Here is an indication of how the population of the United States is spread out over the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, and Hawaii. There are 3,070 counties in the U.S. yet only 44 of them have a population of more than 1 million.
Of those 44 counties with populations exceeding 1 million, nine are in California, the most populous state. The biggest county in the country by population is Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles, the nation’s second-biggest city. (These are the 50 largest cities in America.)
To determine America’s 50 largest counties, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, ranking counties by population. For each county we also collected land and total area in square miles, also from the Census Bureau, and calculated population density.
Though New York state is the fourth most populous, it has seven counties on the list — six of them with a population greater than 1 million. And it is probably not surprising that four of them make up most of New York City — Queens, Kings, the Bronx, and New York counties. These four New York counties also have the four highest population densities of all counties.
Texas and Florida, the second and third most populous states, have six counties on the list each.
Population size in these counties is also driven by economic opportunity, and many of the counties on this list are also among the most affluent in their respective states, such as Arizona’s Maricopa County, Santa Clara County in California, North Carolina’s Wake County, and Honolulu in Hawaii. In Fairfax County in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland, both the population and household income have grown because of their proximity to Washington, D.C. (This is every state’s best county to live in.)
Not surprisingly, many of these counties are home to some of the nation’s largest cities. Fulton County in Georgia is home to Atlanta. The city of Dallas is in Dallas County in Texas. And you’ll find Salt Lake City in Salt County in Utah.
Some counties dominate their state in population. Two out of every three Nevada residents live in Clark County — home to Las Vegas — with a population of 2,182,004.