15 Towns with a Population of 15 (Or Less)

Does your town feel too congested? Wish you had more alone time? Like having the road, air, land, and post office all to yourself? You could buy a private island for around $100,000, but then you’d have to rely on submarine cables for power. Or, you could head to one of the not-so-bustling metropolises around the globe that feature occupations so slight a family moving in could possibly double the population. Check out 15 areas that fewer than 15 people call home.

1. MONOWI, NE (POP: 1)

Before automation cut farming jobs, the small Nebraskan hamlet of Monowi was home to roughly 300 residents. That was slowly curbed to a couple: the Eilers, who had lived there since they were children. When Elsie Eiler’s husband, Rudy, passed away in 2004, she became the town’s sole occupant. Eiler, 82, runs the bar, the Monowi Tavern, and acts as the village’s sole librarian in a building dedicated to her late husband. Every year, Eiler collects taxes from herself to keep the area’s four street lights on.


An Old West relic tucked in Tonto National Forest, the tiny town of Tortilla Flat whose center of business is the Superstition Saloon and Restaurant, owned and operated by the town’s population of six. A biker contingent runs up neighboring Old Highway 88 and briefly raises the populace to 500 or so every year, and the town also has a post office, should any of them get the urge to send a postcard.

3. PICHER, OK (POP: 10)

When the Environmental Protection Agency declares your town a biohazard, you're probably not going to be left with much of a city council. Picher was originally at a hearty 20,000 residents before toxic sludge from heavy metal mining contaminated the area in the early 1980s. While federal grants funding continued the clean-up work, most of Picher’s locals took home buy-outs; those that didn’t were hit by a tornado in 2008 that injured 150 and killed eight. Roughly 10 have stayed behind, including a pharmacist who didn’t think the government offer was that great and doesn’t mind sourcing water from tested wells.


South of Buenos Aires, the 1500 residents of the spa town Villa Epecuén felt protected from rising waters by a manmade flood wall. But in 1985, the wall collapsed and the nearby salt lake virtually submerged the town, drowning it in 33 feet of water. It took nearly 30 years for the water to recede, revealing the town’s decrepit buildings. One former occupant, Pablo Novak, decided to inhabit the ruins, moving into an abandoned house to tend to cattle. As of 2015, Novak was still there, running into the occasional tourist with questions about his experiences in the Argentinian Atlantis.


KiwiRail employee Barrie Drummond was dispatched to Cass in 1987 to oversee a section of rail line connecting nearby Christchurch to Greymouth. While he initially felt he'd be too isolated in the zero-population town, locals from nearby made him feel welcome. The rent was cheap, traffic was non-existent, and a KFC was still within driving distance; in his spare time, he built a mini-golf course and a bowling green. As of 2014, Drummond was still the town’s sole resident and organizer of Cass Bash, a music festival that draws crowds from neighboring areas.

6. BUFORD, WY (POP: 1)

Mark Brennan via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A 10-acre stopover, Buford was purchased in 1992 by Dan Sammons, who used money from his moving business to become the land’s only resident. He built a log cabin and opened a trading post while publicizing Buford as a single-entity population, turning it into a tourist attraction for visitors en route to Yellowstone National Park. In 2013, Nguyen Dinh Pham purchased the town for $900,000 with plans to host a Vietnamese coffee business, PhinDeli, on the land. Pham, realizing the perks of owning your own town, renamed it PhinDeli Town Buford. Sammons moved to Colorado; a property caretaker has taken his place to keep the sign accurate.



An errant map survey has carved out a small slice of Palermo as an unincorporated, 640-acre piece of land. The U.S. Census has recorded just one resident: Karen Keller, who embraced Hibberts Gore after the dissolution of her marriage. A 2001 Boston Globe article on the anomaly brought Keller a bunch of unwanted attention: she unsuccessfully petitioned the Census to count her as part of nearby Lincoln County. As of 2012, Keller was in the process of renovating her house and avoiding a stream full of unfriendly turtles and snakes.

8. GROSS, NE (POP: 2)

Multiple fires and limited access to a railroad shut down Gross’s chances to be much of an entity. Today, just two residents remain: Mike and Mary Finnegan, who operate the Nebrask (no "A") Inn within the town’s limits. The couple arrived in 1985 and promptly made their 5-year-old son the unofficial mayor. A law on the books prohibiting serving wine on Sundays was repealed because they said so; the eatery has gotten rave reviews on its Facebook page.


When you’re both the mayor and barkeep in a tiny town, there’s not much stopping you from printing your own currency. That’s what Emil Erickson does, though the cash—which bears his likeness—is only good at the tavern. Funkley’s population also doubles as its city council. Without much else to appeal to residents, it’s always been a sparsely populated spot: just 26 people called it home in 1940.

10. CENTRALIA, PA (POP: >12)

Douglas Muth via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Although a dozen people refused to take government buyouts to evacuate Centralia in 1992, there’s a good reason everyone else did: the town has been on fire for over 50 years. It’s believed coal mining precipitated a large-scale blaze that’s been fed for decades thanks to the mining shafts. Streets are prone to cracking open, creating sinkholes and releasing an eerie smoke. Officials believe the fires could rage another 250 years; the properties of residents who pass away will be subject to eminent domain.


While the sign says "Pop: 1," the four residents of Lost Springs say that’s a Census error. The town was once home to 280 in the mining days of the 1920s. As work dissolved, so did the community. Currently, there’s a town hall, a post office, a park, a general store, and a few public bathrooms.

12. BONANZA, CO (POP: 3)

Mark Perkovich retired to Bonanza in 1994 to find solitude. He got it: Bonanza, a former mining town in the Rockies, is completely desolate with the exception of its lone resident. Aside from chatting with the mailman, Perkovich occupies his time by clearing snow and tending to his property. In 2014, Colorado considered dissolving Bonanza due to its lack of a pulse: Perkovich opposed the change, but disliked the fact that his property taxes to the county didn’t actually buy him anything. In 2015, a couple was rumored to have moved in, tripling the population.


Beautiful, sun-kissed, and largely absent of any humans, Weeki Wachee has just three citizens but plenty of mermaids. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to a submerged theater carved into the limestone of a spring where tourists can watch ocean sirens swim around. The attraction has been around since 1947, when ex-Navy officer Newton Perry opened for business. In 2001, mayor Robyn Anderson declared herself a "mer-mayor" due to her past as a performer.

14. SWETT, SD (POP: 2)

Originally stuffed to the brim with a population of 40 in the 1940s, Swett’s lack of economic impact—it has one tavern—has whittled the population down to just two: Lance Benson and his wife. A traveling concessions salesman, Benson bought Swett in 1998 to oversee the bar and catch customers from nearby towns. (He lived in the lone house.) In 2014, he decided he wanted to move on and put the town up for sale. It was recently listed at $199,000: the cheery description from Exit Realty noted that "locals believe the residence to be haunted."


You won’t find much more than a general store and part of a gas station in Nothing, a desert villa 120 miles from Phoenix. Nothing was incorporated in 1977 as a way of injecting some humanity into a stretch of US 93, but its residents didn’t find it too hospitable: the last of them moved out after a pizza parlor failed to attract passing truckers. The name became prescient, and there are currently no known occupants. In June 2016, Nothing was subject to a Century 21 publicity stunt in which free patches of land could be given out to dads on Father’s Day. Approximate value? Nothing.

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
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Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcoming their third child on April 23, 2018 and Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle in May, the line of succession to the British throne has become a topic of interest all over the world. And the truth is, it’s complicated. Though Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 years old on April 21, shows no signs of slowing down, here are the royals who could one day take her place on the throne—in one very specific order.


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As a direct result of his mother being the world's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Charles—the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip—is the longest serving heir to the throne; he became heir apparent in 1952, when his mother ascended to the throne.


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At 35 years old, odds are good that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge—the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana—will ascend to the throne at some point in his lifetime.



On July 22, 2013, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, who jumped the line to step ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry, to become third in the line of succession.


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On May 2, 2015, William and Catherine added another member to their growing brood: a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Though her parents just welcomed a bouncing baby boy, she will maintain the fourth-in-line position because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which went into effect just a few weeks before her arrival, and removed a long-held rule which stated that any male sibling (regardless of birth order) would automatically move ahead of her.


 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England
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On April 23, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child—a son, whose name has yet to be announced, but who has already pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, out of the fifth position in line to the throne.


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As the second-born son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Harry's place in the line is a regularly changing one. It changed earlier this week, when his brother William's third child arrived, and could change again if and when their family expands.


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Prince Andrew is a perfect example of life before the Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Though he’s the second-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, he’s actually their third child (Princess Anne came between him and Prince Charles). But because the rules gave preference to males, Prince Andrew would inherit the throne before his older sister.


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Because Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, had two daughters and no sons, none of that male-preference primogeniture stuff mattered in terms of their placement. But with each child her cousin Prince William has, Princess Beatrice moves farther away from the throne. If Beatrice looks familiar, it might be because of the headlines she made with the Dr. Seuss-like hat she wore to William and Catherine’s wedding. (The infamous topper later sold on eBay for more than $130,000, all of which went to charity.)


Princess Eugenie of York arrives in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2017 in Ascot, England
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Though she’s regularly seen at royal events, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter spends the bulk of her time indulging her interest in fine art. She has held several jobs in the art world, and is currently a director at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery.


 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex leaves after a visit to Prince Philip
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Like his older brother Andrew, Prince Edward—the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—jumps the line ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne, because of the older rule that put males ahead of females.


 James, Viscount Severn, rides on the fun fair carousel on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2013 in Windsor, England
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James, Viscount Severn—the younger of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s two children, and their only son—turned 10 years old on December 17, 2017, and celebrated it as the 10th royal in line of succession. (The birth of the youngest Prince of Cambridge pushed him back a spot.)


Lady Louise Windsor during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2013 in London, England.
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Because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 wasn’t enacted until 2015, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor—the older of Prince Edward’s two children—will always be just behind her brother in the line of succession.


Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Hambleton Equine Clinic on October 10, 2017 in Stokesley, England
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Princess Anne, the Queen and Prince Philip’s second-born child and only daughter, may never rule over the throne in her lifetime, but at least she gets to be called “The Princess Royal.”


Peter Phillips poses for a photo on The Mall
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The eldest child and only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, stands just behind his mother in line. Interesting fact: Had Phillips’s wife, Autumn Kelly, not converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before their marriage in 2008, Phillips would have lost his place in line.


Savannah Phillips attends a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On December 29, 2010, Peter and Autumn Phillips celebrated the birth of their first child, Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, who is also the Queen’s first great-grandchild. She’s currently 15th in line.


Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Less than two years after Savannah, Peter and Autumn Phillips had a second daughter, Isla, who stands just behind her sister in line. It wasn’t until 2017 that Savannah and Isla made their Buckingham Palace balcony debut (in honor of their great-grandmother’s 91st birthday).


 Zara Tindall arrives for a reception at the Guildhall
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Not one to hide in the background, Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s second child and only daughter—has lived much of her life in the spotlight. A celebrated equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year (her mom earned the same title in 1971). She’s also Prince George’s godmother.


Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
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Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia may just be 4 years old, but she’s already regularly making headlines for her outgoing personality. And though she’s only 18th in line to the throne, her connection to the tippity top of the royal family is much closer: Prince William is her godfather.


David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon

David Armstrong-Jones, the eldest child of Princess Margaret, isn’t waiting around to see if the British crown ever lands on his head. The 56-year-old, who goes by David Linley in his professional life, has made a name for himself as a talented furniture-maker. His bespoke pieces, sold under the brand name Linley, can be purchased through his own boutiques as well as at Harrods.


Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones
Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones’s only son, Charles, may be 20th in line to the throne, but the 18-year-old is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (C) as her father David Armstrong-Jones (L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, known as David Linley

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the youngest child of David Armstrong-Jones and his only daughter, is also the only granddaughter of Princess Margaret. Now 15 years old (she'll turn 16 in June), Lady Margarita made headlines around the world in 2011 when she served as a flower girl at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.


Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret arrives for her mother's memorial service

Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s only daughter, is the youngest grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In addition to serving as a bridesmaid to Princess Diana, she is Prince Harry’s godmother.


Lady Sarah Chatto (L) and her son Samuel Chatto (R) leave a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
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The first-born son of Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband, Daniel, has a long way to go to reach the throne: He’s currently 23rd in line.


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For better or worse, Sarah and Daniel Chatto’s youngest son Arthur has become a bit of a social media sensation. He's made headlines recently as he regularly posts selfies to Instagram—some of them on the eyebrow-raising side, at least as far as royals go.


Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of London's first public memorial to the Korean War on December 3, 2014 in London, England
Carl Court/Getty Images

At 73 years old, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Formerly, he made a living as an architect, until the 1972 death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, put him next in line to inherit his father’s dukedom. On June 10, 1974, he officially succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden.

20 Black-and-White Facts About Penguins

To celebrate World Penguin Day (which is today, April 25), here are a few fun facts about these adorable tuxedoed birds.

1. All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

emperor penguin

3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

Gentoo Penguin

4. A penguin's striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.

penguins swimming in the ocean

5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

emperor penguins

6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

penguins swimming in the ocean

7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

molting penguin

8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.

king penguins

9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

chinstrap penguins

10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

maegellic penguin nesting

11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

penguin eggs

12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

emperor penguins

13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

Penguins nest

14. If a female Emperor Penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

penguin chicks

15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them "strange geese.")

17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama's 1497 voyage around the Cape of Good Hope makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

18. Because they aren't used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

19. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

20. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to great auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled auks, and called them penguins.


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