Most rural counties in Wisconsin

Written by:
July 25, 2022
Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

Most rural counties in Wisconsin

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Wisconsin 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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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Marathon County

- Rural area: 96.9% (1,497 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.1% (48 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,545 square miles
--- #1 largest county in state, #390 nationwide

- Population density: 87.7 people / square mile (135,485 residents)
--- #49 lowest density county in state, #2,154 nationwide

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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Portage County

- Rural area: 96.9% (776 square miles)
- Urban area: 3.1% (25 square miles)
- Total land area: 801 square miles
--- #29 largest county in state, #1,062 nationwide

- Population density: 88.5 people / square mile (70,822 residents)
--- #50 lowest density county in state, #2,164 nationwide

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bogdanstepniak // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Sauk County

- Rural area: 97.7% (812 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.3% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 831 square miles
--- #27 largest county in state, #1,013 nationwide

- Population density: 77.2 people / square mile (64,152 residents)
--- #48 lowest density county in state, #2,062 nationwide

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Doc Searls // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Dodge County

- Rural area: 97.9% (857 square miles)
- Urban area: 2.1% (19 square miles)
- Total land area: 876 square miles
--- #22 largest county in state, #924 nationwide

- Population density: 100.0 people / square mile (87,569 residents)
--- #52 lowest density county in state, #2,252 nationwide

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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Pierce County

- Rural area: 98.4% (564 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.6% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 574 square miles
--- #51 largest county in state, #1,744 nationwide

- Population density: 73.8 people / square mile (42,336 residents)
--- #46 lowest density county in state, #2,023 nationwide

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Downspec // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Columbia County

- Rural area: 98.4% (754 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.6% (12 square miles)
- Total land area: 766 square miles
--- #34 largest county in state, #1,136 nationwide

- Population density: 74.9 people / square mile (57,331 residents)
--- #47 lowest density county in state, #2,035 nationwide

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self // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Waupaca County

- Rural area: 98.5% (736 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.5% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 748 square miles
--- #37 largest county in state, #1,180 nationwide

- Population density: 68.2 people / square mile (50,997 residents)
--- #45 lowest density county in state, #1,950 nationwide

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Emistuemke // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Dunn County

- Rural area: 98.6% (838 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.4% (12 square miles)
- Total land area: 850 square miles
--- #26 largest county in state, #980 nationwide

- Population density: 53.0 people / square mile (45,029 residents)
--- #39 lowest density county in state, #1,739 nationwide

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Appraiser // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Barron County

- Rural area: 98.7% (852 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.3% (11 square miles)
- Total land area: 863 square miles
--- #24 largest county in state, #958 nationwide

- Population density: 52.4 people / square mile (45,182 residents)
--- #38 lowest density county in state, #1,730 nationwide

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Wineinger // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Monroe County

- Rural area: 98.8% (890 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 901 square miles
--- #19 largest county in state, #847 nationwide

- Population density: 51.2 people / square mile (46,155 residents)
--- #37 lowest density county in state, #1,714 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Lincoln County

- Rural area: 98.8% (869 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.2% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 879 square miles
--- #21 largest county in state, #911 nationwide

- Population density: 31.5 people / square mile (27,687 residents)
--- #25 lowest density county in state, #1,258 nationwide

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Wtimmers // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Door County

- Rural area: 98.9% (476 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 482 square miles
--- #59 largest county in state, #2,153 nationwide

- Population density: 57.3 people / square mile (27,621 residents)
--- #41 lowest density county in state, #1,808 nationwide

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Nfarmakes // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Douglas County

- Rural area: 98.9% (1,290 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (14 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,304 square miles
--- #4 largest county in state, #460 nationwide

- Population density: 33.4 people / square mile (43,497 residents)
--- #27 lowest density county in state, #1,303 nationwide

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SD Dirk // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Green County

- Rural area: 98.9% (578 square miles)
- Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 584 square miles
--- #50 largest county in state, #1,684 nationwide

- Population density: 63.0 people / square mile (36,790 residents)
--- #43 lowest density county in state, #1,885 nationwide

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Chris Rand // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Kewaunee County

- Rural area: 99.1% (339 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.9% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 343 square miles
--- #66 largest county in state, #2,701 nationwide

- Population density: 59.6 people / square mile (20,398 residents)
--- #42 lowest density county in state, #1,843 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Oneida County

- Rural area: 99.2% (1,104 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.8% (9 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,113 square miles
--- #10 largest county in state, #566 nationwide

- Population density: 31.9 people / square mile (35,480 residents)
--- #26 lowest density county in state, #1,269 nationwide

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Marinette County

- Rural area: 99.3% (1,389 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (10 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,399 square miles
--- #3 largest county in state, #431 nationwide

- Population density: 28.8 people / square mile (40,312 residents)
--- #20 lowest density county in state, #1,179 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Shawano County

- Rural area: 99.3% (887 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 893 square miles
--- #20 largest county in state, #881 nationwide

- Population density: 45.7 people / square mile (40,813 residents)
--- #35 lowest density county in state, #1,595 nationwide

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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Crawford County

- Rural area: 99.3% (567 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 571 square miles
--- #52 largest county in state, #1,773 nationwide

- Population density: 28.3 people / square mile (16,155 residents)
--- #18 lowest density county in state, #1,164 nationwide

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Corey Coyle // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Grant County

- Rural area: 99.3% (1,139 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (8 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,147 square miles
--- #9 largest county in state, #539 nationwide

- Population density: 45.0 people / square mile (51,570 residents)
--- #34 lowest density county in state, #1,577 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Green Lake County

- Rural area: 99.3% (347 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 349 square miles
--- #65 largest county in state, #2,682 nationwide

- Population density: 53.8 people / square mile (18,807 residents)
--- #40 lowest density county in state, #1,749 nationwide

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123dieinafire // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Polk County

- Rural area: 99.3% (908 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.7% (6 square miles)
- Total land area: 914 square miles
--- #17 largest county in state, #810 nationwide

- Population density: 47.6 people / square mile (43,549 residents)
--- #36 lowest density county in state, #1,641 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Jackson County

- Rural area: 99.5% (982 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (5 square miles)
- Total land area: 988 square miles
--- #15 largest county in state, #696 nationwide

- Population density: 20.8 people / square mile (20,556 residents)
--- #13 lowest density county in state, #922 nationwide

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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Langlade County

- Rural area: 99.5% (866 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 871 square miles
--- #23 largest county in state, #936 nationwide

- Population density: 22.0 people / square mile (19,167 residents)
--- #15 lowest density county in state, #965 nationwide

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Corey Coyle // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Richland County

- Rural area: 99.5% (583 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 586 square miles
--- #49 largest county in state, #1,677 nationwide

- Population density: 29.7 people / square mile (17,408 residents)
--- #21 lowest density county in state, #1,203 nationwide

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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Oconto County

- Rural area: 99.6% (993 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.5% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 998 square miles
--- #14 largest county in state, #684 nationwide

- Population density: 37.9 people / square mile (37,870 residents)
--- #30 lowest density county in state, #1,422 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Ashland County

- Rural area: 99.6% (1,041 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (4 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,045 square miles
--- #11 largest county in state, #625 nationwide

- Population density: 14.9 people / square mile (15,524 residents)
--- #8 lowest density county in state, #732 nationwide

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Tgkrause // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Iowa County

- Rural area: 99.6% (760 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 763 square miles
--- #35 largest county in state, #1,145 nationwide

- Population density: 31.0 people / square mile (23,632 residents)
--- #22 lowest density county in state, #1,238 nationwide

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Nathanthiel // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Juneau County

- Rural area: 99.7% (764 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 767 square miles
--- #33 largest county in state, #1,132 nationwide

- Population density: 34.7 people / square mile (26,603 residents)
--- #29 lowest density county in state, #1,334 nationwide

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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Trempealeau County

- Rural area: 99.7% (731 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 733 square miles
--- #38 largest county in state, #1,208 nationwide

- Population density: 40.3 people / square mile (29,525 residents)
--- #33 lowest density county in state, #1,477 nationwide

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#20. Waushara County

- Rural area: 99.7% (624 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 626 square miles
--- #47 largest county in state, #1,539 nationwide

- Population density: 38.7 people / square mile (24,256 residents)
--- #31 lowest density county in state, #1,447 nationwide

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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Rusk County

- Rural area: 99.7% (911 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 914 square miles
--- #18 largest county in state, #812 nationwide

- Population density: 15.4 people / square mile (14,074 residents)
--- #9 lowest density county in state, #749 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Vernon County

- Rural area: 99.7% (789 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 792 square miles
--- #32 largest county in state, #1,084 nationwide

- Population density: 38.9 people / square mile (30,759 residents)
--- #32 lowest density county in state, #1,450 nationwide

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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Taylor County

- Rural area: 99.7% (972 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.3% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 975 square miles
--- #16 largest county in state, #711 nationwide

- Population density: 20.8 people / square mile (20,320 residents)
--- #14 lowest density county in state, #924 nationwide

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Foreverwiser // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Sawyer County

- Rural area: 99.8% (1,255 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (3 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,257 square miles
--- #5 largest county in state, #482 nationwide

- Population density: 13.1 people / square mile (16,477 residents)
--- #7 lowest density county in state, #677 nationwide

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Iron County

- Rural area: 99.8% (756 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 758 square miles
--- #36 largest county in state, #1,159 nationwide

- Population density: 7.5 people / square mile (5,679 residents)
--- #1 lowest density county in state, #471 nationwide

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Bjoertvedt // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Washburn County

- Rural area: 99.8% (795 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
- Total land area: 797 square miles
--- #30 largest county in state, #1,074 nationwide

- Population density: 19.7 people / square mile (15,726 residents)
--- #12 lowest density county in state, #887 nationwide

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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Clark County

- Rural area: 99.9% (1,209 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.1% (1 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,210 square miles
--- #7 largest county in state, #507 nationwide

- Population density: 28.7 people / square mile (34,668 residents)
--- #19 lowest density county in state, #1,174 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Marquette County

- Rural area: 100.0% (456 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 456 square miles
--- #60 largest county in state, #2,250 nationwide

- Population density: 33.8 people / square mile (15,380 residents)
--- #28 lowest density county in state, #1,310 nationwide

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Pepin County

- Rural area: 100.0% (232 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 232 square miles
--- #72 largest county in state, #2,949 nationwide

- Population density: 31.3 people / square mile (7,261 residents)
--- #24 lowest density county in state, #1,250 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Adams County

- Rural area: 100.0% (646 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 646 square miles
--- #43 largest county in state, #1,468 nationwide

- Population density: 31.3 people / square mile (20,208 residents)
--- #23 lowest density county in state, #1,249 nationwide

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Lafayette County

- Rural area: 100.0% (634 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 634 square miles
--- #46 largest county in state, #1,511 nationwide

- Population density: 26.3 people / square mile (16,682 residents)
--- #17 lowest density county in state, #1,108 nationwide

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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Vilas County

- Rural area: 100.0% (857 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 857 square miles
--- #25 largest county in state, #972 nationwide

- Population density: 25.6 people / square mile (21,923 residents)
--- #16 lowest density county in state, #1,088 nationwide

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Buffalo County

- Rural area: 100.0% (672 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 672 square miles
--- #42 largest county in state, #1,402 nationwide

- Population density: 19.5 people / square mile (13,087 residents)
--- #11 lowest density county in state, #871 nationwide

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Dramsey57 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Burnett County

- Rural area: 100.0% (822 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 822 square miles
--- #28 largest county in state, #1,030 nationwide

- Population density: 18.7 people / square mile (15,363 residents)
--- #10 lowest density county in state, #845 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Menominee County

- Rural area: 100.0% (358 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 358 square miles
--- #64 largest county in state, #2,663 nationwide

- Population density: 12.8 people / square mile (4,566 residents)
--- #6 lowest density county in state, #668 nationwide

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Billertl // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Price County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,254 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,254 square miles
--- #6 largest county in state, #485 nationwide

- Population density: 10.6 people / square mile (13,351 residents)
--- #5 lowest density county in state, #595 nationwide

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Dls4832 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Bayfield County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,478 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,478 square miles
--- #2 largest county in state, #408 nationwide

- Population density: 10.2 people / square mile (15,088 residents)
--- #4 lowest density county in state, #585 nationwide

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Forest County

- Rural area: 100.0% (1,014 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 1,014 square miles
--- #12 largest county in state, #661 nationwide

- Population density: 8.9 people / square mile (9,003 residents)
--- #3 lowest density county in state, #530 nationwide

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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Florence County

- Rural area: 100.0% (488 square miles)
- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
- Total land area: 488 square miles
--- #58 largest county in state, #2,131 nationwide

- Population density: 8.8 people / square mile (4,312 residents)
--- #2 lowest density county in state, #529 nationwide

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