Special Report

The Middle of Nowhere in Each State

With every inch of the nation mapped and a population that increases every year, getting away from it all is getting harder and harder in America. This is the country built on the rugged individualism of frontier folks such as legendary backwoodsman Daniel Boone, who went west in the early days of the republic seeking more “elbow room.” Where can Americans find elbow room these days?

To find the middle of nowhere in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed A global map of travel time to cities to assess inequalities in accessibility in 2015 published Jan. 10, 2018, in the scientific publication Nature. For each state we identified the location with the longest estimated travel time to the nearest city. Travel times take into account all forms of travel as well as the quality of transportation infrastructure.

The United States is the third-most populous country on Earth, with a population of almost 335 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population density of the U.S. today is more than 20 times what it was in 1790, when the first census was taken. In high-income nations such as the United States, 90% of the population lives within one hour of a city. While living near urban centers tends to come with social and economic benefits to residents, adventurous souls can still find some corners of America that remain remote. (Also see the best cities to move to.)

Among the most remote places in each state, there are five where it takes less than two hours to be in the middle of nowhere. Finding the most remote area is hardest in the eastern United States. Three of the smallest states — Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — have the shortest travel time to their most remote area from the nearest city. Connecticut’s travel duration — measured by foot, boat, car, or plane — is the shortest at 52 minutes. The farthest? That would be Amatignak Island, Aleutian Islands, in Alaska at 84 hours, 37 minutes. (And here are America’s fastest growing big cities.)

Click here to see the middle of nowhere in each state.

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