Most rural counties in South Carolina

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

Most rural counties in South Carolina

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in South Carolina 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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#46. Greenville County

- Rural area: 65.7% (516 square miles)
- Urban area: 34.3% (269 square miles)
- Total land area: 785 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #1,099 nationwide

- Population density: 657.4 people / square mile (516,126 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,936 nationwide

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#45. Spartanburg County

- Rural area: 73.0% (590 square miles)
- Urban area: 27.0% (218 square miles)
- Total land area: 808 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #1,049 nationwide

- Population density: 388.4 people / square mile (313,791 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,813 nationwide

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Ralph Hightower // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Lexington County

- Rural area: 74.0% (517 square miles)
- Urban area: 26.0% (182 square miles)
- Total land area: 699 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #1,327 nationwide

- Population density: 422.1 people / square mile (295,033 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,840 nationwide

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#43. Richland County

- Rural area: 74.4% (563 square miles)
- Urban area: 25.6% (194 square miles)
- Total land area: 757 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #1,162 nationwide

- Population density: 547.7 people / square mile (414,660 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #2,903 nationwide

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#42. York County

- Rural area: 78.6% (535 square miles)
- Urban area: 21.4% (146 square miles)
- Total land area: 681 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #1,379 nationwide

- Population density: 402.4 people / square mile (273,887 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,829 nationwide

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#41. Beaufort County

- Rural area: 78.8% (454 square miles)
- Urban area: 21.2% (122 square miles)
- Total land area: 576 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #1,718 nationwide

- Population density: 329.2 people / square mile (189,732 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,759 nationwide

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#40. Charleston County

- Rural area: 80.7% (739 square miles)
- Urban area: 19.3% (177 square miles)
- Total land area: 916 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #803 nationwide

- Population density: 444.9 people / square mile (407,543 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,854 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Anderson County

- Rural area: 82.5% (590 square miles)
- Urban area: 17.5% (125 square miles)
- Total land area: 715 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #1,271 nationwide

- Population density: 279.8 people / square mile (200,183 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,711 nationwide

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KudzuVine // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Pickens County

- Rural area: 85.6% (425 square miles)
- Urban area: 14.4% (71 square miles)
- Total land area: 496 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #2,097 nationwide

- Population density: 252.6 people / square mile (125,381 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,677 nationwide

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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Horry County

- Rural area: 86.3% (979 square miles)
- Urban area: 13.7% (155 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,134 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #552 nationwide

- Population density: 303.5 people / square mile (344,186 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,735 nationwide

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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Sumter County

- Rural area: 90.1% (599 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.9% (66 square miles)
- Total land area: 665 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #1,413 nationwide

- Population density: 160.4 people / square mile (106,675 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #2,502 nationwide

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Lazyksaw // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Dorchester County

- Rural area: 90.9% (521 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.1% (52 square miles)
- Total land area: 573 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #1,747 nationwide

- Population density: 281.4 people / square mile (161,309 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,712 nationwide

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Robert Thomas Mckenzie Jr // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Florence County

- Rural area: 91.9% (735 square miles)
- Urban area: 8.1% (65 square miles)
- Total land area: 800 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #1,066 nationwide

- Population density: 172.8 people / square mile (138,237 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #2,542 nationwide

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Festiva76 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Aiken County

- Rural area: 92.0% (985 square miles)
- Urban area: 8.0% (86 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,071 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #601 nationwide

- Population density: 158.7 people / square mile (169,947 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #2,496 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Greenwood County

- Rural area: 92.3% (420 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.7% (35 square miles)
- Total land area: 455 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #2,253 nationwide

- Population density: 155.4 people / square mile (70,672 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #2,488 nationwide

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Calatayudboy // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Lancaster County

- Rural area: 93.2% (512 square miles)
- Urban area: 6.8% (38 square miles)
- Total land area: 549 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #1,901 nationwide

- Population density: 173.7 people / square mile (95,378 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #2,545 nationwide

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#30. Berkeley County

- Rural area: 94.2% (1,035 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.8% (64 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,099 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #580 nationwide

- Population density: 202.1 people / square mile (222,103 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #2,600 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Oconee County

- Rural area: 94.7% (593 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.3% (33 square miles)
- Total land area: 626 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #1,537 nationwide

- Population density: 125.0 people / square mile (78,314 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #2,387 nationwide

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#28. Cherokee County

- Rural area: 95.1% (373 square miles)
- Urban area: 5.0% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 393 square miles
--- #44 largest county in state, #2,563 nationwide

- Population density: 145.4 people / square mile (57,110 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #2,463 nationwide

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Jud McCranie // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Darlington County

- Rural area: 95.5% (536 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.5% (25 square miles)
- Total land area: 561 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #1,847 nationwide

- Population density: 119.1 people / square mile (66,858 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #2,364 nationwide

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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Kershaw County

- Rural area: 95.7% (695 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.3% (31 square miles)
- Total land area: 727 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #1,221 nationwide

- Population density: 90.7 people / square mile (65,926 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #2,185 nationwide

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#25. Georgetown County

- Rural area: 96.0% (781 square miles)
- Urban area: 4.0% (33 square miles)
- Total land area: 814 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #1,038 nationwide

- Population density: 76.4 people / square mile (62,150 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #2,055 nationwide

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Orangeburg County

- Rural area: 97.1% (1,074 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.9% (32 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,106 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #571 nationwide

- Population density: 78.6 people / square mile (86,953 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #2,082 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Laurens County

- Rural area: 97.4% (695 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.6% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 714 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #1,280 nationwide

- Population density: 93.8 people / square mile (66,990 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #2,206 nationwide

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#22. Union County

- Rural area: 98.2% (505 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 514 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #2,024 nationwide

- Population density: 53.1 people / square mile (27,325 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,743 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Dillon County

- Rural area: 98.2% (398 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 405 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #2,502 nationwide

- Population density: 75.3 people / square mile (30,473 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #2,041 nationwide

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Marlboro County

- Rural area: 98.3% (471 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 480 square miles
--- #37 largest county in state, #2,156 nationwide

- Population density: 55.0 people / square mile (26,376 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #1,779 nationwide

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ProfReader // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Marion County

- Rural area: 98.3% (481 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 489 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #2,130 nationwide

- Population density: 63.3 people / square mile (30,954 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #1,888 nationwide

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#18. Newberry County

- Rural area: 98.6% (621 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 630 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #1,525 nationwide

- Population density: 60.8 people / square mile (38,329 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #1,854 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Chesterfield County

- Rural area: 98.6% (788 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 799 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #1,069 nationwide

- Population density: 57.4 people / square mile (45,833 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,810 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Bamberg County

- Rural area: 98.6% (388 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 393 square miles
--- #43 largest county in state, #2,560 nationwide

- Population density: 36.2 people / square mile (14,236 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,373 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Edgefield County

- Rural area: 98.7% (494 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 500 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #2,080 nationwide

- Population density: 54.0 people / square mile (27,021 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,755 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Jasper County

- Rural area: 98.7% (647 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 655 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #1,438 nationwide

- Population density: 45.1 people / square mile (29,558 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,582 nationwide

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#13. Chester County

- Rural area: 98.8% (574 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 581 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #1,695 nationwide

- Population density: 55.6 people / square mile (32,260 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #1,786 nationwide

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Ffuhr // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Hampton County

- Rural area: 99.0% (554 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 560 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #1,855 nationwide

- Population density: 34.3 people / square mile (19,223 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #1,328 nationwide

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Brian Scott // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Abbeville County

- Rural area: 99.1% (486 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 490 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #2,123 nationwide

- Population density: 50.1 people / square mile (24,582 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,695 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Colleton County

- Rural area: 99.2% (1,048 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.8% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,056 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #616 nationwide

- Population density: 35.6 people / square mile (37,624 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,353 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Clarendon County

- Rural area: 99.3% (603 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 607 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #1,603 nationwide

- Population density: 55.8 people / square mile (33,865 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,788 nationwide

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Barnwell County

- Rural area: 99.3% (545 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 548 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #1,903 nationwide

- Population density: 38.6 people / square mile (21,170 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,440 nationwide

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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Williamsburg County

- Rural area: 99.4% (928 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 934 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #763 nationwide

- Population density: 33.0 people / square mile (30,810 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #1,293 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Fairfield County

- Rural area: 99.4% (682 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 686 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #1,367 nationwide

- Population density: 32.6 people / square mile (22,406 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #1,288 nationwide

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Lee County

- Rural area: 99.4% (408 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 410 square miles
--- #40 largest county in state, #2,463 nationwide

- Population density: 41.8 people / square mile (17,144 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,514 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Allendale County

- Rural area: 99.4% (406 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 408 square miles
--- #41 largest county in state, #2,479 nationwide

- Population density: 21.5 people / square mile (8,789 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #942 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Saluda County

- Rural area: 99.5% (450 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 453 square miles
--- #39 largest county in state, #2,260 nationwide

- Population density: 44.8 people / square mile (20,292 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,570 nationwide

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Calhoun County

- Rural area: 100.0% (381 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 381 square miles
--- #45 largest county in state, #2,596 nationwide

- Population density: 38.3 people / square mile (14,608 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,432 nationwide

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Farrargirl // Wikimedia Commons

#1. McCormick County

- Rural area: 100.0% (359 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 359 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #2,657 nationwide

- Population density: 26.4 people / square mile (9,495 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #1,109 nationwide

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