…you might want to move to Loving County, Texas.

From the New York Times:

How empty is Loving County?

So empty that when Sheriff Billy Burt Hopper ran for office in 2004, he and his opponent attended each other’s campaign barbecues. So empty that it cannot sustain two political parties: Republicans and Democrats all call themselves Democrats and vote in a single primary.

So empty that it has trouble seating 12 jurors who are not related to a defendant. (Not that there is much crime, although — or maybe because — Sheriff Hopper patrols in a pickup with two shotguns and an AK-47.) So empty that the jail was moved to Pecos in Reeves County, 26 miles away, in 1994.

In fact, this is the emptiest county seat of the emptiest county in the country.

At last count (by Sheriff Hopper toting it up in his head), 16 people make Mentone their home and 55 others are spread throughout the rest of Loving County’s 645 square miles of parched, salty West Texas grassland and rattlesnakes — about one person for every nine square miles.

As the article goes on to point out, Loving County doesn’t need people. It has “360 producing gas and oil wells and 18 more being drilled, creating an enviable problem for the county — forcing it to keep lowering its tax rate.”

A plague on the courthouse in the county seat of Mentone notes: “Mentone has no water system (water is hauled in) nor does it have a bank, doctor, hospital, newspaper, lawyer, civic club or cemetery.”

But, as anyone who has been to West Texas knows, the barren earth out there bears little resemblance to the beauty of the mountains of Southwestern Virginia.