27 US counties with wide open spaces if you want to escape crowded cities

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Hoonah, Alaska, had a population density of 0.33 people per square mile in 2019. Dougall_Photography/Getty Images
  • Not everyone likes to live in close quarters to others, and some people have started to change their mind about living in big cities as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to a recent survey by the Harris Poll, nearly 4 in 10 US city residents have thought about moving to a less crowded place.
  • We used data from the Census Bureau to calculate the population per square mile in US counties to find the least densely populated areas of the country.
  • Many of the 27 least densely populated counties are located in Alaska.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you don’t want to live in a busy city or in close proximity to your neighbours, these counties might be a good fit for you.

An April survey conducted by the Harris Poll and reported on by Axios found 39% of city residents have considered moving to less populated areas after the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A recent study by Moody’s Analytics also found that population density may be one of the factors for a city recovering from the economic impact from the pandemic, where less densely populated cities that also have a large number of high-quality jobs may bounce back more quickly than other regions.

To find out the best counties for people who want to live away from others, we looked at the counties that have the smallest number of residents per square mile, based on land area data and 2019 county population estimates from the US Census Bureau.

Around half of the the 27 counties with the lowest population densities are located in Alaska, with Yukon-Konkuk Census Area at the top of the list with a population density of 0.04 persons per square mile in 2019.

Some other locations with low population densities in the US include several counties in Southern or Midwestern states, including Catron County, New Mexico, and Loving County, Texas.

Here are the 27 counties with the lowest population densities in the US:


27. Eddy, North Dakota, had a population of 2,287 and a population density of 0.55 people per square mile in 2019.

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26. Graham, Kansas, had a population of 2,482 and a population density of 0.54 people per square mile in 2019.

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24 (tie). Powder River, Montana, had a population of 1,682 and a population density of 0.51 people per square mile in 2019.

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24 (tie). Catron, New Mexico, had a population of 3,527 and a population density of 0.51 people per square mile in 2019.

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22 (tie). Kusilvak, Alaska, had a population of 8,314 and a population density of 0.49 people per square mile in 2019.

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22 (tie). Eureka, Nevada, had a population of 2,029 and a population density of 0.49 people per square mile in 2019.

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21. Aleutians East Borough, Alaska, had a population of 3,337 and a population density of 0.48 people per square mile in 2019.

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20. Bethel, Alaska, had a population of 18,386 and a population density of 0.45 people per square mile in 2019.

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19. Nome, Alaska, had a population of 10,004 and a population density of 0.44 people per square mile in 2019.

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18. Garfield, Montana, had a population of 1,258 and a population density of 0.43 people per square mile in 2019.

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17. Hoonah, Alaska, had a population of 2,148 and a population density of 0.33 people per square mile in 2019.

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16. King, Texas, had a population of 272 and a population density of 0.30 people per square mile in 2019.

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14 (tie). Petroleum, Montana, had a population of 487 and a population density of 0.29 people per square mile in 2019.

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14 (tie). Harding, New Mexico, had a population of 625 and a population density of 0.29 people per square mile in 2019.

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12 (tie). Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, had a population of 6,893 and a population density of 0.28 people per square mile in 2019.

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12 (tie). Kenedy, Texas, had a population of 404 and a population density of 0.28 people per square mile in 2019.

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10 (tie). Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, had a population of 9,202 and a population density of 0.27 people per square mile in 2019.

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10 (tie). Dillingham Census Area, Alaska, had a population of 4,916 and a population density of 0.27 people per square mile in 2019.

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9. Loving, Texas, had a population of 169 and a population density of 0.25 people per square mile in 2019.

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8. Esmeralda, Nevada, had a population of 873 and a population density of 0.24 people per square mile in 2019.

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7. Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, had a population of 7,621 and a population density of 0.21 people per square mile in 2019.

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6. Blaine, Nebraska, had a population of 465 and a population density of 0.18 people per square mile in 2019.

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5. Denali Borough, Alaska, had a population of 2,097 and a population density of 0.17 people per square mile in 2019.

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4. North Slope Borough, Alaska, had a population of 9,832 and a population density of 0.11 people per square mile in 2019.

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3. Yakutat, Alaska, had a population of 579 and a population density of 0.08 people per square mile in 2019.

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2. Lake and Peninsula Borough, Alaska, had a population of 1,592 and a population density of 0.07 people per square mile in 2019.

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1. Yukon-Koyukuk, Alaska, had a population of 5,230 and a population density of 0.04 people per square mile in 2019.

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