Most rural counties in every state

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April 24, 2021
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Most rural counties in every state

It's predicted that by 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. A once-agrarian planet is rapidly urbanizing, and America is no exception.

There was a time when most Americans lived in communities that by almost any measure could be called countrified. But today, much of the rural U.S. is hollowing out as young people flee to cities, death rates outnumber birth rates, sparsely populated towns age, metro suburbs expand, immigrants settle in densely populated areas, and so-called "new economy" jobs and wealth become concentrated almost exclusively in urban centers.

Still, more than 700 U.S. counties have 100% rural land, defined as the population, housing, and territory not contained within urbanized areas or clusters. "Urban" in this sense is considered an area with 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.

Stacker pulled data from the 2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification to compile a list of the most rural county in each state. This information—the most recent available, as the census only conducts this study every ten years—includes the total square mileage of each county's rural and urban space, the rural population, the overall county population, and population density in rural areas. Keep reading to discover your state's most rural locale.

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BJ Ray // Shutterstock

Alabama: Baldwin County

- Total rural area: 1,484 square miles (93.32% of the county)
- Total urban area: 106 square miles (6.68% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 77,060 (42.28% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 182,265
- Population density in rural areas: 51.9 people per square mile

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Hjames2 // Wikimedia Commons

Alaska: Yukon-Koyukuk County

- Total rural area: 145,505 square miles (100% of the county)
- Total urban area: 0 square miles (0.00% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 5,588 (100% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 5,588
- Population density in rural areas: 0 people per square mile

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Photos BrianScantlebury // Shutterstock

Arizona: Coconino County

- Total rural area: 18,571 square miles (99.74% of the county)
- Total urban area: 47 square miles (0.26% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 42,297 (31.47% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 134,421
- Population density in rural areas: 2.3 people per square mile

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Chris Litherland // Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Union County

- Total rural area: 1,024 square miles (98.54% of the county)
- Total urban area: 15 square miles (1.46% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 22,695 (54.5% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 41,639
- Population density in rural areas: 22.2 people per square mile

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Andy Konieczny // Shutterstock

California: San Bernardino County

- Total rural area: 19,431 square miles (96.88% of the county)
- Total urban area: 626 square miles (3.12% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 96,357 (4.73% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 2.0 million
- Population density in rural areas: 5 people per square mile

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Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Las Animas County

- Total rural area: 4,767 square miles (99.88% of the county)
- Total urban area: 6 square miles (0.12% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 6,326 (40.79% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 15,507
- Population density in rural areas: 1.3 people per square mile

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Dan Hanscom // Shutterstock

Connecticut: Litchfield County

- Total rural area: 827 square miles (89.84% of the county)
- Total urban area: 94 square miles (10.16% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 78,722 (41.45% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 189,927
- Population density in rural areas: 95.2 people per square mile

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Sharon Gar-El // Shutterstock

Delaware: Sussex County

- Total rural area: 821 square miles (87.74% of the county)
- Total urban area: 115 square miles (12.26% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 81,428 (41.3% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 197,145
- Population density in rural areas: 99.1 people per square mile

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Celso Diniz // Shutterstock

Florida: Collier County

- Total rural area: 1,820 square miles (91.08% of the county)
- Total urban area: 178 square miles (8.92% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 27,284 (8.49% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 321,520
- Population density in rural areas: 15 people per square mile

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Daffydoc // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Ware County

- Total rural area: 870 square miles (97.48% of the county)
- Total urban area: 22 square miles (2.52% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 10,691 (29.44% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 36,312
- Population density in rural areas: 12.3 people per square mile

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AlaskaDave // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Hawaii County

- Total rural area: 3,942 square miles (97.85% of the county)
- Total urban area: 87 square miles (2.15% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 70,313 (37.99% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 185,079
- Population density in rural areas: 17.8 people per square mile

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Danita Delimont // Shutterstock

Idaho: Idaho County

- Total rural area: 8,476 square miles (99.98% of the county)
- Total urban area: 2 square miles (0.02% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 13,117 (80.64% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 16,267
- Population density in rural areas: 1.5 people per square mile

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Illinois: McLean County

- Total rural area: 1,129 square miles (95.38% of the county)
- Total urban area: 55 square miles (4.62% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 27,974 (16.5% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 169,572
- Population density in rural areas: 24.8 people per square mile

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Drew Jacksich // Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: LaPorte County

- Total rural area: 557 square miles (93.11% of the county)
- Total urban area: 41 square miles (6.89% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 39,713 (35.63% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 111,467
- Population density in rural areas: 71.3 people per square mile

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Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

Iowa: Kossuth County

- Total rural area: 970 square miles (99.73% of the county)
- Total urban area: 3 square miles (0.27% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 10,203 (65.64% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 15,543
- Population density in rural areas: 10.5 people per square mile

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MadameGraffigny // Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Butler County

- Total rural area: 1,408 square miles (98.49% of the county)
- Total urban area: 22 square miles (1.51% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 26,664 (40.47% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 65,880
- Population density in rural areas: 18.9 people per square mile

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Pike County

- Total rural area: 780 square miles (99.13% of the county)
- Total urban area: 7 square miles (0.87% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 57,090 (87.8% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 65,024
- Population density in rural areas: 73.2 people per square mile

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Vernon County

- Total rural area: 1,306 square miles (98.32% of the county)
- Total urban area: 22 square miles (1.68% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 26,113 (49.9% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 52,334
- Population density in rural areas: 20 people per square mile

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Danita Delimont // Shutterstock

Maine: Aroostook County

- Total rural area: 6,662 square miles (99.86% of the county)
- Total urban area: 10 square miles (0.14% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 57,687 (80.27% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 71,870
- Population density in rural areas: 8.7 people per square mile

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Garrett County

- Total rural area: 643 square miles (99.33% of the county)
- Total urban area: 4 square miles (0.67% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 25,251 (83.9% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 30,097
- Population density in rural areas: 39.3 people per square mile

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Jay Yuan // Shutterstock

Massachusetts: Worcester County

- Total rural area: 1,103 square miles (73.03% of the county)
- Total urban area: 408 square miles (26.97% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 146,856 (18.39% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 798,552
- Population density in rural areas: 133.1 people per square mile

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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Marquette County

- Total rural area: 1,786 square miles (98.78% of the county)
- Total urban area: 22 square miles (1.22% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 27,830 (41.49% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 67,077
- Population density in rural areas: 15.6 people per square mile

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Sharon Mollerus // Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: St. Louis County

- Total rural area: 6,176 square miles (98.85% of the county)
- Total urban area: 72 square miles (1.15% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 74,313 (37.11% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 200,226
- Population density in rural areas: 12 people per square mile

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Mississippi: Yazoo County

- Total rural area: 914 square miles (99.07% of the county)
- Total urban area: 9 square miles (0.93% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 12,519 (44.61% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 28,065
- Population density in rural areas: 13.7 people per square mile

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Texas County

- Total rural area: 1,177 square miles (99.99% of the county)
- Total urban area: 0 square miles (0.01% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 25,803 (99.21% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 26,008
- Population density in rural areas: 21.9 people per square mile

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Montana: Beaverhead County

- Total rural area: 5,539 square miles (99.96% of the county)
- Total urban area: 2 square miles (0.04% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 4,637 (50.15% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 9,246
- Population density in rural areas: 0.8 people per square mile

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Cherry County

- Total rural area: 5,959 square miles (99.97% of the county)
- Total urban area: 2 square miles (0.03% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 3,000 (52.51% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 5,713
- Population density in rural areas: 0.5 people per square mile

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BLM Nevada // Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: Nye County

- Total rural area: 18,138 square miles (99.76% of the county)
- Total urban area: 44 square miles (0.24% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 15,500 (35.27% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 43,946
- Population density in rural areas: 0.9 people per square mile

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Coos County

- Total rural area: 1,789 square miles (99.7% of the county)
- Total urban area: 5 square miles (0.30% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 21,896 (66.24% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 33,055
- Population density in rural areas: 12.2 people per square mile

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Burlington County

- Total rural area: 579 square miles (72.47% of the county)
- Total urban area: 220 square miles (27.53% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 29,900 (6.66% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 448,734
- Population density in rural areas: 51.7 people per square mile

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Peter Potrowl // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Catron County

- Total rural area: 6,924 square miles (100% of the county)
- Total urban area: 0 square miles (0.00% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 3,725 (100% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 3,725
- Population density in rural areas: 0.5 people per square mile

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P199 // Wikimedia Commons

New York: St. Lawrence County

- Total rural area: 2,661 square miles (99.27% of the county)
- Total urban area: 19 square miles (0.73% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 69,396 (61.99% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 111,944
- Population density in rural areas: 26.1 people per square mile

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Sampson County

- Total rural area: 937 square miles (99.15% of the county)
- Total urban area: 8 square miles (0.85% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 53,893 (84.96% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 63,431
- Population density in rural areas: 57.5 people per square mile

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Jessie Veeder // Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota: McKenzie County

- Total rural area: 2,760 square miles (100% of the county)
- Total urban area: 0 square miles (0.00% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 6,360 (100% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 6,360
- Population density in rural areas: 2.3 people per square mile

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio: Ross County

- Total rural area: 672 square miles (97.5% of the county)
- Total urban area: 17 square miles (2.50% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 45,801 (58.67% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 78,064
- Population density in rural areas: 68.2 people per square mile

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Oklahoma: Osage County

- Total rural area: 2,234 square miles (99.43% of the county)
- Total urban area: 13 square miles (0.57% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 28,233 (59.47% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 47,472
- Population density in rural areas: 12.6 people per square mile

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Jess Kraft // Shutterstock

Oregon: Harney County

- Total rural area: 10,131 square miles (99.98% of the county)
- Total urban area: 3 square miles (0.02% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 3,291 (44.34% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 7,422
- Population density in rural areas: 0.3 people per square mile

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Djorion // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Lycoming County

- Total rural area: 1,190 square miles (96.85% of the county)
- Total urban area: 39 square miles (3.15% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 42,121 (36.28% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 116,111
- Population density in rural areas: 35.4 people per square mile

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Euri Rivera // Shutterstock

Puerto Rico: Utuado County

- Total rural area: 100 square miles (87.89% of the county)
- Total urban area: 14 square miles (12.11% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 15,556 (46.93% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 33,149
- Population density in rural areas: 155.9 people per square mile

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Washington County

- Total rural area: 244 square miles (74.01% of the county)
- Total urban area: 86 square miles (25.99% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 39,139 (30.82% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 126,979
- Population density in rural areas: 160.6 people per square mile

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LesPalenik // Shutterstock

South Carolina: Orangeburg County

- Total rural area: 1,074 square miles (97.14% of the county)
- Total urban area: 32 square miles (2.86% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 58,995 (63.78% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 92,501
- Population density in rural areas: 54.9 people per square mile

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Jerry Huddleston // Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota: Meade County

- Total rural area: 3,460 square miles (99.7% of the county)
- Total urban area: 11 square miles (0.30% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 9,664 (38% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 25,434
- Population density in rural areas: 2.8 people per square mile

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

Tennessee: Wayne County

- Total rural area: 734 square miles (100% of the county)
- Total urban area: 0 square miles (0.00% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 17,021 (100% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 17,021
- Population density in rural areas: 23.2 people per square mile

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Leaflet // Wikimedia Commons

Texas: Brewster County

- Total rural area: 6,180 square miles (99.93% of the county)
- Total urban area: 4 square miles (0.07% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 3,219 (34.87% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 9,232
- Population density in rural areas: 0.5 people per square mile

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Utah: San Juan County

- Total rural area: 7,818 square miles (99.98% of the county)
- Total urban area: 2 square miles (0.02% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 11,482 (77.87% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 14,746
- Population density in rural areas: 1.5 people per square mile

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Jsbillin // Wikimedia Commons

Vermont: Windsor County

- Total rural area: 958 square miles (98.82% of the county)
- Total urban area: 11 square miles (1.18% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 42,836 (75.59% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 56,670
- Population density in rural areas: 44.7 people per square mile

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Virginia: Pittsylvania County

- Total rural area: 953 square miles (98.37% of the county)
- Total urban area: 16 square miles (1.63% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 54,380 (85.63% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 63,506
- Population density in rural areas: 57.1 people per square mile

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Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Okanogan County

- Total rural area: 5,263 square miles (99.91% of the county)
- Total urban area: 5 square miles (0.09% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 32,891 (79.99% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 41,120
- Population density in rural areas: 6.2 people per square mile

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InflightAIS // Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia: Randolph County

- Total rural area: 1,034 square miles (99.41% of the county)
- Total urban area: 6 square miles (0.59% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 18,344 (62.38% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 29,405
- Population density in rural areas: 17.7 people per square mile

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Aaron of L.A. Photography // Shutterstock

Wisconsin: Marathon County

- Total rural area: 1,497 square miles (96.87% of the county)
- Total urban area: 48 square miles (3.13% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 57,634 (42.99% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 134,063
- Population density in rural areas: 38.5 people per square mile

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Milonica // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Sweetwater County

- Total rural area: 10,408 square miles (99.82% of the county)
- Total urban area: 19 square miles (0.18% of the county)
- Population in rural areas: 4,782 (10.92% of county population)
- Total population of the county: 43,806
- Population density in rural areas: 0.5 people per square mile

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