The United States has a total land area of nearly 2.3 billion acres. Major uses in 1997 were forest-use land, 642 million acres (28 percent); grassland pasture and range, 580 million (26 percent); cropland, 455 million (20 percent); miscellaneous other uses, 300 million (13 percent); and special uses, 286 million acres (13 percent). Cropland acreage decreased from 1992 to 1997, but by only 1 percent (5 million acres). Grassland pasture and range decreased 2 percent (11 million acres). Special uses (primarily parks and wildlife areas) increased by 5 million acres, continuing an almost uninterrupted upward trend since 1945. Miscellaneous other uses increased 17 million acres, mostly due to expanding urban area. Rural residential area (a new category) was estimated to be 73 million acres in 1997. Urban and rural residential area, together, accounted for about 46 percent of miscellaneous other uses. Private land ownership was 60 percent of the total land area; Federal ownership was 29 percent; and State, other public, and Indian trust lands, together, accounted for the remaining 11 percent of the land area.


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