The Most (and Least) Valuable States

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1. New Jersey
> Value of land per acre:
$196,410
> Total value: $930 billion (5th highest)
> Total acres: 4.7 million (4th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 60.3% (the lowest)

New Jersey has the most valuable land in the country, valued at an estimated $196,410 per acre. The state as a whole is worth $930 billion, fifth most nationwide. Developed, urban land is far more valuable than rural, undeveloped areas, and it should come as no surprise that barely 60% of the state’s land mass is rural, the lowest proportion in the country. On a national level, about 97% of all land is rural. Population density also tends to correlate with higher land value, and New Jersey has the highest population density in the country at 1,196 people per square mile, compared to a national population density of 87.4 people per square mile.

2. Rhode Island
> Value of land per acre:
$133,730
> Total value: $90 billion (3rd lowest)
> Total acres: 0.7 million (the lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 61.3% (2nd lowest)

Like most of the states with more valuable land per acre, Rhode Island is not a large state. In fact, it is the smallest in the union. At just 673,000 acres, Rhode Island’s total land value is just $90 billion, nearly the lowest in the country. The per acre value, however, is $133,700, second only to New Jersey. The state is also second to New Jersey in the share of its total land mass that is urban, a factor that tends to be higher in places with more valuable land. About 39% of Rhode Island’s total land is urban, significantly higher than the 3% of the nation’s land that is considered urban.

3. Connecticut
> Value of land per acre:
$128,824
> Total value: $400 billion (18th highest)
> Total acres: 3.1 million (3rd lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 62.3% (4th lowest)

Connecticut is the third smallest state in the country, containing just over 3 million acres. Connecticut is also one of just four states where land is valued at over $100,000 per acre on average. By contrast, the estimated value of an average acre across the country is just over $12,000. The value of Connecticut’s land is reflected in the higher cost of a house in the state. The typical house is worth $267,200, compared to a national median home value of $181,200.

4. Massachusetts
> Value of land per acre:
$102,214
> Total value: $517 billion (13th highest)
> Total acres: 5.1 million (5th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 61.7% (3rd lowest)

Land in Massachusetts is worth $102,214 per acre on average. Agricultural land is less valuable on the whole than urban areas, and barely 10% of land in Massachusetts is farmland, whereas nearly half the contiguous U.S. is used for agricultural purposes. As in most states where a relatively small share of land is devoted to agriculture, more than one-quarter of Massachusetts’s acreage is developed — land that tends to be far more valuable than both agricultural and other undeveloped property.

5. Maryland
> Value of land per acre:
$75,429
> Total value: $470 billion (15th highest)
> Total acres: 6.2 million (8th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 79.4% (6th lowest)

Maryland’s land is worth $75,429 per acre on average, making the state the fifth most valuable in the country. Federal land tends to be valued less than private property, and less than 3% of the state’s land is owned by the federal government. By contrast, nearly 24% of the contiguous U.S. is owned by the federal government.