Special Report

These People Own the Most Land in America

Spanning over 3.5 million square miles, the United States is the third largest country in the world by landmass, trailing only China and Russia. While over a quarter of all land in the United States is owned by the federal government — here is a look at how much land the government owns in every state — vast swaths of the country are owned by just a handful of individuals and families. 

Using data from The Land Report magazine’s 2018 Land Report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 50 largest private landholders in the United States. Estimates are based on information from published reports, online databases, tax records, and information provided by various landowners, and include only rural land holdings.

All told, the 50 individuals, families, and heirs on this list own over 31 million acres — or about 1.4% of the country’s total landmass. For reference, 1 square mile is equal to 640 acres. This ranking is current as of the end of 2018. 

The vast majority of the land held by the individuals and families on this list is located in states west of the Mississippi River. The most common exceptions to this rule are parcels located in Maine and Florida. While this list only includes privately held land, nearly all of it serves some commercial purpose — from farming and ranching to logging and renewable energy production. 

Not only do the private land holdings on this list often generate income for their owners, but also real estate itself is a valuable commodity. Not surprisingly, many of the people on this list rank among the wealthiest Americans. Here is a look at the richest person in every state.

Click here to see who owns the most land in America