These are the most rural counties in Missouri

Missouri News

A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land — 702 counties, in fact. 

Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Missouri 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.

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Barton County

– Rural area: 99.5% (589 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 592 square miles
— #58 largest county in state, #1,654 nationwide

– Population density: 19.9 people / square mile (11,797 residents)
— #34 lowest density county in state, #892 nationwide

You may also like: Best counties to raise a family in Missouri

Steveewatkins // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Dent County

– Rural area: 99.5% (749 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 753 square miles
— #20 largest county in state, #1,169 nationwide

– Population density: 20.6 people / square mile (15,545 residents)
— #35 lowest density county in state, #914 nationwide

Bungaloid // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Cedar County

– Rural area: 99.6% (473 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 474 square miles
— #89 largest county in state, #2,171 nationwide

– Population density: 29.6 people / square mile (14,043 residents)
— #54 lowest density county in state, #1,198 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Dallas County

– Rural area: 99.6% (539 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 541 square miles
— #70 largest county in state, #1,931 nationwide

– Population density: 30.7 people / square mile (16,617 residents)
— #57 lowest density county in state, #1,228 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Iron County

– Rural area: 99.6% (548 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 550 square miles
— #66 largest county in state, #1,897 nationwide

– Population density: 18.5 people / square mile (10,164 residents)
— #28 lowest density county in state, #835 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Wright County

– Rural area: 99.6% (679 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 682 square miles
— #33 largest county in state, #1,374 nationwide

– Population density: 26.7 people / square mile (18,203 residents)
— #49 lowest density county in state, #1,115 nationwide

Davekeiser // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Gasconade County

– Rural area: 99.6% (516 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 518 square miles
— #75 largest county in state, #2,012 nationwide

– Population density: 28.4 people / square mile (14,711 residents)
— #52 lowest density county in state, #1,166 nationwide

Brian Hunter // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Benton County

– Rural area: 99.6% (701 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 704 square miles
— #25 largest county in state, #1,316 nationwide

– Population density: 27.1 people / square mile (19,107 residents)
— #50 lowest density county in state, #1,126 nationwide

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Macon County

– Rural area: 99.6% (798 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 801 square miles
— #13 largest county in state, #1,060 nationwide

– Population density: 19.0 people / square mile (15,199 residents)
— #29 lowest density county in state, #856 nationwide

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Washington County

– Rural area: 99.6% (757 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.4% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 760 square miles
— #17 largest county in state, #1,149 nationwide

– Population density: 32.7 people / square mile (24,860 residents)
— #61 lowest density county in state, #1,287 nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the worst commutes in Missouri

1807060460JCM // Wikimedia Commons

#40. DeKalb County

– Rural area: 99.7% (420 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.3% (1 square miles)
– Total land area: 421 square miles
— #103 largest county in state, #2,403 nationwide

– Population density: 29.7 people / square mile (12,526 residents)
— #55 lowest density county in state, #1,201 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Montgomery County

– Rural area: 99.7% (535 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 536 square miles
— #72 largest county in state, #1,948 nationwide

– Population density: 21.4 people / square mile (11,487 residents)
— #37 lowest density county in state, #938 nationwide

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Carroll County

– Rural area: 99.7% (692 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 695 square miles
— #29 largest county in state, #1,346 nationwide

– Population density: 12.6 people / square mile (8,781 residents)
— #16 lowest density county in state, #660 nationwide

Jpjonesusn // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Bates County

– Rural area: 99.7% (835 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 837 square miles
— #6 largest county in state, #999 nationwide

– Population density: 19.5 people / square mile (16,296 residents)
— #30 lowest density county in state, #868 nationwide

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#36. Douglas County

– Rural area: 99.7% (812 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 814 square miles
— #11 largest county in state, #1,036 nationwide

– Population density: 16.4 people / square mile (13,306 residents)
— #25 lowest density county in state, #780 nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the most college graduates in Missouri

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Harrison County

– Rural area: 99.8% (721 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 723 square miles
— #24 largest county in state, #1,234 nationwide

– Population density: 11.8 people / square mile (8,491 residents)
— #12 lowest density county in state, #626 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Oregon County

– Rural area: 99.8% (788 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.2% (2 square miles)
– Total land area: 790 square miles
— #14 largest county in state, #1,090 nationwide

– Population density: 13.5 people / square mile (10,647 residents)
— #20 lowest density county in state, #687 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Ralls County

– Rural area: 99.8% (469 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.2% (1 square miles)
– Total land area: 470 square miles
— #91 largest county in state, #2,192 nationwide

– Population density: 21.8 people / square mile (10,234 residents)
— #41 lowest density county in state, #951 nationwide

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#32. McDonald County

– Rural area: 100.0% (539 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.1% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 539 square miles
— #71 largest county in state, #1,938 nationwide

– Population density: 42.2 people / square mile (22,782 residents)
— #72 lowest density county in state, #1,516 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Texas County

– Rural area: 100.0% (1,177 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 1,177 square miles
— #1 largest county in state, #519 nationwide

– Population density: 21.7 people / square mile (25,604 residents)
— #40 lowest density county in state, #949 nationwide

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Morgan County

– Rural area: 100.0% (598 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 598 square miles
— #55 largest county in state, #1,635 nationwide

– Population density: 33.9 people / square mile (20,271 residents)
— #64 lowest density county in state, #1,314 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Hickory County

– Rural area: 100.0% (399 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 399 square miles
— #110 largest county in state, #2,530 nationwide

– Population density: 23.6 people / square mile (9,404 residents)
— #44 lowest density county in state, #1,023 nationwide

Patrick Jennings // Shutterstock

#28. Osage County

– Rural area: 100.0% (604 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 604 square miles
— #54 largest county in state, #1,612 nationwide

– Population density: 22.5 people / square mile (13,615 residents)
— #42 lowest density county in state, #978 nationwide

Dean Sebourn // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Ripley County

– Rural area: 100.0% (630 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 630 square miles
— #46 largest county in state, #1,525 nationwide

– Population density: 21.6 people / square mile (13,567 residents)
— #38 lowest density county in state, #941 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Caldwell County

– Rural area: 100.0% (426 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 426 square miles
— #102 largest county in state, #2,380 nationwide

– Population density: 21.2 people / square mile (9,039 residents)
— #36 lowest density county in state, #933 nationwide

You may also like: States sending the most people to Missouri

Skye Marthaler, retouched by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Bollinger County

– Rural area: 100.0% (618 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 618 square miles
— #50 largest county in state, #1,564 nationwide

– Population density: 19.8 people / square mile (12,225 residents)
— #33 lowest density county in state, #888 nationwide

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#24. Lewis County

– Rural area: 100.0% (505 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 505 square miles
— #79 largest county in state, #2,055 nationwide

– Population density: 19.7 people / square mile (9,955 residents)
— #32 lowest density county in state, #883 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Wayne County

– Rural area: 100.0% (759 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 759 square miles
— #18 largest county in state, #1,151 nationwide

– Population density: 17.4 people / square mile (13,195 residents)
— #27 lowest density county in state, #810 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Maries County

– Rural area: 100.0% (527 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 527 square miles
— #74 largest county in state, #1,985 nationwide

– Population density: 16.7 people / square mile (8,803 residents)
— #26 lowest density county in state, #788 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Dade County

– Rural area: 100.0% (490 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 490 square miles
— #87 largest county in state, #2,126 nationwide

– Population density: 15.5 people / square mile (7,578 residents)
— #24 lowest density county in state, #751 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Schuyler County

– Rural area: 100.0% (307 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 307 square miles
— #113 largest county in state, #2,791 nationwide

– Population density: 14.8 people / square mile (4,555 residents)
— #23 lowest density county in state, #729 nationwide

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Daviess County

– Rural area: 100.0% (563 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 563 square miles
— #63 largest county in state, #1,835 nationwide

– Population density: 14.7 people / square mile (8,295 residents)
— #22 lowest density county in state, #727 nationwide

TommyBrison // Shutterstock

#18. St. Clair County

– Rural area: 100.0% (670 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 670 square miles
— #38 largest county in state, #1,403 nationwide

– Population density: 14.0 people / square mile (9,370 residents)
— #21 lowest density county in state, #709 nationwide

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Gentry County

– Rural area: 100.0% (491 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 491 square miles
— #86 largest county in state, #2,117 nationwide

– Population density: 13.5 people / square mile (6,616 residents)
— #19 lowest density county in state, #686 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Clark County

– Rural area: 100.0% (505 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 505 square miles
— #80 largest county in state, #2,056 nationwide

– Population density: 13.4 people / square mile (6,779 residents)
— #18 lowest density county in state, #684 nationwide

You may also like: Fastest-growing counties in Missouri

Onegentlemanofverona // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Monroe County

– Rural area: 100.0% (648 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 648 square miles
— #42 largest county in state, #1,458 nationwide

– Population density: 13.3 people / square mile (8,629 residents)
— #17 lowest density county in state, #683 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Ozark County

– Rural area: 100.0% (745 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 745 square miles
— #22 largest county in state, #1,183 nationwide

– Population density: 12.4 people / square mile (9,207 residents)
— #15 lowest density county in state, #645 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Carter County

– Rural area: 100.0% (507 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 507 square miles
— #78 largest county in state, #2,044 nationwide

– Population density: 12.1 people / square mile (6,147 residents)
— #14 lowest density county in state, #640 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Shelby County

– Rural area: 100.0% (501 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 501 square miles
— #82 largest county in state, #2,076 nationwide

– Population density: 12.0 people / square mile (6,013 residents)
— #13 lowest density county in state, #635 nationwide

Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Scotland County

– Rural area: 100.0% (437 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 437 square miles
— #98 largest county in state, #2,320 nationwide

– Population density: 11.2 people / square mile (4,902 residents)
— #11 lowest density county in state, #611 nationwide

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Chariton County

– Rural area: 100.0% (751 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 751 square miles
— #21 largest county in state, #1,170 nationwide

– Population density: 10.0 people / square mile (7,483 residents)
— #10 lowest density county in state, #575 nationwide

Charvex // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Sullivan County

– Rural area: 100.0% (648 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 648 square miles
— #41 largest county in state, #1,455 nationwide

– Population density: 9.6 people / square mile (6,247 residents)
— #9 lowest density county in state, #563 nationwide

Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Holt County

– Rural area: 100.0% (463 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 463 square miles
— #94 largest county in state, #2,220 nationwide

– Population density: 9.6 people / square mile (4,432 residents)
— #8 lowest density county in state, #561 nationwide

JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Atchison County

– Rural area: 100.0% (547 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 547 square miles
— #67 largest county in state, #1,905 nationwide

– Population density: 9.6 people / square mile (5,229 residents)
— #7 lowest density county in state, #557 nationwide


Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Putnam County

– Rural area: 100.0% (517 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 517 square miles
— #76 largest county in state, #2,014 nationwide

– Population density: 9.2 people / square mile (4,781 residents)
— #6 lowest density county in state, #541 nationwide

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christopher friese // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Shannon County

– Rural area: 100.0% (1,004 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 1,004 square miles
— #2 largest county in state, #674 nationwide

– Population density: 8.2 people / square mile (8,217 residents)
— #5 lowest density county in state, #503 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Mercer County

– Rural area: 100.0% (454 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 454 square miles
— #95 largest county in state, #2,255 nationwide

– Population density: 8.0 people / square mile (3,644 residents)
— #4 lowest density county in state, #494 nationwide

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#3. Knox County

– Rural area: 100.0% (504 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 504 square miles
— #81 largest county in state, #2,061 nationwide

– Population density: 7.8 people / square mile (3,947 residents)
— #3 lowest density county in state, #484 nationwide

Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Reynolds County

– Rural area: 100.0% (808 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 808 square miles
— #12 largest county in state, #1,047 nationwide

– Population density: 7.8 people / square mile (6,290 residents)
— #2 lowest density county in state, #482 nationwide

Original by Patrick Hull, modifications by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Worth County

– Rural area: 100.0% (267 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 267 square miles
— #114 largest county in state, #2,867 nationwide

– Population density: 7.6 people / square mile (2,027 residents)
— #1 lowest density county in state, #476 nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the most super commuters in Missouri

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