WA-List » County-Sized

County-Sized

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Geography & Geology

Washington is roughly the size of 660 million tennis courts, or 32 million football fields, but it’s only one-tenth the area of Alaska.  You can cram 54 Rhode Islands into the Evergreen State and still have room left over for almost 15 Westfield Southcenter Malls.

We had always planned to include a big-to-little county ranking on WA-List, but were in was no rush because the basic facts are readily available elsewhere.  But once we set our minds to it, we decided to create our list threaded with some comparative geography since it’s difficult to visualize thousands of square miles anyway.

When we found a state or country that was roughly the same size as any of our counties, we made note of it.  We even managed to make comparisons with Yellowstone, cities, lakes, islands, athletic fields, and a few moons!

We also invented a peculiar unit of area: the DC.  The nation’s capital is “the other Washington,” right?  It’s also quite small — only 61.05 square miles.  That’s slightly larger than Lake Chelan.  We decided to use the size of the District of Columbia as a unit with which to measure all of the counties in our Washington.  You’d need ten Washington DCs, for instance, to match the square mileage of one Clark County.  (Cynical thought: If we didn’t use DC as a measure of area, it would only be a matter of time before someone used it as a measure of incompetence.)

COUNTIES IN WASHINGTON STATE SORTED BY AREA (SQUARE MILES)

County Land area
(square miles)
# of DCs Comparisons
1. Okanogan 5,267.98 86.3 Washington’s largest county is smaller than Hawaii but larger than Connecticut.  About 7/10ths the size of Lake Ontario — the smallest of the Great Lakes.  Larger than all but one (Brewster) of Texas’ 254 counties. San Bernardino County, California — which is the largest county in the contiguous United States — is 3.8 times larger than Okanogan.
2. Yakima 4,295.40 70.4 Larger than French Polynesia; larger than the big island of Hawaii; larger than Puerto Rico.
3. Chelan 2,920.53 47.8 Smaller than Yellowstone National Park; about the size of Samoa.
4. Grant 2,679.51 43.9 Larger than Luxembourg, a country in Europe; about 2000 times the size of Central Park in New York.
5. Stevens 2,477.77 40.6
6. Lewis 2,402.80 39.4
7. Lincoln 2,310.49 37.8 Approximately 2.4 million Lincoln Memorials can fit within Lincoln County.
8. Kittitas 2,297.27 37.6
9. Ferry 2,203.16 36.1 About the size of Comoros, a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean.
10. Whitman 2,159.09 35.4 Slightly smaller than Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province.
11. King 2,115.57 34.7 Slightly larger than 21 million tennis courts.
12. Whatcom 2,106.86 34.5
13. Snohomish 2,087.27 34.2 Larger than Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Slightly larger than 1 million football fields.
14. Adams 1,924.98 31.5 Roughly the size of Delaware.  That means one third of Washington’s counties are larger than the first state in the Union.
15. Grays Harbor 1,902.03 31.2 About the size of the Virgin Islands.
16. Klickitat 1,871.31 30.7
17. Douglas 1,819.26 29.8
18. Jefferson 1,803.70 29.5 The remaining grounds of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia, could fit within Jefferson County 689 times over.
19. Spokane 1,763.79 28.9 Exactly the size of Spokane County. (Ha! Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.)
20. Clallam 1,738.33 28.5
21. Skagit 1,731.20 28.4
22. Benton 1,700.38 27.9 About the size of the Great Salt Lake, Utah.
23. Pierce 1,669.51 27.3 About the size of 600,000 soccer fields.
24. Skamania 1,655.68 27.1
25. Pend Orielle 1,399.99 22.9 Almost exactly the size of Long Island, New York.
26. Walla Walla 1,270.13 20.8 Slightly smaller than the King Ranch in Texas. Yes, we said “ranch” as in a cattle ranch and farm.
27. Franklin 1,242.17 20.3
28. Cowlitz 1,140.13 18.7 Larger than Rhode Island.  Yes, that means 28 separate counties in Washington — 72% of them — are larger than one of the states.
29. Mason 959.42 15.7 About the size of Sao Tome and Principe.
30. Pacific 932.66 15.3 About the same size as Litchfield (Connecticut’s largest county).
31. Columbia 868.63 14.2 Slightly larger than the city of Tokyo; slightly smaller than Jacksonville, Florida
32. Thurston 721.96 11.8 Larger than Micronesia; about the size of Maui, Hawaii; twice the size of Mt Rainier National Park.
33. Garfield 710.69 11.6 Larger than Singapore; smaller than the city of Butte, Montana.
34. Asotin 636.21 10.4 Roughly the size of the city of London.
35. Clark 629.00 10.3 About the size of the city of Houston, Texas; larger than Saint Lucia; larger than the island of Oahu, Hawaii; larger than the surface area of Phobos, Mars’s largest moon.
36. Kitsap 394.94 6.5 Smaller than the city of Los Angeles; smaller than Oregon’s smallest county (Multnomah) and Idaho’s smallest county (Payette); About the same size of Rhode Island’s largest county (Providence); slightly larger than Mt Rainier National Park.
37. Wahkiakum 263.38 4.3 Smaller than New York City; about the size of the Cayman Islands.
38. Island 208.45 3.4 Slightly larger than American Samoa.  About the size of 100,890 football fields.
39. San Juan 173.92 2.8 Twice the size of the city of Seattle, three times the size of Lake Chelan; about the size of Aruba, and larger than several other countries.  It would take 30.3 San Juans to fill Okanogan County, and 382.1 to fill Washington State. On the other hand, it would take 14.5 copies of the smallest US county (Kalawao County, Hawaii) to fill one San Juan County.  San Juan is also slightly smaller than the surface area of Mars’ moon Deimos — and much more scenic.
WASHINGTON 66,455.52 1,088.5 As countries go, Washington is smaller than Ireland and larger than Sri Lanka.  As states go, it’s smaller than South Dakota but larger than North Dakota.  It’s also about twice the size of Lake Superior.
In athletic terms, Washington is as about the size of 23.9 million soccer fields, 32.2 million football fields, 137.6 million Olympics-sized swimming pools, or 659.6 million tennis courts. You could pack about 2.8 trillion basketballs side by side within the state.

SOURCES:  Land area statistics for counties and countries vary from source to source.  We chose to rely on the US Census Quick Facts figures for 2010.  These numbers are what the Census divides into population statistics to derive density data.  The other locations mentioned in the Comparisons column were drawn from the US Census (New York City and Washington, DC), the National Park Service (Yellowstone and Mount Rainier National Parks),  the CIA World Factbook (countries), and NASA Solar System Exploration (Mars’ moons surface areas).  We estimated 359 soccer fields, 484 football fields, 2,070 Olympics-sized swimming pools, or 9,926 tennis courts per square mile.

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