The Least Populated States in America
  • Trip Planning
  • Tips

The Least Populated States in America

Getaway Staff

Perhaps you're living in a city and long to get away from the hustle and bustle of people around you, or you're curious to know where the least populated parts of the country might be. There are states in America which have fewer than 5 residents per square mile living there - and there are 7 states which have fewer than 20 residents per square mile. Why might people choose to live in these locations? For starters, these states are some of the most scenic and picturesque in America, and many showcases some of the most stunning natural wonders.


01 The Last Frontier

Alaska urbanglimpses / Getty Images

Boasting 1.3 people per square mile, Alaska is by far the least densely populated state in America. While in the 1890s, the gold rush saw a huge influx of immigrants racing to Alaska in the hope of making a huge amount of money, this led to some areas becoming far more crowded than the state average. In fact, today over half the current population lives in the Anchorage area. The rest of the state is deeply uninhabitable, with ice and snow making it virtually impossible for urban developments to grow there.  


02 The Cowboy State

Wyoming franckreporter / Getty Images

With its vast plans, it's not hard to see why Wyoming is known as The Cowboy State. Wyoming has an average of around 6 people per square mile, which is in part due to the Rockies. The presence of the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park means that by nature's design and national protection, much of the state cannot be inhabited by people as it is either inhospitable, preserved by the state, or both.


03 Big Sky Country

Montana Art Wager / Getty Images

With an average of 7 people per square mile, Montana is also home to the Rocky Mountains, which mark huge parts of the state uninhabitable, particularly for the creation of urban developments. However, Montana has a particularly diverse natural terrain which encompasses part of Yellowstone National Park, the Great Plains, and to the north the preserve of Glacier National Park which feeds into Canada.


04 The Mount Rushmore State

South Dakota stevegeer / Getty Images

In many ways, the landscapes of the states dictate whether or not it's possible for urban developments to grow there. Just like Wyoming and Montana, South Dakota is home to the Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park. It is also home to Mount Rushmore, all of which contribute to the average population density of 11 people per square mile.


05 Peacegarden State

North Dakota Solange_Z / Getty Images

Like its sibling state of South Dakota, North Dakota has an average of 11 residents per square mile. The population density here is predominantly in Fargo or Minot. The stunning stretch of the Badlands covers a large portion of the western part of the state, and the Great Plains dominates the rest of the state, hence its resistance to human influence.


06 Land of Enchantment

New Mexico ivanastar / Getty Images

Away from the glaciers and mountains of the northern part of the country, New Mexico offers a completely different, and totally distinct landscape. With the white gypsum sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument and the mountains of Sangre de Cristo, New Mexico is another example of how the geographical features of a state can limit it to a population of only 17 people per square mile.


07 The Gem State

Idaho Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

Famous for hiking and skiing, Idaho has an average of 21 people per square mile, proving that people are a little less hardy than the state vegetable: the potato. Idaho is famous for its vast landscapes, which include protected wilderness and wildlife reserves, as well as many outdoor activity areas. The Boise River, which halves the state capital of Boise, is also a popular destination for rafting and fishing.


08 Cornhusker State

Nebraska threespeedjones / Getty Images

Once called "The Great American Desert," Nebraska boasts a population per square mile of 20. The state has more miles of river than any other state in the country, and most of its trade has centered around farming and lumber. By far the largest city in the state is Omaha, which has a population of around 700, 000.


09 The Silver State

Nevada uschools / Getty Images

While Las Vegas might not be somewhere you could consider sparsely populated, the rest of Nevada is a desert state. In fact, most of the state is taken over by the Mojave Desert, which is not particularly hospitable for habitation. This means that in spite of being home to Sin City, Nevada has a population of 27 people per square mile.


10 The Sunflower State

kansas gacooksey / Getty Images

With ten designated parks that enjoy protected status, as well as protected memorials, Kansas is a state which has found that huge areas of it are uninhabitable. Add to this the fact that the major industry in the area is farming, with soybeans, corn, and wheat; the major trade; it's no wonder that Kansas only has an average of 35.6 people per square mile.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.