Most rural counties in Tennessee

Tennessee

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A surprising number of U.S. counties have 100% rural land – 702, in fact. Stacker compiled a list of the most rural counties in Tennessee 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.

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Monroe County

– Rural area: 98.2% (624 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.8% (11 square miles)
– Total land area: 636 square miles
— #6 largest county in state, #1,501 nationwide

– Population density: 72.5 people / square mile (46,064 residents)
— #48 lowest density county in state, #2,005 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#49. White County

– Rural area: 98.3% (370 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.7% (7 square miles)
– Total land area: 377 square miles
— #60 largest county in state, #2,613 nationwide

– Population density: 71.1 people / square mile (26,800 residents)
— #47 lowest density county in state, #1,993 nationwide

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Lincoln County

– Rural area: 98.3% (561 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.7% (10 square miles)
– Total land area: 570 square miles
— #20 largest county in state, #1,775 nationwide

– Population density: 59.5 people / square mile (33,924 residents)
— #41 lowest density county in state, #1,841 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Sequatchie County

– Rural area: 98.4% (261 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.7% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 266 square miles
— #81 largest county in state, #2,871 nationwide

– Population density: 55.7 people / square mile (14,816 residents)
— #34 lowest density county in state, #1,785 nationwide

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Chester County

– Rural area: 98.4% (281 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.6% (5 square miles)
– Total land area: 286 square miles
— #76 largest county in state, #2,830 nationwide

– Population density: 60.2 people / square mile (17,190 residents)
— #42 lowest density county in state, #1,849 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Weakley County

– Rural area: 98.5% (571 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.6% (9 square miles)
– Total land area: 580 square miles
— #17 largest county in state, #1,698 nationwide

– Population density: 57.7 people / square mile (33,510 residents)
— #39 lowest density county in state, #1,817 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Crockett County

– Rural area: 98.5% (261 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.5% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 266 square miles
— #83 largest county in state, #2,873 nationwide

– Population density: 54.2 people / square mile (14,399 residents)
— #32 lowest density county in state, #1,761 nationwide

Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Lawrence County

– Rural area: 98.5% (608 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.5% (9 square miles)
– Total land area: 617 square miles
— #9 largest county in state, #1,568 nationwide

– Population density: 70.3 people / square mile (43,390 residents)
— #46 lowest density county in state, #1,984 nationwide

Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Obion County

– Rural area: 98.6% (537 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.4% (8 square miles)
– Total land area: 545 square miles
— #26 largest county in state, #1,913 nationwide

– Population density: 55.7 people / square mile (30,365 residents)
— #35 lowest density county in state, #1,786 nationwide

Ballinindasierra // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Hardin County

– Rural area: 98.7% (570 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.3% (8 square miles)
– Total land area: 577 square miles
— #18 largest county in state, #1,711 nationwide

– Population density: 44.5 people / square mile (25,715 residents)
— #23 lowest density county in state, #1,565 nationwide

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Lewis County

– Rural area: 98.7% (278 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.3% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 282 square miles
— #77 largest county in state, #2,840 nationwide

– Population density: 42.6 people / square mile (12,027 residents)
— #22 lowest density county in state, #1,527 nationwide

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Macon County

– Rural area: 98.7% (303 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.3% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 307 square miles
— #72 largest county in state, #2,792 nationwide

– Population density: 77.6 people / square mile (23,842 residents)
— #52 lowest density county in state, #2,071 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Marion County

– Rural area: 98.8% (492 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.2% (6 square miles)
– Total land area: 498 square miles
— #39 largest county in state, #2,090 nationwide

– Population density: 57.3 people / square mile (28,538 residents)
— #37 lowest density county in state, #1,809 nationwide

Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Fayette County

– Rural area: 98.8% (696 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.2% (8 square miles)
– Total land area: 705 square miles
— #3 largest county in state, #1,313 nationwide

– Population density: 57.0 people / square mile (40,164 residents)
— #36 lowest density county in state, #1,802 nationwide

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Henderson County

– Rural area: 98.8% (514 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.2% (6 square miles)
– Total land area: 520 square miles
— #34 largest county in state, #2,003 nationwide

– Population density: 53.8 people / square mile (27,977 residents)
— #31 lowest density county in state, #1,754 nationwide

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#35. Haywood County

– Rural area: 98.9% (527 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
– Total land area: 533 square miles
— #29 largest county in state, #1,955 nationwide

– Population density: 33.1 people / square mile (17,623 residents)
— #8 lowest density county in state, #1,295 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Scott County

– Rural area: 98.9% (527 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.1% (6 square miles)
– Total land area: 532 square miles
— #30 largest county in state, #1,959 nationwide

– Population density: 41.3 people / square mile (21,969 residents)
— #21 lowest density county in state, #1,503 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#33. DeKalb County

– Rural area: 99.0% (301 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.1% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 304 square miles
— #73 largest county in state, #2,801 nationwide

– Population density: 65.2 people / square mile (19,847 residents)
— #45 lowest density county in state, #1,912 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Benton County

– Rural area: 99.0% (390 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.0% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 394 square miles
— #59 largest county in state, #2,553 nationwide

– Population density: 40.9 people / square mile (16,140 residents)
— #19 lowest density county in state, #1,493 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Johnson County

– Rural area: 99.0% (296 square miles)
– Urban area: 1.0% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 298 square miles
— #75 largest county in state, #2,808 nationwide

– Population density: 59.5 people / square mile (17,753 residents)
— #40 lowest density county in state, #1,840 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Smith County

– Rural area: 99.1% (311 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.9% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 314 square miles
— #70 largest county in state, #2,775 nationwide

– Population density: 62.8 people / square mile (19,740 residents)
— #44 lowest density county in state, #1,881 nationwide

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Giles County

– Rural area: 99.1% (606 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.9% (5 square miles)
– Total land area: 611 square miles
— #12 largest county in state, #1,584 nationwide

– Population density: 47.9 people / square mile (29,285 residents)
— #27 lowest density county in state, #1,653 nationwide

Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#28. McNairy County

– Rural area: 99.2% (558 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.8% (5 square miles)
– Total land area: 563 square miles
— #21 largest county in state, #1,836 nationwide

– Population density: 45.9 people / square mile (25,844 residents)
— #25 lowest density county in state, #1,604 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Overton County

– Rural area: 99.2% (430 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.8% (3 square miles)
– Total land area: 433 square miles
— #51 largest county in state, #2,342 nationwide

– Population density: 50.9 people / square mile (22,068 residents)
— #29 lowest density county in state, #1,708 nationwide

RealElectrical // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Hardeman County

– Rural area: 99.3% (663 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.8% (5 square miles)
– Total land area: 668 square miles
— #5 largest county in state, #1,407 nationwide

– Population density: 38.1 people / square mile (25,443 residents)
— #15 lowest density county in state, #1,427 nationwide

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Christina Blust // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Humphreys County

– Rural area: 99.3% (527 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.7% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 531 square miles
— #31 largest county in state, #1,972 nationwide

– Population density: 34.7 people / square mile (18,435 residents)
— #9 lowest density county in state, #1,332 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Carroll County

– Rural area: 99.4% (596 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.6% (4 square miles)
– Total land area: 599 square miles
— #14 largest county in state, #1,627 nationwide

– Population density: 46.5 people / square mile (27,886 residents)
— #26 lowest density county in state, #1,619 nationwide

Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Cannon County

– Rural area: 99.5% (264 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.6% (1 square miles)
– Total land area: 266 square miles
— #82 largest county in state, #2,872 nationwide

– Population density: 53.4 people / square mile (14,178 residents)
— #30 lowest density county in state, #1,745 nationwide

Daniel Hartwig from San Mateo, CA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Moore County

– Rural area: 100.0% (129 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 129 square miles
— #94 largest county in state, #3,073 nationwide

– Population density: 49.4 people / square mile (6,378 residents)
— #28 lowest density county in state, #1,679 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Morgan County

– Rural area: 100.0% (522 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 522 square miles
— #33 largest county in state, #1,998 nationwide

– Population density: 41.3 people / square mile (21,545 residents)
— #20 lowest density county in state, #1,502 nationwide

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Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Trousdale County

– Rural area: 100.0% (114 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 114 square miles
— #95 largest county in state, #3,078 nationwide

– Population density: 89.6 people / square mile (10,231 residents)
— #60 lowest density county in state, #2,176 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Union County

– Rural area: 100.0% (224 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 224 square miles
— #86 largest county in state, #2,961 nationwide

– Population density: 87.2 people / square mile (19,488 residents)
— #58 lowest density county in state, #2,154 nationwide

AppalachianCentrist // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Grainger County

– Rural area: 100.0% (281 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 281 square miles
— #78 largest county in state, #2,845 nationwide

– Population density: 82.3 people / square mile (23,101 residents)
— #55 lowest density county in state, #2,118 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Meigs County

– Rural area: 100.0% (195 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 195 square miles
— #89 largest county in state, #3,004 nationwide

– Population density: 62.0 people / square mile (12,104 residents)
— #43 lowest density county in state, #1,869 nationwide

Flickr user chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Lake County

– Rural area: 100.0% (166 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 166 square miles
— #91 largest county in state, #3,043 nationwide

– Population density: 44.6 people / square mile (7,401 residents)
— #24 lowest density county in state, #1,568 nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Houston County

– Rural area: 100.0% (200 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 200 square miles
— #88 largest county in state, #2,993 nationwide

– Population density: 40.8 people / square mile (8,164 residents)
— #18 lowest density county in state, #1,488 nationwide

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#14. Hickman County

– Rural area: 100.0% (612 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 612 square miles
— #11 largest county in state, #1,580 nationwide

– Population density: 40.5 people / square mile (24,813 residents)
— #17 lowest density county in state, #1,482 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Polk County

– Rural area: 100.0% (435 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 435 square miles
— #48 largest county in state, #2,331 nationwide

– Population density: 38.7 people / square mile (16,814 residents)
— #16 lowest density county in state, #1,442 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Jackson County

– Rural area: 100.0% (308 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 308 square miles
— #71 largest county in state, #2,790 nationwide

– Population density: 37.9 people / square mile (11,682 residents)
— #14 lowest density county in state, #1,421 nationwide

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#11. Grundy County

– Rural area: 100.0% (361 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 361 square miles
— #63 largest county in state, #2,650 nationwide

– Population density: 37.0 people / square mile (13,344 residents)
— #13 lowest density county in state, #1,396 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Fentress County

– Rural area: 100.0% (499 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 499 square miles
— #38 largest county in state, #2,089 nationwide

– Population density: 36.5 people / square mile (18,213 residents)
— #12 lowest density county in state, #1,380 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Bledsoe County

– Rural area: 100.0% (406 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 406 square miles
— #57 largest county in state, #2,491 nationwide

– Population density: 36.5 people / square mile (14,836 residents)
— #11 lowest density county in state, #1,379 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Decatur County

– Rural area: 100.0% (334 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 334 square miles
— #66 largest county in state, #2,728 nationwide

– Population density: 35.0 people / square mile (11,686 residents)
— #10 lowest density county in state, #1,340 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Clay County

– Rural area: 100.0% (237 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 237 square miles
— #84 largest county in state, #2,934 nationwide

– Population density: 32.4 people / square mile (7,654 residents)
— #7 lowest density county in state, #1,278 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Pickett County

– Rural area: 100.0% (163 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 163 square miles
— #92 largest county in state, #3,045 nationwide

– Population density: 31.2 people / square mile (5,079 residents)
— #6 lowest density county in state, #1,241 nationwide

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Hancock County

– Rural area: 100.0% (222 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 222 square miles
— #87 largest county in state, #2,964 nationwide

– Population density: 29.6 people / square mile (6,587 residents)
— #5 lowest density county in state, #1,199 nationwide

Geobeedude // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Stewart County

– Rural area: 100.0% (459 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 459 square miles
— #46 largest county in state, #2,229 nationwide

– Population density: 29.2 people / square mile (13,427 residents)
— #4 lowest density county in state, #1,188 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Wayne County

– Rural area: 100.0% (734 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 734 square miles
— #2 largest county in state, #1,205 nationwide

– Population density: 22.7 people / square mile (16,693 residents)
— #3 lowest density county in state, #991 nationwide

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Van Buren County

– Rural area: 100.0% (273 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 273 square miles
— #80 largest county in state, #2,858 nationwide

– Population density: 21.1 people / square mile (5,760 residents)
— #2 lowest density county in state, #929 nationwide

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#1. Perry County

– Rural area: 100.0% (415 square miles)
– Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)
– Total land area: 415 square miles
— #55 largest county in state, #2,439 nationwide

– Population density: 19.2 people / square mile (7,962 residents)
— #1 lowest density county in state, #860 nationwide

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