Most Remote States in the U.S.

America's Least Populated States


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America's Least Populated States


For those seeking to truly get away from it all, it's not necessary to travel to an exotic, deserted island halfway around the world. There are states throughout this country that have fewer than 60 residents per square mile. And some have far fewer than that. What's more, many of the states with this particular claim to fame are among the most scenic destinations in America, offering wide-open expanses, stunning mountain ranges, and glaciers.

Anchorage, Alaska


Approximate population density: About 1 person per square mile
Area: 663,267 square miles
Population: 739,795 (mid-2017 estimate)
Famous for its mountains, forests, abundant wildlife, and charming, tiny frontier towns, Alaska is the biggest state and also the least populated, thanks in large part to vast sections of the state being covered in ice and snow. Most of the population is centered around metropolitan Anchorage, making it easy to experience some quality alone time when visiting this destination.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming


Approximate population density: 6 people per square mile
Area: 97,814 square miles
Population: 579,315
Wyoming is easily one of the most beautiful states in the nation, thanks to its vast plains, the Rocky Mountains, and legendary Yellowstone National Park, a national treasure in its own right. The low population density is due in large part to the fact that much of the state is either covered in mountains or designated as nationally protected, and as a result cannot be inhabited by people.

Glacier National Park in Montana


Approximate population density: 7 people per square mile
Area: 147,042 square miles
Population: 1,050,493
Yet another one of the country's most scenic and photogenic states, Montana is also home to the Rocky Mountains. Its diverse terrain also includes the Great Plains, a portion of Yellowstone National Park, and the massive Glacier National Park, a preserve that stretches to Canada.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota


Approximate population density: 11 people per square mile
Area: 77,117 square miles
Population: 869,666
Expansive open spaces are a key theme among the states winning the prize for being least populated, and South Dakota is another state fitting that description. Known for its rolling prairies and the Black Hills National Forest, and Badlands National Park, South Dakota is also home to Mount Rushmore (and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally).

North Dakota


Approximate population density: 11 people per square mile
Area: 70,700 square miles
Population: 755,393
Like its neighbor to the south, North Dakota is also home to a mere 11 residents per square mile. The state is dominated by the Great Plains. Its most famous city, Fargo, is known for showcasing Native American and modern art at its Plains Art Museum. The city of Minot, meanwhile, is a place to explore the region's history tied to Scandinavian immigrants. The stunning and strange hills and formations of the Badlands in the western part of the state are another North Dakota highlight.

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico


Approximate population density: 17 people per square mile
Area: 121,589 square miles
Population: 2,088,070
One of the most intriguing and visually stunning states in the southwestern United States, New Mexico is also one of the most sparsely populated. But what it lacks in population, New Mexico makes up for in beauty. Its diverse offerings include the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the vibrant and artsy mountain town of Taos, and the historic capital of Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture. Also not to miss here, White Sands National Monument, a striking landscape of rare white gypsum sand dunes.

Sun Valley, Idaho


Approximate population density: 21 people per square mile
Area: 83,570 square miles
Population: 1,716,943
Compared to Alaska, with its one person per square mile, Idaho might seem downright crowded. But Idaho is still a place that offers vast, peaceful landscapes including expansive protected wilderness and outdoor recreation areas. Sun Valley, Idaho is famed for its hiking and resort ski areas. Boise, the state's capital, is bisected by the Boise River, offering visitors opportunities to go rafting and fishing.

Omaha, Nebraska


Approximate population density: 25 people per square mile
Area: 77,354 square miles
Population: 1,920,076
Bordered by South Dakota and Iowa, Nebraska, like its neighbors, is not known for overcrowding. Among the most active places in the state is the city of Lincoln, the capital and a bustling university town. Omaha, meanwhile, is the location of the Durham Museum, noted for showcasing the state's pioneering history.

Mojave Desert in Nevada


Approximate population density: 27 people per square mile
Area: 110,561 square miles
Population: 2,998,039
It may be hard to believe that the same state that's home to Las Vegas is also one of the country's least populated places. But it's true. Beyond the lights, glitz, and fast-paced action of Sin City, which attracts millions of tourists each year, Nevada is made up of significant expanses of desert. A large portion of the state is dominated by the Mojave Desert, a place that's not exactly hospitable to development, but is certainly very striking. Lake Tahoe, a freshwater lake, is another popular tourist attraction here, known for its ski resorts and beaches.

Wichita, Kansas


Approximate population density: 36 people per square mile
Area: 82,277 square miles
Population: 2,913,123
A true heartland state, Kansas is another place dominated by the Great Plains and wheat fields. One of the top attractions in Kansas is the Museum of World Treasures. Located in Wichita, (the state's largest city) the museum showcases everything from dinosaur history to Elvis. Wichita's Old Cowtown Museum, meanwhile, is focused on life in the late 1800s and brings the city's past alive through educational programs and daily activities. The Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City provides another glimpse of the Old West, with interactive exhibits tracing the area's history back to Native Americans who once thrived here.

Arches National Park in Utah
Michael Overstreet/istockphoto

11. UTAH

Approximate population density: 38 people per square mile
Area: 84,899 square miles
Population: 3,101,833
Utah is home to some of the country's most stunning national parks, among them Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Arches National Park. While the state may only have 38 residents per square mile, that number surely swells with all the visitors who flock to Utah to visit these national treasures. Aside from the state's unforgettable landscape, Utah is also known for its capital, Salt Lake City, which is the headquarters of the Mormon Church and the location of the church's striking temple.

Portland, Oregon


Approximate population density: 43 people per square mile
Area: 98,381 square miles
Population: 4,142,776
With about 43 people per square mile, Oregon is certainly a long way from where this list started, but it's still among the least populated states in the country. This richly picturesque coastal state, however, is a charmer, with its forests, mountains, farms, and beaches, not to mention the artsy, hip, and culture-filled city of Portland. The largest city in the state, Portland is known for its plethora of farm-to-table restaurants and microbreweries. Also not to miss here, awe-inspiring Crater Lake National Park, created 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption led to the collapse of a volcano.

Consider a Park-Specific Annual Pass


Approximate population density: 43 people per square mile
Area: 35,385 square miles
Population: 1,335,907
New England charm at its finest is on display in Maine, a state with a rich maritime history and a stunning coastline dotted by charming beach communities (such as Ogunquit and Old Orchard) known for lighthouses and roadside lobster and clam shacks. The state is also home to the breathtaking Acadia National Park, a striking and remote 47,000-acre recreation area known for its rocky beaches. With all of these attractions, the state is still home to only about 43 people per square mile.

Denver, Colorado


Approximate population density: 54 people per square mile
Area: 104,094 square miles
Population: 5,607,154
The Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde National Park, and the glitzy ski town of Aspen (which attracts hordes of celebrities and jet-setters) are just some of the highlights in Colorado, a state that only claims 54 people per square mile. Denver, the state capital, also known as the Mile High City, is a metropolis that dates back to the Old West era. The city's Larimer Square is its oldest block and still includes buildings from the 19th century. The Denver Art Museum is another notable attraction featuring a collection of indigenous artworks.


15. IOWA

Approximate population density: 56 people per square mile
Area: 56,272 square miles
Population: 3,145,711
Iowa can hardly be described as congested, but it is the most populated state on this list. Located between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, the state was once primarily known for its agricultural economy (think corn and dairy products). But more recently Iowa has transitioned to such industries as advanced manufacturing, financial services, and information technology. Top sights here include the Des Moines Art Center, known for its contemporary collection and the Herbert Hoover Library in Iowa City.