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America's Loneliest Counties
Stories and Stats from The Least Populated Most Remote Rural Counties in the USSee the full list Updated April 2014
Second least populated county in America
Loving County Texas
County Seat: Mentone
For decades the least populated county in America was Loving County, Texas. The reign ended when population swelled from 78 to 95 in 2013 according to the latest census bureau estimates, pushing the county to second place in our list of least populated counties in America.
Even today there is no grocery store to serve the growing population, or bank, or hospital. Not even a cemetery. You won't find any lawyers, Libertarians or foreign born immigrants in Loving County, Texas. Residents say that's just the way they like it.
In 2004, The Texas Lawyer labeled Loving County the Land Without Lawyers.
"Well, goodness," Loving County Sheriff Billy Hopper explained, "if you've got to have rattlesnakes or lawyers, which one would you have?"
Sheriff Hopper patrols the 673 square miles of Loving County in a pickup truck with two shotguns and an AK-47.
The nearest sizable city is Pecos, 20 miles to the south, with about 9,500 people. and even they go to Odessa for big shopping trips.
But Loving County residents like things just the way they are.
"When I was little, I couldn't wait to leave," said Beverly Hanson, Loving County Clerk. Then, she said, "I went to see the bright lights" — she became an apartment manager in Dallas — married and divorced and happily returned home. "I knew I was safe here," she said.
In 2005 Sheriff Hopper foiled a takeover attempt by a radical faction of the Libertarian party by calling on the Texas Rangers. The radical Libertarian group had sworn to "free" Loving County by buying property and moving in voters.
Don Creager, the Loving County Judge for 28 years told the associated press, "The rules that apply a lot of places don't apply here,"
"We just live a different lifestyle. We like it the way it is," Creager said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the population of Loving
County was estimated to be 67 in the year 2000. By 2005 there
were 61 residents. By July, 2006 there were only 60 people who
still called Loving County, Texas home.
|The population of Loving County, Texas
increased by 13 in 2013 bringing the total to 95 people
living in 50 housing units spread across 669 square miles.
The US Census Bureau reports none of the county's residents are foreign immigrants who have settled in one of the most remote places in America.
People who live in Loving County have an annual income of $33315 which is $7506 more than the statewide average for Texas. The average per capita income nationwide is $28051. Loving County ranks number 12 for highest income in sparsely populated counties.
Homes are cheap here with the median value of a home being $83600 compared to $181400 nationwide. 60% of housing units in Loving County are occupied by their owners.