The Most (and Least) Valuable States

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31. Kentucky
> Value of land per acre:
$7,209
> Total value: $183 billion (15th lowest)
> Total acres: 25.4 million (14th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 96.4% (24th lowest)

More than 55% of Kentucky’s 25.4 million acres is farmland, slightly more than the 47% of the agricultural land in the lower 48 states. Agricultural land accounted for nearly 21.3% of the state’s overall value, the fifth highest share among states reviewed. However, the state is still valued at just $183 billion, 15th lowest in the continental U.S.

32. Arkansas
> Value of land per acre:
$6,739
> Total value: $224 billion (18th lowest)
> Total acres: 33.2 million (23rd lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 97.9% (18th highest)

As with many states in the middle of the country, a large share of land in Arkansas is agricultural. As of 2009, 41.6% of land in the state is designated for agricultural purposes, and it contributed 15.5% to Arkansas’ total state valuation of $224 billion. The average state acre is worth just $6,739, the 32nd highest in the contiguous United States. Real estate prices can reflect the overall value of land in a state. Arkansas’ median home value of $112,500 is the third lowest in the country.

33. Iowa
> Value of land per acre:
$6,590
> Total value: $235 billion (19th lowest)
> Total acres: 35.7 million (22nd highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.3% (15th highest)

An average acre of land in Iowa is worth roughly $6,600, almost half the comparable figure in the lower 48 states. A low acreage valuation is likely due to the large share of Iowa’s land devoted to agriculture. More than 86% of the state’s land is classified as agricultural, the fifth highest share. Agricultural land accounted for more than half of Iowa’s total value.

34. Oregon
> Value of land per acre:
$6,503
> Total value: $400 billion (18th highest)
> Total acres: 61.5 million (9th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.9% (10th highest)

Nearly 55% of land in Oregon is owned by the federal government, the fourth highest percentage in the country. That share of land accounted for 28.9% of Oregon’s total value, also one of the highest among states reviewed. However, an average acre of land in Oregon is valued at just $6,500, approximately half the value of an average acre in the contiguous U.S. The majority of states with relatively low-valued land per acre tend to be larger, more rural states. Oregon is the ninth largest state in the contiguous U.S. by area, and 98.85% of the state’s total acreage is rural, the 10th highest proportion in the country.

35. Colorado
> Value of land per acre:
$6,462
> Total value: $429 billion (16th highest)
> Total acres: 66.4 million (7th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.5% (13th highest)

Like many states in the Western U.S., Colorado is less developed, and much more of its land is owned by the federal government, both factors which tend to result in lower land valuation. As little as 2.8% of Colorado’s land is developed, roughly half the 5.8% proportion in lower 48 states. Additionally, nearly 40% of the state’s 66.4 million acres are owned by the federal government, the eighth highest share in the lower 48 states.