Number of counties by state research summary. The number of counties in the United States has changed dramatically over the last 250+ years. The addition of new states brought new counties in the past, and the boundaries of counties continue to morph over time.
We used data from the most recent American Community Survey by the US Census to determine the number of counties in each state. Below, we analyze the number of counties in each state in the United States as of 2023.
The state with the most counties is Texas with 254 counties.
The state with the fewest counties is Delaware with 3 counties.
The average state in the United States has 62 counties.
The longest county name in the United States is Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area which is 33 characters long.
The most common county name in the United States is Washington County with 31 instances.
Number Of Counties By State In The United States
Every state in the United States is divided into counties or equivalent entities designed to provide a localized government structure. This division helps manage local affairs and law enforcement effectively, and each county often has distinct attributes that mirror regional variations. For instance, Texas stands out partly due to its considerable size and diversity, from its coastal areas to its arid deserts.
Texas, which leads the pack with 254 counties, was quite methodical in its county creation, considering size and population to infrastructure needs during its early state formation period. We will also look at Georgia, with its 159 counties, as it is a prime example of how political, economic, and social factors intertwine to shape its county map.
10 States With The Most Counties
First, we focus on the states that stand out for their abundance of counties.
- Texas – 254 Counties
- Georgia – 159 Counties
- Virginia – 133 Counties
- Kentucky – 120 Counties
- Missouri – 115 Counties
- Kansas – 105 Counties
- Illinois – 102 Counties
- North Carolina – 100 Counties
- Iowa – 99 Counties
- Tennessee – 95 Counties
10 States With The Least Counties
Next, we look at the ten states with the fewest number of counties.
Rank Of States By The Number Of Counties
|Rank||State||# of Counties|
Methodology: How We Identified The States With The Most Counties
The analysis was conducted using data extracted from the most recent American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau. To determine the number of counties in each state, relevant data was extracted from the ACS dataset.
States were ranked based on the calculated number of counties. The states with the highest and lowest number of counties were identified as the focus of this analysis.
We also had some fun with the county names along the way.
If you want a state with more counties than you can remember, check out Texas. If you want to know precisely what county you are in at all times, Delaware has the fewest counties.
And if you want to have the longest county on your address, then Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area is where you should look to relocate to.