Something has to be the smallest. Most of us, or at the very least those of united state in the 12MC audience indigenous the unified States, probably recognize that Rhode Island (map) claims this honor for the U.S. So specifically how tiny is the though? One hears generally of separation, personal, instance counties within the United claims as being “larger 보다 Rhode Island.” It’s definitely true. Yet is the a rare occurrence or is it something altogether more common?

Examining Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

Little Rhody makes up because that its diminutive dimension by having actually a much longer official name. Officially it’s “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. Part might take into consideration that a bit of a Napoleon facility although the reality is rather mundane. The name represents the closing of two separate predecessor colonies. So take heart the Rhode Island can have been also smaller than it is today.

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Rhode Island created after the banishment of roger Williams indigenous the Massachusetts Bay colony due to spiritual differences in 1636. Tucked right into a edge as that were, Rhode Island didn’t have actually the same avenues to gather or solidify territorial insurance claims further west. Climate it ended up being even an ext of one outlier together the new country formed and also expanded come the Pacific.

Rhode Island includes 1,214 square miles (3,144 square kilometers). Actually, I’m gift generous since that calculation also includes its ar waters. If one were to examine just dry land it would certainly cover only 1,045 square miles. However, because that the services of comparison, I want to offer Rhode Island the full advantage of the doubt. For this reason I determined to inflate its dimension to the biggest plausible number.

Comparing to Counties

From over there it was pretty straightforward to consult the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder. There ns downloaded square mileage and population numbers for each of the 3,142 individual counties and county-equivalents. Ns knew Rhode Island was small but ns didn’t realize simply how small it was until I calculation the results and also created a map. There room an astounding 504 counties in the U.S. That are larger than Rhode Island. That full would run to 622 counties if I thought about only Rhode Island’s dry land.


Rhode Island — consisting of its ar waters — is smaller than each of the counties marked in red. Practically every county west the the an excellent Plains is larger. There are others scattered about the eastern half of the nation too. That contains one in reality bordering Rhode Island itself: Worcester County, Massachusetts (map).

I’ve not calculated this as a percent of the all at once United says landmass. However, it’s safe to say it’s considerable. Eyeballing that I’d break up the bigger counties covering somewhere between a third to a half of the reduced 48 states. Litter in Alaska where just a tiny handful of boroughs are smaller than Rhode Island, and also I’ll bet it to represent at least half of all U.S. Acreage.

You deserve to open that photo within one more tab or home window if you’d favor to take it a closer look. I’ve shrunk it under to fit into the size limitations of this article. The underlying graphics record is considerably larger.

Alternate Rhode Islands

This acquired me thinking around the possible “Alternate Rhode Islands” out there. Surely, the preponderance of larger counties contain hundreds of empty acres v nary a soul living among them. It’s unfair to to compare Kenedy County, Texas and also its 416 residents (which we’ve questioned before) to Rhode Island’s population of 1,052,567, together an example. Let’s set those sparsely-settled counties aside.

I tho felt that there were probably a decent set of counties both bigger than Rhode Island and greater in population. A quick data type revealed a dozen instances. Every of these can easily end up being a independent state based top top Rhode Island criteria. In addition I’ve propose a potential funding city for each of these fictional states:

Potential StateDerived fromCapital City2010 Population
Los AngelesCaliforniaLos Angeles9,818,605
San DiegoCaliforniaSan Diego3,095,313
San BernardinoCaliforniaSan Bernardino2,035,210
ClarkNevadaLas Vegas1,951,269
Santa ClaraCaliforniaSan Jose1,781,642
BexarTexasSan Antonio1,714,773
Palm BeachFloridaWest Palm Beach1,320,134

Maybe ns should likewise note a pair of counties that are ” close to misses” with populations just listed below Rhode Island. Those consisted of Pima County, Arizona and also Fresno County, California.

Best Fits

Then I added a final dimension in an effort to identify which of these counties were many like Rhode Island in terms of population density. Rhode Island has about 867 human being per square mile. Several of the counties had significantly greater populace densities. Los Angeles and also Harris both had nearly triple the thickness of Rhode Island. Imagine the behemoth the a state either among those could come to be should castle ever split away.

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The ideal Rhode Island proxies room King and also San Diego. King is most likely the better example. The comes rather close to being of similar size and populace to Rhode Island. I’ll bear the in mind the next time I’m in Seattle. It could legitimately anchor another Rhode Island-like state.