Most rural counties in West Virginia

Written by:
July 25, 2022
jpmueller99 from Shenandoah Valley of VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

Most rural counties in West Virginia

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in West Virginia 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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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Berkeley County

- Rural area: 78.5% (252 square miles)
- Urban area: 21.5% (69 square miles)
- Total land area: 321 square miles
--- #41 largest county in state, #2,757 nationwide

- Population density: 366.2 people / square mile (117,615 residents)
--- #54 lowest density county in state, #2,788 nationwide

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Brandon W. Holmes // Wikicommons

#54. Ohio County

- Rural area: 78.9% (84 square miles)
- Urban area: 21.1% (22 square miles)
- Total land area: 106 square miles
--- #53 largest county in state, #3,082 nationwide

- Population density: 395.7 people / square mile (41,875 residents)
--- #55 lowest density county in state, #2,821 nationwide

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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Hancock County

- Rural area: 80.7% (67 square miles)
- Urban area: 19.3% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 83 square miles
--- #55 largest county in state, #3,092 nationwide

- Population density: 352.5 people / square mile (29,118 residents)
--- #53 lowest density county in state, #2,777 nationwide

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Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#52. Cabell County

- Rural area: 86.2% (242 square miles)
- Urban area: 13.8% (39 square miles)
- Total land area: 281 square miles
--- #45 largest county in state, #2,844 nationwide

- Population density: 332.1 people / square mile (93,328 residents)
--- #52 lowest density county in state, #2,761 nationwide

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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

#51. Brooke County

- Rural area: 88.1% (79 square miles)
- Urban area: 11.9% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 89 square miles
--- #54 largest county in state, #3,089 nationwide

- Population density: 248.4 people / square mile (22,162 residents)
--- #49 lowest density county in state, #2,671 nationwide

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#50. Wood County

- Rural area: 88.2% (323 square miles)
- Urban area: 11.8% (43 square miles)
- Total land area: 366 square miles
--- #31 largest county in state, #2,640 nationwide

- Population density: 230.4 people / square mile (84,387 residents)
--- #48 lowest density county in state, #2,639 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Jefferson County

- Rural area: 88.9% (186 square miles)
- Urban area: 11.1% (23 square miles)
- Total land area: 210 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #2,984 nationwide

- Population density: 271.5 people / square mile (56,922 residents)
--- #50 lowest density county in state, #2,697 nationwide

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Zverzver // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Monongalia County

- Rural area: 89.6% (323 square miles)
- Urban area: 10.4% (37 square miles)
- Total land area: 360 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #2,653 nationwide

- Population density: 294.9 people / square mile (106,196 residents)
--- #51 lowest density county in state, #2,728 nationwide

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O Palsson // Flickr

#47. Kanawha County

- Rural area: 90.3% (814 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.7% (88 square miles)
- Total land area: 902 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #845 nationwide

- Population density: 200.8 people / square mile (181,014 residents)
--- #47 lowest density county in state, #2,598 nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Harrison County

- Rural area: 90.8% (378 square miles)
- Urban area: 9.2% (38 square miles)
- Total land area: 416 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #2,430 nationwide

- Population density: 162.5 people / square mile (67,620 residents)
--- #44 lowest density county in state, #2,515 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Marion County

- Rural area: 91.6% (283 square miles)
- Urban area: 8.4% (26 square miles)
- Total land area: 309 square miles
--- #43 largest county in state, #2,789 nationwide

- Population density: 182.1 people / square mile (56,233 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,561 nationwide

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Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Raleigh County

- Rural area: 91.9% (557 square miles)
- Urban area: 8.1% (49 square miles)
- Total land area: 605 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #1,607 nationwide

- Population density: 123.0 people / square mile (74,452 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #2,376 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Mercer County

- Rural area: 92.4% (387 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.6% (32 square miles)
- Total land area: 419 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #2,415 nationwide

- Population density: 141.7 people / square mile (59,370 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #2,446 nationwide

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Roger B Wise // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Putnam County

- Rural area: 92.7% (321 square miles)
- Urban area: 7.3% (25 square miles)
- Total land area: 346 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #2,690 nationwide

- Population density: 163.8 people / square mile (56,604 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #2,521 nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Wayne County

- Rural area: 96.9% (490 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.1% (16 square miles)
- Total land area: 506 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #2,052 nationwide

- Population density: 79.0 people / square mile (39,952 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #2,087 nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Taylor County

- Rural area: 97.3% (168 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.7% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 173 square miles
--- #51 largest county in state, #3,037 nationwide

- Population density: 97.3 people / square mile (16,817 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #2,237 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Marshall County

- Rural area: 97.6% (298 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.4% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 305 square miles
--- #44 largest county in state, #2,798 nationwide

- Population density: 101.2 people / square mile (30,900 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #2,260 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Fayette County

- Rural area: 97.9% (648 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (14 square miles)
- Total land area: 662 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #1,420 nationwide

- Population density: 65.1 people / square mile (43,087 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #1,913 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Logan County

- Rural area: 98.2% (446 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.8% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 454 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #2,257 nationwide

- Population density: 71.8 people / square mile (32,593 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #2,000 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Upshur County

- Rural area: 98.3% (348 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 355 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #2,673 nationwide

- Population density: 68.9 people / square mile (24,451 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #1,964 nationwide

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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Mineral County

- Rural area: 98.3% (322 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.7% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 328 square miles
--- #40 largest county in state, #2,745 nationwide

- Population density: 82.5 people / square mile (27,047 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #2,116 nationwide

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Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Mason County

- Rural area: 98.5% (424 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (7 square miles)
- Total land area: 431 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #2,358 nationwide

- Population density: 62.0 people / square mile (26,700 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #1,866 nationwide

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#33. Pleasants County

- Rural area: 98.7% (128 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 130 square miles
--- #52 largest county in state, #3,072 nationwide

- Population density: 57.3 people / square mile (7,457 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #1,809 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Jackson County

- Rural area: 98.8% (459 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 464 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #2,213 nationwide

- Population density: 62.0 people / square mile (28,793 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #1,868 nationwide

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OZinOH // Flickr

#31. Wetzel County

- Rural area: 99.0% (355 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.0% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 358 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #2,661 nationwide

- Population density: 42.7 people / square mile (15,291 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #1,531 nationwide

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Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Greenbrier County

- Rural area: 99.1% (1,011 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.9% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,020 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #652 nationwide

- Population density: 34.2 people / square mile (34,893 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,323 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Boone County

- Rural area: 99.2% (497 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.8% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 502 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #2,073 nationwide

- Population density: 43.7 people / square mile (21,897 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #1,550 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Lewis County

- Rural area: 99.3% (382 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 385 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #2,585 nationwide

- Population density: 41.6 people / square mile (16,024 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #1,510 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Randolph County

- Rural area: 99.4% (1,034 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.6% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,040 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #633 nationwide

- Population density: 27.7 people / square mile (28,763 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #1,142 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Summers County

- Rural area: 99.5% (359 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 360 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #2,652 nationwide

- Population density: 35.3 people / square mile (12,710 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #1,346 nationwide

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Valerius Tygart // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Barbour County

- Rural area: 99.5% (339 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 341 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #2,705 nationwide

- Population density: 48.5 people / square mile (16,543 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #1,662 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Gilmer County

- Rural area: 99.5% (337 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 339 square miles
--- #39 largest county in state, #2,716 nationwide

- Population density: 23.5 people / square mile (7,970 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #1,023 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Nicholas County

- Rural area: 99.5% (644 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 647 square miles
--- #8 largest county in state, #1,465 nationwide

- Population density: 38.4 people / square mile (24,857 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #1,436 nationwide

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Richie Diesterheft from Chicago, IL, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Roane County

- Rural area: 99.6% (482 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 484 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #2,143 nationwide

- Population density: 28.6 people / square mile (13,831 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #1,172 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Preston County

- Rural area: 99.6% (646 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 649 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #1,453 nationwide

- Population density: 51.8 people / square mile (33,610 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #1,721 nationwide

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#20. Mingo County

- Rural area: 99.7% (422 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 423 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #2,396 nationwide

- Population density: 56.3 people / square mile (23,808 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #1,798 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Wyoming County

- Rural area: 99.7% (498 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 499 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #2,083 nationwide

- Population density: 41.8 people / square mile (20,890 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #1,515 nationwide

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Antony-22 // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Hardy County

- Rural area: 99.7% (581 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 582 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #1,690 nationwide

- Population density: 23.7 people / square mile (13,789 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #1,027 nationwide

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Coal town guy // Wikimedia Commons

#17. McDowell County

- Rural area: 99.7% (532 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 533 square miles
--- #13 largest county in state, #1,955 nationwide

- Population density: 33.9 people / square mile (18,083 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #1,314 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Grant County

- Rural area: 99.7% (476 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 477 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #2,164 nationwide

- Population density: 24.2 people / square mile (11,565 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #1,044 nationwide

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Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Monroe County

- Rural area: 99.8% (472 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 473 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #2,182 nationwide

- Population density: 28.2 people / square mile (13,344 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #1,162 nationwide

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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

#14. Tyler County

- Rural area: 99.9% (256 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 256 square miles
--- #47 largest county in state, #2,895 nationwide

- Population density: 34.1 people / square mile (8,736 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,320 nationwide

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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Morgan County

- Rural area: 100.0% (229 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 229 square miles
--- #49 largest county in state, #2,956 nationwide

- Population density: 77.7 people / square mile (17,800 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #2,066 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Lincoln County

- Rural area: 100.0% (437 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 437 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #2,319 nationwide

- Population density: 47.2 people / square mile (20,617 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #1,631 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Hampshire County

- Rural area: 100.0% (640 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 640 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #1,485 nationwide

- Population density: 36.4 people / square mile (23,304 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #1,381 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Braxton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (511 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 511 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #2,038 nationwide

- Population density: 27.5 people / square mile (14,032 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #1,133 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Doddridge County

- Rural area: 100.0% (320 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 320 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #2,763 nationwide

- Population density: 26.6 people / square mile (8,499 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #1,112 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Calhoun County

- Rural area: 100.0% (279 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 279 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #2,849 nationwide

- Population density: 25.7 people / square mile (7,185 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #1,090 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Clay County

- Rural area: 100.0% (342 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 342 square miles
--- #37 largest county in state, #2,703 nationwide

- Population density: 25.2 people / square mile (8,599 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #1,076 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Wirt County

- Rural area: 100.0% (233 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 233 square miles
--- #48 largest county in state, #2,945 nationwide

- Population density: 24.8 people / square mile (5,764 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #1,058 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Ritchie County

- Rural area: 100.0% (452 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 452 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #2,264 nationwide

- Population density: 21.6 people / square mile (9,747 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #943 nationwide

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#4. Tucker County

- Rural area: 100.0% (419 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 419 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #2,417 nationwide

- Population density: 16.6 people / square mile (6,943 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #788 nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Webster County

- Rural area: 100.0% (553 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 553 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #1,882 nationwide

- Population density: 15.0 people / square mile (8,289 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #738 nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Pendleton County

- Rural area: 100.0% (696 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 696 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #1,337 nationwide

- Population density: 10.0 people / square mile (6,968 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #577 nationwide

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jpmueller99 from Shenandoah Valley of VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Pocahontas County

- Rural area: 100.0% (940 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 940 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #755 nationwide

- Population density: 8.9 people / square mile (8,382 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #533 nationwide

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