The Most (and Least) Valuable States

July 7, 2016 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Scenic Sunrise Landscape at Oconaluftee
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A recent study estimates that the combined value of all land in the contiguous United States is worth nearly $23 trillion. The most valuable state, according to the survey, is California, which accounted for 17% of the total value of the 48 bordering states. New Jersey, however, had the most valuable real estate relative to its size, estimated at $196,400 per acre, or 16 times the average value per acre across the contiguous U.S.

The study, authored by William Larson, senior economist at the Federal Housing Finance Agency and previously at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, estimated the value of different property types, including agricultural areas, federal land, and developed suburban and urban areas.

States with generally larger rural areas tended to have a lower value relative to their size, while more densely populated states that contain large urban centers had the highest estimated worth per acre. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the estimated value of land in each of 48 states.

Click here to see the most (and least) valuable states.

The type of land in a given area has a significant impact on its worth. Agricultural and other largely undeveloped areas are generally worth significantly less than cities and suburbs land. Developed land, or land where housing, roads, and other structures are located, is valued at an estimated $106,000 per acre, while undeveloped land was estimated at $6,500 per acre, and farmland at only $2,000 per acre.

Since developed property is more valuable, it is not surprising that most of the states with the highest per acre land values are predominantly urban, such as New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. These Northeastern states are smaller and have less rural acreage to bring the average value down. In fact, the six most valuable states were also among the 10 smallest states by landmass. In New Jersey, 39.7% of the area is considered urban, compared to a national urban share of just 3%.

Conversely, states with the lowest per acre valuations had far more agricultural land. In fact, in 12 out of the 24 states with the least valuable land, at least half of the land was dedicated to farming.
Historical events largely explain the federal government’s role in land ownership.

The Louisiana Purchase and the conclusion of the Mexican-American War left huge swaths of what is now the western part of the United States in the hands of the federal government. All 10 of the states with the largest proportions of federally-owned land are west of Kansas. Much of this land was never claimed during the homestead era, as it was far less fertile than other land that was claimed. Partly as a result, it remains federally owned. While less than 25% of all land in the lower 48 states is owned by the federal government, in Nevada, the third least valuable state by acre, 86.8% is federal.

As a result, western states with a lot of federal land tend to have lower average values per acre. In Nevada, for example, an estimated 86.8% of the state’s total acreage is owned by the federal government, the highest share in the country. The state ranked as the third least valuable in the contiguous U.S. on a per acre basis. More than 30% of land in nine of the 15 least valuable states was federally-owned as of 2009.

To identify the most (and least) valuable states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the estimated average values of each state on a per acre basis based on data from a working paper by William Larson published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in April 2015. To generate a comprehensive valuation of the 48 contiguous states for the first time, the study, “New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States,” employed a range of land value models to estimate land prices as of 2009. Larson calculated prices over geographical areas as small as 30 meters by 30 meters from satellite images to determine the total value of a state’s land. The study does not consider Alaska or Hawaii. Dr. Larson completed this research while working at the BEA. However, he now works for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Editor’s note: This piece is an update of an article published June 3, 2015. While the land valuation estimates remain unchanged, we considered additional components in our analysis, including population density, urban and rural land composition, and median occupied home values, all from the U.S. census bureau.

These are the most (and least) valuable states.

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.

6. Delaware
> Value of land per acre:
$57,692
> Total value: $72 billion (2nd lowest)
> Total acres: 1.2 million (2nd lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 79.1% (5th lowest)

The vast majority of states with more valuable property are older, having gained statehood early in the country’s history. These states tend to have very little undeveloped land, which is less expensive than developed property. In Delaware, the first state, 17.5% of land is considered developed, compared to 5.8% of national land that is developed. The entirety of Delaware is worth just $72 billion, the second smallest total value compared to the other states in the lower 48. On a per acre basis, however, the state is valued at $57,692 on average, the sixth highest in the country.

7. New York
> Value of land per acre:
$41,314
> Total value: $1.25 trillion (3rd highest)
> Total acres: 30.1 million (20th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 91.3% (11th lowest)

While the nation’s largest states tend to be worth less per acre, New York is quite large and very valuable per acre. The state’s more than 30 million acres are worth $41,314 each, on average. In total, the Empire State’s acreage is worth $1.25 trillion. Because of the large rural areas in the state, less than 10% of New York’s total area is considered developed. However, that developed property is so valuable it accounts for roughly two-thirds of the state’s total value.

8. California
> Value of land per acre:
$39,092
> Total value: $3.91 billion (the highest)
> Total acres: 99.9 million (2nd highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 94.7% (20th lowest)

Federal land is worth less on the whole than private property. Nearly 52% of California is federally owned, the fifth largest figure nationwide and an exceptionally large percentage compared to other high-value states. The state’s almost 100 million acres were worth an estimated $3.9 trillion, making the state the most valuable in the country. On a per acre basis, however, California is worth just over $39,000, the eighth most valuable in the country. The state’s valuable property is reflected in the cost of California real estate. The typical California house is worth $412,700, the most of any state except for Hawaii.

9. Ohio
> Value of land per acre:
$32,077
> Total value: $838 billion (8th highest)
> Total acres: 26.1 million (15th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 89.2% (8th lowest)

While more than half of Ohio’s land is used for agricultural purposes — which tends to be less valuable than other private land — the state’s land is still among the most valuable in the nation. As a whole, Ohio is worth $838 billion, the eighth most valuable compared to other states. And an Ohio acre is worth more than $32,000 on average, versus the national figure of just over $12,000.

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10. Pennsylvania
> Value of land per acre:
$31,923
> Total value: $914 billion (6th highest)
> Total acres: 28.6 million (18th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 89.5% (9th lowest)

One acre in Pennsylvania is worth $31,923 on average, the 10th most in the country. Federal land tends to be less desirable and less valuable. Just 3% of the state’s land is owned by the federal government, which accounts for just 1.3% of the state’s total value — a relatively low percentage even when compared to other high-value states. Areas with greater population density are worth more than sparsely populated rural areas, and Pennsylvania’s population density of 284 people per square mile is the ninth highest in the country and roughly three times the national population density.

11. Florida
> Value of land per acre:
$28,961
> Total value: $1.02 trillion (4th highest)
> Total acres: 35.3 million (24th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 86.2% (7th lowest)

The entire state of Florida is worth over $1 trillion, making the state the fourth most valuable in the nation. Nearly 15% of land in Florida is developed, one of the higher percentage compared to other states, and well above the 5.8% figure for the nation’s 48 coterminous states. As in most other states, Florida’s developed property accounts for a disproportionately high share of the state’s total value. The 14.8% of state acreage that is considered developed accounts for 65.8% of the state’s total land value.

12. Michigan
> Value of land per acre:
$23,765
> Total value: $865 billion (7th highest)
> Total acres: 36.4 million (21st highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 93.6% (19th lowest)

Less than 28% of land in Michigan is used for agriculture, a lower percentage than in most states, and well below the figure of 47% figure for the lower 48 states. It accounted for only 3.9% of the state’s total value, less than half the comparable national percentage. Higher total value per acre tends to be the result of expensive real estate, especially houses, in an area. However, the typical Michigan home is worth just $125,700, one of the lowest median home values in the country.

13. Illinois
> Value of land per acre:
$23,492
> Total value: $833 billion (9th highest)
> Total acres: 35.5 million (23rd highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 92.9% (15th lowest)

Just 3% of Illinois is owned by the federal government, and it accounted for just 2% of the state’s total value — both figures were among the lowest in the country. While the states with the highest estimated values tended to have lower percentages of agricultural land, this is not the case in Illinois. More than three-quarters of the state is agricultural, a higher proportion than all but six other states. Developed land still accounted for 58.8% of the state’s total value, however.

14. Virginia
> Value of land per acre:
$21,921
> Total value: $555 billion (11th highest)
> Total acres: 25.3 million (13th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 93.3% (18th lowest)

As a whole, Virginia is worth an estimated $555 billion, the 11th highest total estimated value in the nation. Federal property tends to be worth less than private property, and more than 15% of land in Virginia is federally-owned, higher than the majority of states. Still the average acre in Virginia is worth nearly $22,000, roughly twice the national figure.

15. New Hampshire
> Value of land per acre:
$19,840
> Total value: $114 billion (7th lowest)
> Total acres: 5.7 million (6th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 92.8% (14th lowest)

New Hampshire is one of the smallest states in the country, with just 5.7 million acres. The state is worth an estimated $114 billion — also one of the lower such figures nationwide. On a per acre basis, however, New Hampshire is valued at nearly $20,000, making the state the 15th most valuable in the country. Considering its relatively high value per acre, New Hampshire has an unusually high share of its population living in rural areas, at nearly 40%, roughly double the share of Americans living in rural areas in the contiguous United States. However, 92.8% of the state’s land is rural, which is the 14th lowest proportion in the country.

16. South Carolina
> Value of land per acre:
$17,610
> Total value: $339 billion (24th lowest)
> Total acres: 19.3 million (10th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 92.1% (13th lowest)

More than 9% of South Carolina land is developed. While this is one of the higher percentages nationwide, developed land accounted for just over 25% of the state’s overall value, a relatively small percentage. South Carolina is one of the smaller states in the country, with a total of 19.3 million acres.

17. Indiana
> Value of land per acre:
$16,903
> Total value: $387 billion (21st highest)
> Total acres: 22.9 million (12th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 93.0% (16th lowest)

Unlike most states where property is more valuable per acre than the national figure, Indiana had relatively large percentages of land classified as both developed and as farmland. Nearly 11% of the state is developed, and 64.5% is agricultural, each among the highest such figures nationwide.

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18. Washington
> Value of land per acre:
$16,752
> Total value: $716 billion (10th highest)
> Total acres: 42.7 million (19th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 96.4% (23rd lowest)

While only 6% of land in Washington is developed, this property accounted for more than half of the state’s total value of $716 billion, the 11th highest proportion in the contiguous U.S. Perhaps as a result, an acre of land in Washington is worth nearly $17,000 on average, over $4,000 more than the average value nationwide.

19. North Carolina
> Value of land per acre:
$16,230
> Total value: $506 billion (14th highest)
> Total acres: 31.2 million (21st lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 90.5% (10th lowest)

North Carolina’s total acreage is estimated to be worth just over $500 billion, which is 14th in the country. Per acre, land in the Tar Heel State is worth $16,200, ranking 19th in the continental U.S. Just over 10% of the state’s area is considered developed, compared to 5.8% of the lower 48 states. That developed property accounts for about 35% of the state’s total value.

20. Tennessee
> Value of land per acre:
$14,411
> Total value: $380 billion (22nd highest)
> Total acres: 26.4 million (16th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 93.0% (17th lowest)

An average acre of land is worth $14,400 in Tennessee, just higher than the $12,100 per acre in the lower 48 states. Like in other states, a large portion of Tennessee’s value came from its developed land, even though this accounted for less than 10% of the state’s land. Just 8.1% of Tennessee’s land is owned by the federal government, compared to the 23.6% of all land in the contiguous U.S. Federal land tends to be worth less, and the low share of government land in the state likely increases Tennessee’s overall land value.

21. Georgia
> Value of land per acre:
$14,242
> Total value: $528 billion (12th highest)
> Total acres: 37.1 million (20th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 91.7% (12th lowest)

Just 5.8% of all land in the lower 48 states is developed, but that area accounted for more than 50% of the total land value. Slightly less than 10% of the Georgia’s total land mass is developed, but it accounts for under 40% of the total land value of the state. The state’s total value of $528 billion is 12th overall, but per acre, Georgia ranked 21st.

22. Louisiana
> Value of land per acre:
$12,908
> Total value: $354 billion (23rd highest)
> Total acres: 27.4 million (17th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 95.4% (21st lowest)

Compared to the rest of the country, only a small percentage of Louisiana’s total property is owned by the federal government, at just 6.2%. By contrast, the U.S. government owned 23.6% of area in the lower 48 states. Federal land tends to be worth less, but the small percentage of federally-owned land in Louisiana accounts for a slightly higher 6.5% of the state’s total value.

23. Alabama
> Value of land per acre:
$12,356
> Total value: $400 billion (18th highest)
> Total acres: 32.4 million (22nd lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 95.6% (22nd lowest)

Across the contiguous U.S., just 5.8% of all land is considered developed, but that area accounted for more than half the total value of the nation. In Alabama, 7% of the total land mass is developed, and that accounts for just 27.9% of the state’s total value. The state’s land value of $400 billion is 18th overall, but per acre, Alabama ranks 23rd. Lower home values tend to occur in places with less valuable land. However, Alabama’s typical home value of $125,600 is the fifth lowest in the continental United States, while its property value per acre is just about average.

24. West Virginia
> Value of land per acre:
$10,537
> Total value: $162 billion (12th lowest)
> Total acres: 15.4 million (9th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 97.3% (21st highest)

West Virginia’s total acreage is estimated to be worth just over $160 billion, 12th lowest in the country. Per acre, the land is more valuable, however, ranking 24th at $10,500 per acre. Across the continental U.S., 5.8% of all land is developed, but that area accounts for more than half the total value of the nation. In West Virginia, 7% of the total land mass is developed, but that accounts for just 17.4% of the state’s total value.

25. Wisconsin
> Value of land per acre:
$9,924
> Total value: $344 billion (24th highest)
> Total acres: 34.7 million (24th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 96.5% (24th highest)

Just 6.3% of Wisconsin’s total acreage is owned by the federal government, versus 23.6% of the land in the continental U.S. Federal land tends to be less valuable than private land, and in the state, it accounted for just 2.6% of the state’s total valuation, less than a third of the value of the proportion owned by the U.S. government across the lower 48 states. In the continental U.S., farmland accounted for 47% of all land, but just 8% of the total value. In Wisconsin, farmland makes up 43.7% of the total area, but accounts for less than 15% of its value.

26. Minnesota
> Value of land per acre:
$8,191
> Total value: $416 billion (17th highest)
> Total acres: 50.8 million (13th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 97.9% (19th highest)

Minnesota is the 13th largest in the continental U.S. by landmass, but it ranks as only the 17th most valuable state. The state’s per acre value of $8,191 falls roughly middle of the road compared to other states. The state’s value per acre is likely reduced by the high share of Minnesota land devoted to agriculture. Farmland accounts for 53% of Minnesota’s total area compared to 47% of the entire country.

27. Texas
> Value of land per acre:
$7,542
> Total value: $1.27 trillion (2nd highest)
> Total acres: 167.9 million (the highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 96.7% (23rd highest)

Texas is the largest of the lower 48 states, spanning roughly 168 million acres. Due to its sheer size, it is the second most valuable state in the country behind California. However, an average acre in Texas is worth just $7,500 compared to a national average value per acre of $12,100. A high share of agricultural land likely contributes to the state’s low value per acre. While just 47% of land in the contiguous states is agricultural, nearly 75% of land in Texas is devoted to agriculture.

28. Vermont
> Value of land per acre:
$7,439
> Total value: $44 billion (the lowest)
> Total acres: 5.9 million (7th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.3% (14th highest)

In addition to being one of the smallest states by acreage in the country, the land in Vermont is worth only $44 billion, the lowest valuation of any state in the contiguous U.S. Among states reviewed, 5.8% of land is considered developed, accounting for more than 50% of their total value. In Vermont, however, roughly the same share of land is considered developed, but it only accounted for 16.3% of the state’s total value, one of the lowest contributions in the country.

29. Oklahoma
> Value of land per acre:
$7,364
> Total value: $323 billion (23rd lowest)
> Total acres: 43.9 million (17th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.1% (16th highest)

A large proportion of Oklahoma’s total acreage is made up of farmland. Nearly 80% of Oklahoma’s landmass is agricultural, which tends to be less valuable. In the lower 48 states, just 47% of all land is agricultural. That is the sixth highest figure in the continental U.S. That property made up only 13.6% of the state’s total land value, however, which is 13th-most among the lower 48 states.

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30. Missouri
> Value of land per acre:
$7,233
> Total value: $318 billion (22nd lowest)
> Total acres: 44.0 million (16th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 97.0% (22nd highest)

While just 47% of land in the lower 48 states is agricultural, 66% of land in Missouri is farmland, the 9th highest percentage of states reviewed. The value from agricultural land in the state is also much higher than elsewhere in the country. More than one-fifth of Missouri’s $318 billion valuation is attributed to agriculture, a significantly higher share than the 8% attributed to agricultural land in the lower 48 states.

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.

36. Maine
> Value of land per acre:
$6,142
> Total value: $122 billion (8th lowest)
> Total acres: 19.9 million (11th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.8% (11th highest)

As one of the more rural states in the country, Maine does not support a lot of agricultural activities. In fact, just 6.8% of the state’s land is farmland, the lowest percentage in the country. Still the highly rural population likely contributes to the state’s relatively low land valuation of $6,142 per acre, roughly half the value of the entire lower 48 states per acre. While less than 20% of the nation lives in rural areas, 61% of Maine residents do, the highest share in the nation.

37. Mississippi
> Value of land per acre:
$5,565
> Total value: $166 billion (13th lowest)
> Total acres: 29.8 million (19th lowest)
> Percent land mass rural: 97.6% (20th highest)

An average acre of land in Mississippi is worth an estimated $5,600. This is less than half an average acre across the contiguous U.S. States with less valuable land tend to have more federally-owned property. However, less than 9% of land in Mississippi is federally-owned, far less compared to the nearly 24% of the country held by the U.S. government.

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38. Utah
> Value of land per acre:
$4,664
> Total value: $247 billion (20th lowest)
> Total acres: 53.0 million (11th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.9% (9th highest)

Utah is one of a number of Western states with primarily undeveloped, federally-owned, underpopulated land that is valued relatively low compared to the rest of the country. The federal government owns 68.8% of the land in Utah, which is the second highest proportion among the contiguous 48 states after only Nevada. Barely 1% of the state’s land mass is considered urban, roughly a third of the comparable contiguous U.S. share.

39. Arizona
> Value of land per acre:
$4,328
> Total value: $315 billion (21st lowest)
> Total acres: 72.8 million (5th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.1% (17th highest)

With more than 72 million acres, Arizona is one of the largest states in the country. However, much of the land is undeveloped and unusable for agricultural purposes, leading to a valuation of just $315 billion, or $4,300 per acre, nearly one-third the value of an average acre in the lower 48 states.

40. Kansas
> Value of land per acre:
$4,220
> Total value: $220 billion (17th lowest)
> Total acres: 52.1 million (12th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 98.8% (12th highest)

Nearly 89% of land in Kansas is farmland, the fourth largest percentage in the nation. Agricultural land, which tends to be less valuable than urban, developed areas, accounted for more than 20% of the state’s overall estimated value of $220 million. Like all states with relatively low-valued land, Kansas is sparsely populated with just 34.9 residents per square mile, less than half the national population density.

41. Idaho
> Value of land per acre:
$3,435
> Total value: $182 billion (14th lowest)
> Total acres: 53.0 million (10th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.4% (5th highest)

A majority of Idaho land, 65%, is federally owned, the third highest percentage nationwide. The U.S. government’s land accounts for nearly half of Idaho’s overall value, the second highest such contribution. Like many other states with relatively low land valuation, less than 2% of Idaho has been developed.

42. Nebraska
> Value of land per acre:
$2,936
> Total value: $144 billion (9th lowest)
> Total acres: 49.1 million (14th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.3% (7th highest)

In no state is a larger share of land — 92.7% — comprised of farmland than Nebraska. This partly accounts for the state’s relatively low value, as developed land tends to be valued far more. An average acre in Nebraska is valued at less than $3,000.

43. North Dakota
> Value of land per acre:
$2,517
> Total value: $110 billion (6th lowest)
> Total acres: 43.7 million (18th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.7% (3rd highest)

Nearly 91% of land in North Dakota is used for agriculture — second only to Nebraska. Farmland accounts for more than a third of the state’s total value, the fourth largest such share. The land estimate does not fully account for North Dakota’s ongoing energy boom, and the state’s value is likely far higher.

44. Montana
> Value of land per acre:
$2,283
> Total value: $213 billion (16th lowest)
> Total acres: 93.3 million (3rd highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.8% (tied — the highest)

Like many states with less valuable land, Montana is a geographically large and sparsely populated state. Montana spans more than 93 million acres, one of the largest land masses in the country. Each acre is worth just $2,283 on average, however, the sixth lowest value among the lower 48 states. The state as a whole is worth just $213 billion, the 35th most valuable. More than 65% of Montana is classified as agricultural, the 10th largest percentage.

45. South Dakota
> Value of land per acre:
$2,135
> Total value: $103 billion (5th lowest)
> Total acres: 48.2 million (15th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.7% (4th highest)

More than 90% of South Dakota is agricultural in nature, the third highest percentage in the contiguous U.S. And land used for farming purposes accounted for 44.1% of South Dakota’s overall value, the second highest such contribution. By contrast, less than 3% of the state is developed property, which tends to be far more valuable than other types of land. South Dakota is worth an estimated $103 billion, the fifth lowest total value.

46. Nevada
> Value of land per acre:
$2,116
> Total value: $149 billion (10th lowest)
> Total acres: 70.4 million (6th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.3% (8th highest)

Nearly 87% of Nevada is owned by the U.S. government, by far the largest such percentage nationwide. While federally owned land still accounted for a minority of the state’s overall value — 44.6% — the share is still the third highest in the country. Many states with low land values had relatively large proportions of land dedicated to agricultural use. In Nevada, however, just 7.4% of land is farmland, the fourth lowest figure in the country.

47. New Mexico
> Value of land per acre:
$1,931
> Total value: $150 billion (11th lowest)
> Total acres: 77.7 million (4th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.3% (6th highest)

An acre in New Mexico is worth roughly $2,000 on average, less than every state except Wyoming. Like most states with the lowest estimated values, a relatively small percentage of New Mexico is developed, and a relatively high percentage is federally owned. Just 1.2% of land is developed, and 37% is owned by the U.S. government. More than 46% of the state’s land is agricultural, roughly in line with the national rate.

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48. Wyoming
> Value of land per acre:
$1,558
> Total value: $97 billion (4th lowest)
> Total acres: 62.3 million (8th highest)
> Percent land mass rural: 99.8% (tied — the highest)

An average acre in Wyoming is worth just $1,600, less than any other continental state. Like most low-value states, Wyoming is one of the largest states in the country. But Wyoming’s 62.3 million acres were worth a total of $97 billion, less than all but a handful of other states. More than half of Wyoming is federally owned, and government property accounted for the majority of Wyoming’s overall value — the only state where this is the case. Lower population density tends to correlate with lower land value, and Wyoming has the least dense population in the lower 48 states, with just 5.8 residents per square mile, compared to a national population density of 87.4 people per square mile.