles)
- Total land area: 799 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #1,068 nationwide

- Population density: 340.4 people / square mile (272,046 residents)
--- #49 lowest density county in state, #2,772 nationwide

4 / 50
Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Washington County

- Rural area: 88.2% (756 square miles)
- Urban area: 11.8% (101 square miles)
- Total land area: 857 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #971 nationwide

- Population density: 241.6 people / square mile (207,081 residents)
--- #47 lowest density county in state, #2,662 nationwide

5 / 50
Mvincec // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Butler County

- Rural area: 89.2% (703 square miles)
- Urban area: 10.8% (85 square miles)
- Total land area: 789 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #1,092 nationwide

- Population density: 238.1 people / square mile (187,798 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #2,655 nationwide

You may also like: Most rural counties in Pennsylvania

6 / 50
Canva

#45. Blair County

- Rural area: 90.4% (475 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.6% (51 square miles)
- Total land area: 526 square miles
--- #43 largest county in state, #1,990 nationwide

- Population density: 233.0 people / square mile (122,495 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,644 nationwide

7 / 50
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Lawrence County

- Rural area: 90.6% (324 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.5% (34 square miles)
- Total land area: 358 square miles
--- #61 largest county in state, #2,660 nationwide

- Population density: 240.5 people / square mile (86,148 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,660 nationwide

8 / 50
Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Cambria County

- Rural area: 90.8% (625 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.2% (63 square miles)
- Total land area: 688 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #1,362 nationwide

- Population density: 191.2 people / square mile (131,611 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,581 nationwide

9 / 50
Canva

#42. Franklin County

- Rural area: 91.6% (707 square miles)
- Urban area: 8.4% (65 square miles)
- Total land area: 772 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #1,124 nationwide

- Population density: 200.7 people / square mile (154,954 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,597 nationwide

10 / 50
Jakec // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Schuylkill County

- Rural area: 93.3% (726 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.7% (53 square miles)
- Total land area: 779 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #1,109 nationwide

- Population density: 182.3 people / square mile (141,935 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,562 nationwide

You may also like: See how much delivery drivers in Pennsylvania make

11 / 50
Canva

#40. Fayette County

- Rural area: 93.3% (738 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.7% (53 square miles)
- Total land area: 790 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #1,090 nationwide

- Population density: 164.9 people / square mile (130,329 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,524 nationwide

12 / 50
Pixabay

#39. Adams County

- Rural area: 93.9% (487 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.1% (32 square miles)
- Total land area: 519 square miles
--- #45 largest county in state, #2,011 nationwide

- Population density: 197.9 people / square mile (102,627 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,592 nationwide

13 / 50
Canva

#38. Mercer County

- Rural area: 94.0% (632 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.0% (41 square miles)
- Total land area: 673 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #1,399 nationwide

- Population density: 164.3 people / square mile (110,519 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,522 nationwide

14 / 50
Canva

#37. Carbon County

- Rural area: 94.4% (360 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.6% (21 square miles)
- Total land area: 381 square miles
--- #58 largest county in state, #2,595 nationwide

- Population density: 167.7 people / square mile (63,964 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,533 nationwide

15 / 50
Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Northumberland County

- Rural area: 94.6% (434 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.4% (25 square miles)
- Total land area: 458 square miles
--- #49 largest county in state, #2,235 nationwide

- Population density: 199.0 people / square mile (91,234 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,595 nationwide

You may also like: Stressed trees: How climate change has affected Pennsylvania

16 / 50
Ruhrfisch (talk) // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Columbia County

- Rural area: 94.8% (458 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.2% (25 square miles)
- Total land area: 483 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #2,144 nationwide

- Population density: 135.4 people / square mile (65,390 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,418 nationwide

17 / 50
Ruhrfisch (talk) // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Union County

- Rural area: 94.8% (300 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.2% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 316 square miles
--- #64 largest county in state, #2,770 nationwide

- Population density: 141.9 people / square mile (44,831 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,447 nationwide

18 / 50
Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Mifflin County

- Rural area: 96.2% (396 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.8% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 411 square miles
--- #54 largest county in state, #2,460 nationwide

- Population density: 112.3 people / square mile (46,179 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,337 nationwide

19 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Centre County

- Rural area: 96.4% (1,070 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.6% (40 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,110 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #569 nationwide

- Population density: 146.2 people / square mile (162,264 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,466 nationwide

20 / 50
Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Snyder County

- Rural area: 96.6% (317 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 329 square miles
--- #63 largest county in state, #2,741 nationwide

- Population density: 123.1 people / square mile (40,452 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,377 nationwide

You may also like: Most popular girl names in the 80s in Pennsylvania

21 / 50
Canva

#30. Pike County

- Rural area: 96.6% (527 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.4% (18 square miles)
- Total land area: 545 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #1,913 nationwide

- Population density: 102.1 people / square mile (55,660 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,270 nationwide

22 / 50
Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Montour County

- Rural area: 96.7% (126 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.3% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 130 square miles
--- #67 largest county in state, #3,071 nationwide

- Population density: 139.6 people / square mile (18,178 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,437 nationwide

23 / 50
User:Ruhrfisch // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Lycoming County

- Rural area: 96.9% (1,190 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.2% (39 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,229 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #499 nationwide

- Population density: 92.8 people / square mile (114,014 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #2,199 nationwide

24 / 50
Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Venango County

- Rural area: 97.7% (659 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.3% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 674 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #1,395 nationwide

- Population density: 76.2 people / square mile (51,355 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #2,052 nationwide

25 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Crawford County

- Rural area: 97.8% (990 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.2% (22 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,012 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #665 nationwide

- Population density: 84.0 people / square mile (85,074 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #2,131 nationwide

You may also like: Highest-rated things to do in Pennsylvania, according to Tripadvisor

26 / 50
Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Indiana County

- Rural area: 97.9% (810 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (17 square miles)
- Total land area: 827 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #1,020 nationwide

- Population density: 102.1 people / square mile (84,463 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,269 nationwide

27 / 50
Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Clearfield County

- Rural area: 98.0% (1,122 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.0% (23 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,145 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #541 nationwide

- Population density: 69.4 people / square mile (79,466 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #1,971 nationwide

28 / 50
Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Jefferson County

- Rural area: 98.2% (641 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (12 square miles)
- Total land area: 652 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #1,444 nationwide

- Population density: 66.8 people / square mile (43,570 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,935 nationwide

29 / 50
Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Armstrong County

- Rural area: 98.3% (642 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 653 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #1,442 nationwide

- Population density: 100.1 people / square mile (65,356 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,253 nationwide

30 / 50
Canva

#21. Clinton County

- Rural area: 98.3% (873 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 888 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #897 nationwide

- Population density: 43.4 people / square mile (38,549 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,546 nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Pennsylvania

31 / 50
Canadian2006 // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Somerset County

- Rural area: 98.6% (1,059 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (15 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,074 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #597 nationwide

- Population density: 68.7 people / square mile (73,844 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #1,959 nationwide

32 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Warren County

- Rural area: 98.7% (873 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 884 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #903 nationwide

- Population density: 44.6 people / square mile (39,466 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,568 nationwide

33 / 50
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Greene County

- Rural area: 98.8% (569 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 576 square miles
--- #39 largest county in state, #1,720 nationwide

- Population density: 63.3 people / square mile (36,484 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #1,890 nationwide

34 / 50
Canva

#17. Elk County

- Rural area: 98.8% (817 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 827 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #1,018 nationwide

- Population density: 36.4 people / square mile (30,077 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,379 nationwide

35 / 50
Canva

#16. Clarion County

- Rural area: 98.9% (594 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 601 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #1,624 nationwide

- Population density: 64.3 people / square mile (38,633 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #1,905 nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the most veterans in Pennsylvania

36 / 50
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Juniata County

- Rural area: 98.9% (387 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 391 square miles
--- #57 largest county in state, #2,569 nationwide

- Population density: 63.0 people / square mile (24,657 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,886 nationwide

37 / 50
Michael J // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Wyoming County

- Rural area: 98.9% (393 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 397 square miles
--- #55 largest county in state, #2,539 nationwide

- Population density: 68.2 people / square mile (27,078 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,949 nationwide

38 / 50
Canva

#13. Bradford County

- Rural area: 99.2% (1,138 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.9% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,147 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #538 nationwide

- Population density: 52.9 people / square mile (60,721 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,737 nationwide

39 / 50
Nicholas from Pennsylvania, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#12. McKean County

- Rural area: 99.3% (973 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 979 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #705 nationwide

- Population density: 41.9 people / square mile (41,021 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,516 nationwide

40 / 50
Joe Calzarette // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Huntingdon County

- Rural area: 99.4% (869 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 875 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #928 nationwide

- Population density: 51.6 people / square mile (45,145 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,719 nationwide

You may also like: Highest-rated football recruits from Pennsylvania over the last 20 years

41 / 50
Andrew Rodland // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Wayne County

- Rural area: 99.4% (721 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 726 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #1,224 nationwide

- Population density: 70.7 people / square mile (51,268 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #1,985 nationwide

42 / 50
Canadian2006 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Bedford County

- Rural area: 99.5% (1,007 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,012 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #666 nationwide

- Population density: 47.6 people / square mile (48,154 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,639 nationwide

43 / 50
Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Perry County

- Rural area: 99.5% (549 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 551 square miles
--- #40 largest county in state, #1,895 nationwide

- Population density: 83.7 people / square mile (46,133 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #2,130 nationwide

44 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Susquehanna County

- Rural area: 99.6% (820 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 823 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #1,026 nationwide

- Population density: 49.3 people / square mile (40,604 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,680 nationwide

45 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Cameron County

- Rural area: 99.7% (395 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 396 square miles
--- #56 largest county in state, #2,543 nationwide

- Population density: 11.4 people / square mile (4,512 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #618 nationwide

You may also like: Most popular boy names in the 70s in Pennsylvania

46 / 50
Canva

#5. Tioga County

- Rural area: 99.8% (1,132 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,134 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #553 nationwide

- Population density: 35.9 people / square mile (40,759 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,366 nationwide

47 / 50
Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Fulton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (438 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 438 square miles
--- #51 largest county in state, #2,312 nationwide

- Population density: 33.1 people / square mile (14,492 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #1,297 nationwide

48 / 50
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Forest County

- Rural area: 100.0% (427 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 427 square miles
--- #53 largest county in state, #2,377 nationwide

- Population density: 16.8 people / square mile (7,190 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #794 nationwide

49 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Potter County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,081 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,081 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #589 nationwide

- Population density: 15.4 people / square mile (16,685 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #752 nationwide

50 / 50
Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Sullivan County

- Rural area: 100.0% (450 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 450 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #2,271 nationwide

- Population density: 13.4 people / square mile (6,038 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #688 nationwide

You may also like: Best counties to retire to in Pennsylvania

Trending Now