Florida's Most Rural Counties

L. Cane

Some data indicates that Americans are beginning to express a preference for living outside of cities and in suburban or rural spaces. In a recent survey, only 15% of respondents indicated they wanted to live in a city. And in a 2018 Gallup poll, Americans expressed a preference for rural living.

There's arguably something nostalgic about a slower pace of life, fewer crowds, and wide open spaces. And the United States has around 700 counties that have 100% rural land. (Florida has a few of these too.)

Determining the Most Rural Counties in Florida: According to Florida Health, Florida had 30 out of 67 counties that were defined as rural in the 2010 Census.

The website Stacker wanted to know which of Florida's counties were the most rural, so it used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 5-year population estimates to find out.

(Note that the Census Bureau defines rural land as land that isn't in an urban area with 2,500 or more people. More specifically, an urban area is defined as a densely settled block with at least 2,500 people - at least 1,500 of whom must be residents of non-institutional buildings.The Census considers areas with 50,000 as urbanized, while areas with between 2,500 and 50,000 people are considered urban clusters.)

The data suggested that many of Florida's counties are still somewhat rural. Even counties that made the bottom of Stacker's Florida list arguably had a moderate level of rural area. This makes sense because according to the Rural Health Information Hub, Florida had an estimated population of 21,781,128 people in 2021, with 719,493 people living in rural areas.

The list indicates that many of the most rural counties are in north and central areas of Florida. Here is the list, from the least to the most rural:

#50. Leon County

- Rural area: 80.8% (539 square miles)

- Urban area: 19.2% (128 square miles)

- Total land area: 667 square miles

#49. Clay County

- Rural area: 82.1% (496 square miles)

- Urban area: 17.9% (108 square miles)

- Total land area: 604 square miles

#48. Citrus County

- Rural area: 82.1% (478 square miles)

- Urban area: 17.9% (104 square miles)

- Total land area: 582 square miles

#47. Polk County

- Rural area: 82.2% (1,477 square miles)

- Urban area: 17.9% (321 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,798 square miles

#46. Charlotte County

- Rural area: 82.7% (563 square miles)

- Urban area: 17.3% (118 square miles)

- Total land area: 680 square miles

#45. Lake County

- Rural area: 82.9% (777 square miles)

- Urban area: 17.2% (161 square miles)

- Total land area: 938 square miles

#44. Indian River County

- Rural area: 83.3% (419 square miles)

- Urban area: 16.7% (84 square miles)

- Total land area: 503 square miles

#43. St. Johns County

- Rural area: 84.2% (505 square miles)

- Urban area: 15.9% (95 square miles)

- Total land area: 601 square miles

#42. Martin County

- Rural area: 86.1% (468 square miles)

- Urban area: 13.9% (75 square miles)

- Total land area: 543 square miles

#41. Bay County

- Rural area: 87.1% (661 square miles)

- Urban area: 12.9% (98 square miles)

- Total land area: 758 square miles

#40. Marion County

- Rural area: 89.2% (1,413 square miles)

- Urban area: 10.9% (172 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,585 square miles

#39. Flagler County

- Rural area: 89.2% (433 square miles)

- Urban area: 10.8% (53 square miles)

- Total land area: 485 square miles

#38. Alachua County

- Rural area: 89.4% (782 square miles)

- Urban area: 10.7% (93 square miles)

- Total land area: 875 square miles

#37. Osceola County

- Rural area: 89.5% (1,187 square miles)

- Urban area: 10.6% (140 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,327 square miles

#36. Okaloosa County

- Rural area: 90.2% (839 square miles)

- Urban area: 9.8% (91 square miles)

- Total land area: 930 square miles

#35. Santa Rosa County

- Rural area: 90.4% (915 square miles)

- Urban area: 9.6% (97 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,012 square miles

#34. Collier County

- Rural area: 91.1% (1,820 square miles)

- Urban area: 8.9% (178 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,998 square miles

#33. Sumter County

- Rural area: 93.6% (512 square miles)

- Urban area: 6.4% (35 square miles)

- Total land area: 547 square miles

#32. Highlands County

- Rural area: 93.6% (952 square miles)

- Urban area: 6.4% (65 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,017 square miles

#31. Nassau County

- Rural area: 93.7% (608 square miles)

- Urban area: 6.3% (41 square miles)

- Total land area: 649 square miles

#30. Putnam County

- Rural area: 94.7% (689 square miles)

- Urban area: 5.3% (38 square miles)

- Total land area: 728 square miles

#29. Monroe County

- Rural area: 96.2% (946 square miles)

- Urban area: 3.8% (38 square miles)

- Total land area: 983 square miles

#28. Okeechobee County

- Rural area: 96.8% (744 square miles)

- Urban area: 3.2% (25 square miles)

- Total land area: 769 square miles

#27. Columbia County

- Rural area: 96.9% (773 square miles)

- Urban area: 3.1% (25 square miles)

- Total land area: 798 square miles

#26. Gadsden County

- Rural area: 97.5% (503 square miles)

- Urban area: 2.5% (13 square miles)

- Total land area: 516 square miles

#25. Wakulla County

- Rural area: 97.5% (591 square miles)

- Urban area: 2.5% (15 square miles)

- Total land area: 606 square miles

#24. Walton County

- Rural area: 97.6% (1,013 square miles)

- Urban area: 2.4% (25 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,038 square miles

#23. Bradford County

- Rural area: 97.9% (288 square miles)

- Urban area: 2.1% (6 square miles)

- Total land area: 294 square miles

#22. Union County

- Rural area: 98.0% (239 square miles)

- Urban area: 2.0% (5 square miles)

- Total land area: 244 square miles

#21. DeSoto County

- Rural area: 98.2% (625 square miles)

- Urban area: 1.8% (12 square miles)

- Total land area: 637 square miles

#20. Baker County

- Rural area: 98.4% (576 square miles)

- Urban area: 1.7% (10 square miles)

- Total land area: 585 square miles

#19. Hardee County

- Rural area: 98.4% (628 square miles)

- Urban area: 1.6% (10 square miles)

- Total land area: 638 square miles

#18. Hendry County

- Rural area: 98.7% (1,138 square miles)

- Urban area: 1.3% (15 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,153 square miles

#17. Jackson County

- Rural area: 99.1% (909 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.9% (9 square miles)

- Total land area: 918 square miles

#16. Suwannee County

- Rural area: 99.2% (683 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.8% (6 square miles)

- Total land area: 689 square miles

#15. Holmes County

- Rural area: 99.3% (475 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.8% (4 square miles)

- Total land area: 479 square miles

#14. Calhoun County

- Rural area: 99.3% (563 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.7% (4 square miles)

- Total land area: 567 square miles

#13. Taylor County

- Rural area: 99.3% (1,036 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.7% (7 square miles)

- Total land area: 1,043 square miles

#12. Washington County

- Rural area: 99.4% (579 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.6% (4 square miles)

- Total land area: 583 square miles

#11. Gilchrist County

- Rural area: 99.5% (348 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.6% (2 square miles)

- Total land area: 350 square miles

#10. Franklin County

- Rural area: 99.5% (532 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)

- Total land area: 535 square miles

#9. Gulf County

- Rural area: 99.5% (561 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)

- Total land area: 564 square miles

#8. Dixie County

- Rural area: 99.5% (702 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.5% (3 square miles)

- Total land area: 705 square miles

#7. Hamilton County

- Rural area: 99.6% (512 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.4% (2 square miles)

- Total land area: 514 square miles

#6. Glades County

- Rural area: 99.7% (803 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.3% (3 square miles)

- Total land area: 806 square miles

#5. Madison County

- Rural area: 99.7% (694 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.3% (2 square miles)

#4. Levy County

- Rural area: 99.7% (1,115 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.3% (3 square miles)

#3. Jefferson County

- Rural area: 100.0% (598 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)

- Total land area: 598 square miles

#2. Lafayette County

- Rural area: 100.0% (543 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)

- Total land area: 543 square miles

#1. Liberty County

- Rural area: 100.0% (836 square miles)

- Urban area: 0.0% (0 square miles)

- Total land area: 836 square miles

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