A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land-702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Rhode Island 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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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Bristol County

– Rural area: 11.8% (3 square miles)
– Urban area: 88.3% (21 square miles)
– Total land area: 24 square miles
— #5 largest county in state, #3,114 nationwide

– Population density: 2,013.1 people / square mile (48,645 residents)
— #5 lowest density county in state, #3,076 nationwide

Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Newport County

– Rural area: 55.5% (57 square miles)
– Urban area: 44.5% (46 square miles)
– Total land area: 102 square miles
— #4 largest county in state, #3,086 nationwide

– Population density: 808.0 people / square mile (82,731 residents)
— #2 lowest density county in state, #2,966 nationwide

Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Providence County

– Rural area: 57.0% (233 square miles)
– Urban area: 43.0% (176 square miles)
– Total land area: 410 square miles
— #1 largest county in state, #2,466 nationwide

– Population density: 1,553.5 people / square mile (636,161 residents)
— #4 lowest density county in state, #3,048 nationwide

Rhode Island Attorney General // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Kent County

– Rural area: 57.2% (96 square miles)
– Urban area: 42.8% (72 square miles)
– Total land area: 169 square miles
— #3 largest county in state, #3,041 nationwide

– Population density: 973.9 people / square mile (164,122 residents)
— #3 lowest density county in state, #2,991 nationwide

Marcbela (Marc N. Belanger) // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Washington County

– Rural area: 74.0% (244 square miles)
– Urban area: 26.0% (86 square miles)
– Total land area: 329 square miles
— #2 largest county in state, #2,739 nationwide

– Population density: 383.1 people / square mile (126,139 residents)
— #1 lowest density county in state, #2,808 nationwide

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This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

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Stacker

This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Founded in 2017, Stacker combines data analysis with rich editorial context, drawing on authoritative sources and subject matter experts to drive storytelling.