How Many Acres Are in the United States?

Written by Dayva Segal
Updated: March 28, 2023
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The United States is the third largest country by land area in the world, after Russia and China, in addition to being the third largest country population-wise. The United States consists of the following:

  • 50 states
  • 326 Native American reservations
  • 1 federal district
  • 5 unincorporated territories
  • Nine minor outlying islands

All of these segments of the US make up a large land area!

What is the Exact Acreage of the United States?

United States topographic relief map
The United States’ acreage is 2.43 billion acres.


There are a few ways that people talk about the acreage of the United States of America.

The Acreage of the Contiguous US

The contiguous United States consists of 48 states and the District of Columbia. The two excluded states are Hawai’i and Alaska. The contiguous US does not include all the unincorporated territories and outlying islands.

The contiguous US has a land area of 1,893,801,241.60 acres. However, if we include all the bodies of water within the contiguous United States, the area is actually 1,996,726,201.60 acres.

The Acreage of the Continental US

The continental United States is almost the same as the contiguous US, but it includes the state of Alaska. As the name suggests, it includes all parts of the United States that are on the continent of North America.

The continental United States has a land area of 2,259,849,881.6 acres. When all bodies of water are included, the acreage is actually 2,421,217,721.6.

The Acreage of the Entire US

When all states, territories, and outlying islands are included, the entire United States land area is 2,260,419,200 acres. When you include all bodies of water in the United States, the country’s area is 2,429,914,880 acres.

Who Owns All This Land?

National Park Service sign on wall with snow
The National Park Service has more than 400 park units.

© Lewis

The federal government owns about 28% of the land in the United States or 640 million acres. Some of this land has been used for National Parks and National Monuments. Others are set aside for logging or wildlife protection and management. The departments that manage the land owned by the government include:

After the federal government, the largest landowners are private citizens.

The Emmerson family owns 2.4 million acres of land in California, Oregon, and Washington. They run a lumber company, and much of the land is used for this purpose. They are the number one private landowner in the United States.

John Malone and The Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation own 2.2 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Their goal is land conservation so people can continue enjoying their area’s land.

Again, the Reed family owns 2.1 million acres in California, Oregon, and Washington. Similar to the Emmersons, they run a large logging and lumber company

Well-known entrepreneur and TV network executive Ted Turner owns 2 million acres in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and South Dakota. His lands are used for hunting, fishing, farming, and tourism.

How Is All This Land Used?

Mother buffalo (bison bison) is nursing its baby. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
A good portion of the USA’s land is for livestock.

©Filip Fuxa/

The American folk song Home on the Range describes wide open places where buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. Although there are many more people in the US than when that song was written, and many places are much more developed, a lot of the US is wide open land used for agricultural purposes.

The number one use of land in the US is for feeding livestock. A whopping 41% of land in the US is used either for grazing livestock or to grow crops for livestock feed.

The second largest use of the huge amount of land in the US is forestland. Much of these lands are unprotected, but some are part of National, State, County, and City Parks. Companies own 14% of forestlands in the United States.

The third largest land use in the United States is for growing crops. Nearly 1/5th of the land in the US is used for this purpose.

Urban areas only take up 2% of the USA’s acreage, though over 80% of the country’s population live in these areas.

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United States topographic relief map
The United States acreage is 2.43 billion acres.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer who has been working in the field of content creation and digital marketing for more than seven years. My favorite topics to write about include health, animals, fitness, and nutrition, though as a professional content provider and ghostwriter, I can easily write about pretty much anything! I love all animals and have been some form of vegetarian or vegan for over 10 years. My favorite animals are cats, dogs, and chickens, especially my own cat, Tula.

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