List of most rural counties in West Virginia released

Lists and Rankings

FILE – This May 9, 2012, file photo, shows the Grandview State Park overlooking the New River Gorge National River in Grandview, W.Va. The state offers numerous trails for hiking and other spots with scenic views. With West Virginia poised to lose another congressional seat due to its long, steady population decline, Republican lawmakers are convinced a massive tax cut is the key to reversing the trend. (Kenny Kemp/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP, File)

(STACKER) — 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 2019 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.

#50 Wood County

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  • 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, #2,639 nationwide
  • Population density: 232.0 people / square mile (84,960 residents)
  • #48 lowest density county in state, #2,644 nationwide

#49 Jefferson County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,983 nationwide
  • Population density: 269.5 people / square mile (56,506 residents)
  • #50 lowest density county in state, #2,695 nationwide

#48 Monongalia County

Zverzver // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,652 nationwide
  • Population density: 292.9 people / square mile (105,474 residents)
  • #51 lowest density county in state, #2,726 nationwide

#47 Kanawha County

O Palsson // Flickr
  • 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, #844 nationwide
  • Population density: 203.3 people / square mile (183,279 residents)
  • #47 lowest density county in state, #2,603 nationwide

#46 Harrison County

Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,429 nationwide
  • Population density: 163.2 people / square mile (67,908 residents)
  • #44 lowest density county in state, #2,519 nationwide

#45 Marion County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,788 nationwide
  • Population density: 182.5 people / square mile (56,355 residents)
  • #46 lowest density county in state, #2,561 nationwide

#44 Raleigh County

Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,606 nationwide
  • Population density: 124.3 people / square mile (75,252 residents)
  • #42 lowest density county in state, #2,382 nationwide

#43 Mercer County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,414 nationwide
  • Population density: 143.0 people / square mile (59,919 residents)
  • #43 lowest density county in state, #2,456 nationwide

#42 Putnam County

Roger B Wise // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,689 nationwide
  • Population density: 163.8 people / square mile (56,610 residents)
  • #45 lowest density county in state, #2,521 nationwide

#41 Wayne County

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,051 nationwide
  • Population density: 79.7 people / square mile (40,303 residents)
  • #38 lowest density county in state, #2,090 nationwide

#40 Taylor County

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #3,036 nationwide
  • Population density: 97.6 people / square mile (16,864 residents)
  • #40 lowest density county in state, #2,238 nationwide

#39 Marshall County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,797 nationwide
  • Population density: 102.5 people / square mile (31,308 residents)
  • #41 lowest density county in state, #2,273 nationwide

#38 Fayette County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,419 nationwide
  • Population density: 65.9 people / square mile (43,576 residents)
  • #34 lowest density county in state, #1,921 nationwide

#37 Logan County

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,256 nationwide
  • Population density: 73.1 people / square mile (33,154 residents)
  • #36 lowest density county in state, #2,017 nationwide

#36 Upshur County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,672 nationwide
  • Population density: 69.1 people / square mile (24,502 residents)
  • #35 lowest density county in state, #1,966 nationwide

#35 Mineral County

Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,744 nationwide
  • Population density: 82.9 people / square mile (27,167 residents)
  • #39 lowest density county in state, #2,121 nationwide

#34 Mason County

Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,357 nationwide
  • Population density: 62.3 people / square mile (26,820 residents)
  • #33 lowest density county in state, #1,872 nationwide

#33 Pleasants County

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  • 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, #3,071 nationwide
  • Population density: 57.5 people / square mile (7,482 residents)
  • #31 lowest density county in state, #1,815 nationwide

#32 Jackson County

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  • 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, #2,212 nationwide
  • Population density: 62.3 people / square mile (28,907 residents)
  • #32 lowest density county in state, #1,871 nationwide

#31 Wetzel County

OZinOH // Flickr
  • 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, #2,660 nationwide
  • Population density: 43.1 people / square mile (15,436 residents)
  • #25 lowest density county in state, #1,536 nationwide

#30 Greenbrier County

Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #651 nationwide
  • Population density: 34.5 people / square mile (35,155 residents)
  • #18 lowest density county in state, #1,326 nationwide

#29 Boone County

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  • 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, #2,072 nationwide
  • Population density: 44.6 people / square mile (22,368 residents)
  • #26 lowest density county in state, #1,566 nationwide

#28 Lewis County

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  • 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, #2,584 nationwide
  • Population density: 42.0 people / square mile (16,166 residents)
  • #23 lowest density county in state, #1,511 nationwide

#27 Randolph County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #632 nationwide
  • Population density: 27.8 people / square mile (28,930 residents)
  • #14 lowest density county in state, #1,148 nationwide

#26 Summers County

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  • 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, #2,651 nationwide
  • Population density: 35.6 people / square mile (12,848 residents)
  • #20 lowest density county in state, #1,356 nationwide

#25 Barbour County

Valerius Tygart // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,704 nationwide
  • Population density: 48.8 people / square mile (16,633 residents)
  • #28 lowest density county in state, #1,666 nationwide

#24 Gilmer County

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  • 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, #2,715 nationwide
  • Population density: 23.8 people / square mile (8,041 residents)
  • #7 lowest density county in state, #1,029 nationwide

#23 Nicholas County

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  • 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, #1,464 nationwide
  • Population density: 38.8 people / square mile (25,078 residents)
  • #22 lowest density county in state, #1,447 nationwide

#22 Roane County

Richie Diesterheft from Chicago, IL, USA // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,142 nationwide
  • Population density: 29.0 people / square mile (14,020 residents)
  • #16 lowest density county in state, #1,180 nationwide

#21 Preston County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,452 nationwide
  • Population density: 51.9 people / square mile (33,683 residents)
  • #29 lowest density county in state, #1,726 nationwide

#20 Mingo County

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  • 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, #2,395 nationwide
  • Population density: 57.4 people / square mile (24,290 residents)
  • #30 lowest density county in state, #1,811 nationwide

#19 Wyoming County

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  • 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, #2,082 nationwide
  • Population density: 42.6 people / square mile (21,281 residents)
  • #24 lowest density county in state, #1,526 nationwide

#18 Hardy County

Antony-22 // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,689 nationwide
  • Population density: 23.7 people / square mile (13,805 residents)
  • #6 lowest density county in state, #1,027 nationwide

#17 McDowell County

Coal town guy // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,954 nationwide
  • Population density: 35.0 people / square mile (18,661 residents)
  • #19 lowest density county in state, #1,339 nationwide

#16 Grant County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,163 nationwide
  • Population density: 24.3 people / square mile (11,616 residents)
  • #8 lowest density county in state, #1,047 nationwide

#15 Monroe County

Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,181 nationwide
  • Population density: 28.3 people / square mile (13,401 residents)
  • #15 lowest density county in state, #1,161 nationwide

#14 Tyler County

Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr
  • 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, #2,894 nationwide
  • Population density: 34.4 people / square mile (8,811 residents)
  • #17 lowest density county in state, #1,324 nationwide

#13 Morgan County

Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,955 nationwide
  • Population density: 77.3 people / square mile (17,709 residents)
  • #37 lowest density county in state, #2,066 nationwide

12 Lincoln County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,318 nationwide
  • Population density: 47.7 people / square mile (20,850 residents)
  • #27 lowest density county in state, #1,647 nationwide

#11 Hampshire County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,484 nationwide
  • Population density: 36.4 people / square mile (23,309 residents)
  • #21 lowest density county in state, #1,377 nationwide

#10 Braxton County

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  • 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, #2,037 nationwide
  • Population density: 27.8 people / square mile (14,190 residents)
  • #13 lowest density county in state, #1,145 nationwide

#9 Doddridge County

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  • 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, #2,762 nationwide
  • Population density: 26.8 people / square mile (8,560 residents)
  • #12 lowest density county in state, #1,118 nationwide

#8 Calhoun County

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  • 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, #2,848 nationwide
  • Population density: 26.1 people / square mile (7,295 residents)
  • #11 lowest density county in state, #1,101 nationwide

#7 Clay County

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  • 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, #2,702 nationwide
  • Population density: 25.5 people / square mile (8,709 residents)
  • #10 lowest density county in state, #1,085 nationwide

#6 Wirt County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,944 nationwide
  • Population density: 24.9 people / square mile (5,798 residents)
  • #9 lowest density county in state, #1,060 nationwide

#5 Ritchie County

w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #2,263 nationwide
  • Population density: 21.8 people / square mile (9,844 residents)
  • #5 lowest density county in state, #950 nationwide

#4 Tucker County

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  • 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, #2,416 nationwide
  • Population density: 16.7 people / square mile (6,982 residents)
  • #4 lowest density county in state, #786 nationwide

#3 Webster County

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  • 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, #1,881 nationwide
  • Population density: 15.2 people / square mile (8,386 residents)
  • #3 lowest density county in state, #740 nationwide

#2 Pendleton County

Famartin // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #1,336 nationwide
  • Population density: 10.1 people / square mile (7,001 residents)
  • #2 lowest density county in state, #581 nationwide

#1 Pocahontas County

jpmueller99 from Shenandoah Valley of VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons
  • 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, #754 nationwide
  • Population density: 9.0 people / square mile (8,450 residents)
  • #1 lowest density county in state, #535 nationwide

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