Just how big is one acre of land? An acre is a commonly used unit of measurement in real estate, but not many people actually know how big an acre really is.
One acre is 1/640 of a mile, or 43,560 square feet. An easy way to visualize it is to picture a football field, including the end zones. From one end zone, up to the twenty yard line on the other end of the field, is one acre.
An acre is a unit of measurement that dates back centuries. It was originally a term based on agricultural usage, related to the amount of land that could be made ready for planting in a days work. This was a very functional, if imprecise, way of measuring land during an age when nearly everybody who owned land was farming on it. In modern times, an acre is defined strictly by its volume in square feet, but you might be surprised by how much influence the ancient definition of an acre has on modern real estate.
We went on a deep dive into the usage of the term “acre,” and uncovered a lot of interesting information about it’s origins, and how it’s changed- and stayed the same- over the centuries. Here’s what we found:
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How Big is an Acre?
A modern acre is the same size as the original acres. A 66ft by 660ft plot of land contains 43,560 square feet, and that’s still how big a modern acre is. Of course, modern acres aren’t limited to a 66ft by 660ft shape. Often they’re marked off in squares, with each acre being exactly 208.71 feet by 208.71 feet.
Is An Acre A Lot of Land?
One acre is 1/640 of a mile. So, in one square mile, there are 640 acres. That makes an acre seem quite small, but for most people it’s actually a pretty big chunk of land.
Whether or not an acre is a lot of land for you really depends on what you’re going to use it for. If you’re building a house, an acre is plenty of land for a large home and a pretty good sized yard to go with it. If you’re going to be farming,you may need more than one acre, especially if you plan on raising livestock.
If you need an RV site, one acre holds 10-15 RVs pretty comfortably, and you could easily run an RV campsite and turn a profit on just one acre.
How Many Acres in a Football Field?
One acre is about ¾ of a football field, if you include the endzones. So, you can fit about 1 and ⅓ of an acre into a football field. So, from one end zone to the opposite 20 yard line is one acre.
Here are a few other visuals that can help you:
One acre holds about 156 parking spaces:
If you use diagonal spaces and one-way driving lanes, it will hold 162 spaces.
On a baseball field, if you combine the infield and about half of the outfield, you’ve got an acre:
For tennis players, and acre will hold 15 tennis courts:
One of the best ways to understand how big an acre is, is to see how many houses it will hold. One acre can fit 18 2400 square foot homes, with a bit of room to spare:
As you can see, an acre is actually a pretty sizeable portion of land. 2400 square feet is a large house, somewhat bigger than the average American home, which is about 2300 square feet as of 2019.
So, if you buy a one acre plot of land to build on, you have plenty of room for a very spacious home, a large lawn, and a big garden. You could even squeeze a pool in there if you wanted to.
You may hear the term “commercial acres” thrown around as you shop for land. This is an invention of the real estate industry, and while it is an official legal unit of land in some places, in most places it’s really just a designation used by realtors. Essentially, it’s one acre with some volume removed to account for alleyways, sidewalks, and roads. It amounts to about 82.6% of a regular acre, or 36,000 square feet.
You’ll most often encounter commercial acres in urban environments, when they’re typical purchased by developers, which is why they’re called commercial acres- they’re rarely bought by individuals.
How Many Acres In...?
New York City, including the water, covers 300,000 acres.
The Amazon Rainforest covers 1,359,079,598 acres, losing about 2 acres every minute to deforestation.
The gardens at Buckingham Palace cover 40 acres.
1 acre of wheat would produce 3,000 loaves of bread.
Americans eat 100 acres of pizza every day.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling