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In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, which is a region having specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority.[1] The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana
Louisiana
and Alaska
Alaska
have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs respectively.[1] Most counties have subdivisions which may include municipalities and unincorporated areas. Others have no further divisions, or may serve as a consolidated city-county. Some municipalities are in multiple counties; New York City
New York City
is uniquely partitioned into multiple counties, referred to at the city government level as boroughs. The U.S. federal government
U.S. federal government
uses the term "county equivalent" to describe non-county administrative or statistical areas that are comparable to counties. Louisiana
Louisiana
parishes; the organized boroughs of Alaska; the District of Columbia; and the independent cities of the states of Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada
Nevada
are equivalent to counties for administrative purposes. Alaska's Unorganized Borough is divided into 10 census areas that are statistically equivalent to counties. As of 2013, there are currently 3142 counties and county-equivalents in the United States.[2] The number of counties per state ranges from the 3 counties of Delaware
Delaware
to the 254 counties of Texas. Counties have significant governmental functions in all states except Rhode Island
Rhode Island
and Connecticut, where county governments have been abolished but the entities remain for administrative or statistical purposes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
has removed most government functions from eight of its 14 counties. The county with the largest population, Los Angeles County (10,170,292),[3] and the county with the largest land area (San Bernardino County) border each other in Southern California
California
(however four boroughs in Alaska
Alaska
are larger in area than San Bernardino).

Contents

1 History 2 County
County
variations

2.1 Consolidated city-counties 2.2 County
County
equivalents

2.2.1 Territories

3 Organization 4 County
County
names 5 County
County
government 6 Scope of power

6.1 Minimal scope 6.2 Moderate scope 6.3 Broad scope

7 Statistics

7.1 Population 7.2 Area

8 Geographic relationships between cities and counties 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links

History[edit] Counties were among the earliest units of local government established in the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
that would become the United States. Virginia created the first counties in order to ease the administrative workload in Jamestown. The House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
divided the colony first into four "incorporations" in 1617 and finally into eight shires (or counties) in 1634: James City, Henrico, Charles City, Charles River, Warrosquyoake, Accomac, Elizabeth City, and Warwick River.[4] America's oldest intact county court records can be found at Eastville, Virginia, in Northampton (originally Accomac) County, dating to 1632.[5] Maryland
Maryland
established its first county, St. Mary's, in 1637, and Massachusetts
Massachusetts
followed in 1643. Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
and New York delegated significant power and responsibility from state government to county governments and thereby established a pattern for most of the United States, although counties remained relatively weak in New England.[6] When independence came, "the framers of the Constitution did not provide for local governments. Rather, they left the matter to the states. Subsequently, early state constitutions generally conceptualized county government as an arm of the state." In the twentieth century, the role of local governments strengthened and counties began providing more services, acquiring home rule and county commissions to pass local ordinances pertaining to their unincorporated areas.[7] In some states, these powers are partly or mostly devolved to the counties' smaller divisions usually called townships, though in New York, New England
New England
and Wisconsin they are called "towns." The county may or may not be able to override its townships on certain matters, depending on the state constitution. The newest county in the United States
United States
is the city and county of Broomfield, Colorado, established in 2001 as a consolidated city-county.[8][9] The newest county-equivalents are the Alaskan boroughs of Skagway established in 2007, Wrangell established in 2008, and Petersburg established in 2013.[10] County
County
variations[edit] Consolidated city-counties[edit] Main article: Consolidated city-county A consolidated city-county is simultaneously a city, which is a municipality (municipal corporation), and a county, which is an administrative division of a state, having the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities. There are 40 consolidated city-counties in the U.S.,[1] including Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Lexington, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California. Similarly, some of Alaska's boroughs have merged with their principal cities creating unified city-boroughs. Some such consolidations and mergers have created cities that rank among the geographically largest cities in the world, though often with population densities far below those of most urban areas. County
County
equivalents[edit]

See also: # County
County
names (below), regarding Louisiana.

The term county equivalents is used to describe divisions whose organization differs from that of most counties:

Alaska
Alaska
census areas: Most of the land area of Alaska
Alaska
is not contained within any of Alaska's 19 organized boroughs. This vast area, larger than France
France
and Germany
Germany
combined, is officially referred to by the Alaska
Alaska
state government as the Unorganized Borough and outside of other incorporated borough limits, has no independent "county" government, although several incorporated city governments exist within its boundaries; the majority of it is governed and run by the State of Alaska
Alaska
as an extension of state government.[a] The United States Census Bureau, in cooperation with the Alaska
Alaska
state government for census and electoral districting purposes, has divided the Unorganized Borough into 11 census areas for statistical purposes only.[b] Independent cities: These are cities that legally belong to no county. They differ from consolidated city-counties in that in the case of a consolidated city-county, the county at least nominally exists, whereas in the case of an independent city, no county even nominally exists. As of July 2013[update], there are 41 such cities in the United States, including Baltimore, Maryland; Carson City, Nevada; St. Louis, Missouri; and all 38 cities in Virginia, where any area incorporated as a city is outside of the county jurisdiction.[13][14] Washington, D.C.,[15] outside the jurisdiction of any state, has a special status. The city of Washington comprises the entirety of the District of Columbia, which, in accordance with Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress. When founded in 1801, the District consisted of two counties and three cities. In 1846, Alexandria County
County
(which now forms Arlington County
County
and a portion of the independent city of Alexandria)—including the then City
City
of Alexandria—was given back to Virginia. In 1871, the three remaining entities—the City
City
of Washington, Georgetown City, and Washington County
County
(which was coterminous with the District)—were merged into a consolidated government by an act of Congress. Georgetown was abolished as a city by another act in 1895.

Consolidated city-counties are not designated county-equivalents for administrative purposes; since both the city and the county at least nominally exist, they are properly classified as counties in their own right. The same is true of the boroughs of New York City, each of which is coextensive with a county of New York State. Territories[edit] There are no counties per se in US territories. Most are directly divided into municipalities or similar units, which are sometimes treated as equivalent of counties for statistical purposes:

Municipalities of Puerto Rico Villages of Guam Districts of the United States
United States
Virgin Islands Districts and unorganized atolls of American Samoa

Organization[edit] The site of a county's administration, and often the county courthouse, is called the county seat ("parish seat" in Louisiana, or "borough seat" in Alaska). Several New England
New England
counties use the term "shire town" for the county seat. Many counties are divided into smaller political or governmental units. In Northeastern and Midwestern states, counties are divided into civil townships (or "towns" in New England, New York, and Wisconsin), which may provide governmental or public services. County
County
names[edit] See also: Lists of U.S. county name etymologies Common sources of county names are names of people, geographic features, places in other states or countries, Native American tribes, and animals. Quite a few counties bear names of French or Spanish origin.[16] Counties are most often named for people, often political figures or early settlers, with over 2,100 of the 3,143 total so named. The most common county name, with 31, is Washington County, for America's first president, George Washington. Up until 1871, there was a Washington County
County
within the District of Columbia, but it was dissolved by the District of Columbia
District of Columbia
Organic Act. Jefferson County, for Thomas Jefferson, is next with 27. The most recent president to have a county named for him was Warren G. Harding, reflecting the slowing rate of county creation since New Mexico
New Mexico
and Arizona
Arizona
became states in 1912. The most common names for counties not named after a president are Franklin (25), Clay (18), and Montgomery (18). After people, the next most common source of county names are geographic features and locations, with some counties even being named after counties in other states, or for places in countries such as the United Kingdom. The most common geographic county name is Lake. Native American tribes and animals lend their names to some counties. Quite a few counties bear names of French or Spanish origin, including Marquette County
County
being named after French missionary Father Jacques Marquette.[16] The county's equivalent in the state of Louisiana, the parish (Fr. paroisse civile and Sp. parroquia) took its name during the state's French and Spanish colonial periods. Before the Louisiana
Louisiana
Purchase and granting of statehood, government was often administered in towns where major church parishes were located. Of the original 19 civil parishes of Louisiana
Louisiana
that date from statehood in 1807, nine were named after the Roman Catholic parishes from which they were governed. County
County
government[edit] The powers of counties arise from state law and vary widely.[17] In Connecticut
Connecticut
and Rhode Island,[18][19] counties are geographic entities, but not governmental jurisdictions. At the other extreme, Maryland
Maryland
counties and the county-equivalent City
City
of Baltimore
Baltimore
handle almost all services, including public education, although the state retains an active oversight authority with many of these services.[20] In most Midwestern and Northeastern states, counties are further subdivided into townships or towns, which sometimes exercise local powers or administration. Throughout the United States, counties may contain other independent, self-governing municipalities. Counties are usually governed by an elected body, variously called the county commission, board of supervisors, commissioners' court, county council, board of chosen freeholders, county court, or county Legislature. In some counties, there is a county executive. In cases in which a consolidated city-county or independent city exists, a City Council usually governs city/county or city affairs. In many states, the board in charge of a county holds powers that transcend all three traditional branches of government. It has the legislative power to enact ordinances for the county; it has the executive power to oversee the executive operations of county government; and it has quasi-judicial power with regard to certain limited matters (such as hearing appeals from the planning commission if one exists). The day-to-day operations of the county government are sometimes overseen by an elected county executive or by a chief administrative officer or county administrator who reports to the board, the mayor, or both. In many states, several important officials are elected separately from the board of commissioners or supervisors and cannot be fired by the board. These positions may include county clerk, county treasurer, county surrogate, sheriff, and others. District attorneys or state attorneys are usually state-level as opposed to county-level officials, but in many states, counties and state judicial districts have coterminous boundaries. The structure and powers of a county government may be defined by the general law of the state or by a charter specific to that county. States may allow only general-law counties, only charter counties, or both. Generally, general-law local governments have less autonomy than chartered local governments.[21] Scope of power[edit] The power of county governments varies widely from state to state, as does the relationship between counties and incorporated cities. The government of the county usually resides in a municipality called the county seat. However, some counties may have multiple seats or no seat. In some counties with no incorporated municipalities, a large settlement may serve as the county seat. Minimal scope[edit] In New England, counties function at most as judicial court districts and sheriff's departments (presently, in Connecticut
Connecticut
only as judicial court districts—and in Rhode Island, they have lost both those functions and all others), and most of the governmental authority below the state level is in the hands of towns and cities. In several of Maine's sparsely populated counties, small towns rely on the county for law enforcement, and in New Hampshire
New Hampshire
several social programs are administered at the state level. In Connecticut, Rhode Island, and parts of Massachusetts, counties are now only geographic designations, and they do not have any governmental powers. All government is either done at the state level or at the municipal level. In Connecticut
Connecticut
and parts of Massachusetts, regional councils have been established to partially fill the void left behind by the abolished county governments.[c] The regional councils' authority is limited compared with a county government—they have authority only over infrastructure and land use planning, distribution of state and federal funds for infrastructure projects, emergency preparedness, and limited law enforcement duties. Moderate scope[edit] In the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, counties typically provide, at a minimum, courts, public utilities, libraries, hospitals, public health services, parks, roads, law enforcement, and jails. There is usually a county registrar, recorder, or clerk (the exact title varies) who collects vital statistics, holds elections (sometimes in coordination with a separate elections office or commission), and prepares or processes certificates of births, deaths, marriages, and dissolutions (divorce decrees). The county recorder normally maintains the official record of all real estate transactions. Other key county officials include the coroner/medical examiner, treasurer, assessor, auditor, comptroller, and district attorney. In most states, the county sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county. However, except in major emergencies where clear chains of command are essential, the county sheriff normally does not directly control the police departments of city governments, but merely cooperates with them (e.g., under mutual aid pacts). Thus, the most common interaction between county and city law enforcement personnel is when city police officers deliver suspects to sheriff's deputies for detention or incarceration in the county jail. In virtually all U.S. states, the state courts and local law enforcement are organized and implemented along county boundaries, but nearly all of the substantive and procedural law adjudicated in state trial courts originates from the state legislature and state appellate courts. In other words, most criminal defendants are prosecuted for violations of state law, not local ordinances, and if they, the district attorney, or police seek reforms to the criminal justice system, they will usually have to direct their efforts towards the state legislature rather than the county (which merely implements state law). A typical criminal defendant will be arraigned and subsequently indicted or held over for trial before a trial court in and for a particular county where the crime occurred, kept in the county jail (if he is not granted bail or cannot make bail), prosecuted by the county's district attorney, and tried before a jury selected from that county. But long-term incarceration is rarely a county responsibility, execution of capital punishment is never a county responsibility, and the state's responses to prisoners' appeals is the responsibility of the state attorney general, who has to defend before the state appellate courts the prosecutions conducted by locally elected district attorneys in the name of the state. Furthermore, county-level trial court judges are officers of the judicial branch of the state government rather than county governments. In many states, the county controls all unincorporated lands within its boundaries. In states with a township tier, unincorporated land is controlled by the townships. Residents of unincorporated land who are dissatisfied with county-level or township-level resource allocation decisions can attempt to vote to incorporate as a city, town, or village. A few counties directly provide public transportation themselves, usually in the form of a simple bus system. However, in most counties, public transportation is provided by one of the following: a special-purpose district that is coterminous with the county (but exists separately from the county government), a multi-county regional transit authority, or a state agency. Broad scope[edit] In western and southern states, more populated counties provide many facilities, such as airports, convention centers, museums, recreation centers, beaches, harbors, zoos, clinics, law libraries, and public housing. They provide services such as child and family services, elder services, mental health services, welfare services, veterans assistance services, animal control, probation supervision, historic preservation, food safety regulation, and environmental health services. They have many additional officials like public defenders, arts commissioners, human rights commissioners, and planning commissioners. Finally, there may also be a county fire department and even a county police department (as distinguished from fire and police departments operated by individual cities, special districts, or the state government). For example, Gwinnett County, Georgia, and its county seat, the city of Lawrenceville, each have their own police departments. (A separate county sheriff's department is responsible for security of the county courts and administration of the county jail.) In several southern states, public school systems are organized and administered at the county level. Statistics[edit] As of 2016[update], there were 3,007 counties, 64 parishes, 18 organized boroughs, 11 census areas, 41 independent cities,[d] and the District of Columbia
District of Columbia
for a total of 3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the United States.[2] The average number of counties per state is 62, with a range from the three counties of Delaware
Delaware
to the 254 counties of Texas. Southern and Midwestern states generally tend to have more counties than Western or Northeastern states, as many Northeastern states are not large enough in area to warrant a large number of counties, and many Western states were sparsely populated when counties were created. The five counties of Rhode Island, the eight counties of Connecticut, and eight of the 14 counties of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
no longer have functional county governments, but continue to exist as legal and census entities.

Number of counties and county-equivalents in the United States of America

State or district Total Subdivisions[2] Average

2016 population[2] Land area[23] Counties Equivalents Total Population Land area

Alabama 4,863,300 24 !50,645 sq mi 131,171 km2 67 0 67 72,587 27 !756 sq mi 1,958 km2

Alaska[e] 741,894 51 !570,641 sq mi 1,477,953 km2

29 29 25,582 51 !19,677 sq mi 50,964 km2

Arizona 6,931,071 46 !113,594 sq mi 294,207 km2 15 0 15 462,071 50 !7,573 sq mi 19,614 km2

Arkansas 2,988,248 25 !52,035 sq mi 134,771 km2 75 0 75 39,843 25 !694 sq mi 1,797 km2

California 39,250,017 49 !155,779 sq mi 403,466 km2 57 1 58 676,724 45 !2,686 sq mi 6,956 km2

Colorado 5,540,545 44 !103,642 sq mi 268,431 km2 62 2 64 86,571 39 !1,619 sq mi 4,194 km2

Connecticut 3,576,452 04 !4,842 sq mi 12,542 km2 8 0 8 447,057 18 !605 sq mi 1,568 km2

Delaware 952,065 03 !1,949 sq mi 5,047 km2 3 0 3 317,355 19 !650 sq mi 1,682 km2

District of Columbia[f] 681,170 01 !61 sq mi 158 km2

1 1 681,170 01 !61 sq mi 158 km2

Florida 20,612,439 26 !53,625 sq mi 138,887 km2 66 1 67 307,648 30 !800 sq mi 2,073 km2

Georgia 10,310,371 31 !57,513 sq mi 148,959 km2 158 1 159 64,845 06 !362 sq mi 937 km2

Hawaii 1,428,557 05 !6,423 sq mi 16,635 km2 5 0 5 285,711 37 !1,285 sq mi 3,327 km2

Idaho 1,683,140 41 !82,643 sq mi 214,045 km2 44 0 44 38,253 41 !1,878 sq mi 4,865 km2

Illinois 12,801,539 28 !55,519 sq mi 143,793 km2 102 0 102 125,505 13 !544 sq mi 1,410 km2

Indiana 6,633,053 14 !35,826 sq mi 92,789 km2 92 0 92 72,098 07 !389 sq mi 1,009 km2

Iowa 3,134,693 29 !55,857 sq mi 144,669 km2 99 0 99 31,664 15 !564 sq mi 1,461 km2

Kansas 2,907,289 39 !81,759 sq mi 211,754 km2 105 0 105 27,688 29 !779 sq mi 2,017 km2

Kentucky 4,436,974 15 !39,486 sq mi 102,269 km2 120 0 120 36,975 04 !329 sq mi 852 km2

Louisiana[g] 4,681,666 19 !43,204 sq mi 111,898 km2

64 64 73,151 23 !675 sq mi 1,748 km2

Maine 1,331,479 13 !30,843 sq mi 79,883 km2 16 0 16 83,217 42 !1,928 sq mi 4,993 km2

Maryland[h] 6,016,447 10 !9,707 sq mi 25,142 km2 23 1 24 250,685 08 !404 sq mi 1,048 km2

Massachusetts 6,811,779 07 !7,800 sq mi 20,202 km2 14 0 14 486,556 14 !557 sq mi 1,443 km2

Michigan 9,928,300 30 !56,539 sq mi 146,435 km2 83 0 83 119,618 24 !681 sq mi 1,764 km2

Minnesota 5,519,952 38 !79,627 sq mi 206,232 km2 87 0 87 63,448 34 !915 sq mi 2,370 km2

Mississippi 2,988,726 21 !46,923 sq mi 121,531 km2 82 0 82 36,448 16 !572 sq mi 1,482 km2

Missouri[i] 6,093,000 34 !68,742 sq mi 178,040 km2 114 1 115 52,983 17 !598 sq mi 1,548 km2

Montana 1,042,520 48 !145,546 sq mi 376,962 km2 54 2 56 18,616 43 !2,599 sq mi 6,731 km2

Nebraska 1,907,116 37 !76,824 sq mi 198,974 km2 93 0 93 20,507 31 !826 sq mi 2,140 km2

Nevada[j] 2,940,058 45 !109,781 sq mi 284,332 km2 16 1 17 172,945 49 !6,458 sq mi 16,725 km2

New Hampshire 1,334,795 08 !8,953 sq mi 23,187 km2 10 0 10 133,480 33 !895 sq mi 2,319 km2

New Jersey 8,944,469 06 !7,354 sq mi 19,047 km2 21 0 21 425,927 05 !350 sq mi 907 km2

New Mexico 2,081,015 47 !121,298 sq mi 314,161 km2 33 0 33 63,061 47 !3,676 sq mi 9,520 km2

New York 19,745,289 22 !47,126 sq mi 122,057 km2 62 0 62 318,472 28 !760 sq mi 1,969 km2

North Carolina 10,146,788 23 !48,618 sq mi 125,920 km2 100 0 100 101,468 12 !486 sq mi 1,259 km2

North Dakota 757,952 35 !69,001 sq mi 178,711 km2 53 0 53 14,301 38 !1,302 sq mi 3,372 km2

Ohio 11,614,373 17 !40,861 sq mi 105,829 km2 88 0 88 131,982 11 !464 sq mi 1,203 km2

Oklahoma 3,923,561 33 !68,595 sq mi 177,660 km2 77 0 77 50,955 32 !891 sq mi 2,307 km2

Oregon 4,093,465 42 !95,988 sq mi 248,608 km2 36 0 36 113,707 44 !2,666 sq mi 6,906 km2

Pennsylvania 12,784,227 20 !44,743 sq mi 115,883 km2 67 0 67 190,809 22 !668 sq mi 1,730 km2

Rhode Island 1,056,426 02 !1,034 sq mi 2,678 km2 5 0 5 211,285 02 !207 sq mi 536 km2

South Carolina 4,961,119 12 !30,061 sq mi 77,857 km2 46 0 46 107,850 20 !653 sq mi 1,693 km2

South Dakota 865,454 36 !75,811 sq mi 196,350 km2 66 0 66 13,113 36 !1,149 sq mi 2,975 km2

Tennessee 6,651,194 18 !41,235 sq mi 106,798 km2 95 0 95 70,013 09 !434 sq mi 1,124 km2

Texas 27,862,596 50 !261,232 sq mi 676,587 km2 254 0 254 109,695 35 !1,028 sq mi 2,664 km2

Utah 3,051,217 40 !82,170 sq mi 212,818 km2 29 0 29 105,214 46 !2,833 sq mi 7,339 km2

Vermont 624,594 09 !9,217 sq mi 23,871 km2 14 0 14 44,614 21 !658 sq mi 1,705 km2

Virginia[k] 8,411,808 16 !39,490 sq mi 102,279 km2 95 38 133 63,247 03 !295 sq mi 763 km2

Washington 7,288,000 32 !66,456 sq mi 172,119 km2 39 0 39 186,872 40 !1,704 sq mi 4,413 km2

West Virginia 1,831,102 11 !24,038 sq mi 62,259 km2 55 0 55 33,293 10 !437 sq mi 1,132 km2

Wisconsin 5,778,708 27 !54,158 sq mi 140,268 km2 72 0 72 80,260 26 !752 sq mi 1,948 km2

Wyoming 585,501 43 !97,093 sq mi 251,470 km2 23 0 23 25,457 48 !4,221 sq mi 10,933 km2

United States 323,127,513 99 !3,531,905 sq mi 9,147,592 km2 3,007 135 3,142 102,841 99 !1,124 sq mi 2,910 km2

Population[edit] Main article: List of United States
United States
counties and county-equivalents The average U.S. county population was nearly 100,000 in 2015. The most populous county is Los Angeles County, California, with 10,170,292 residents in 2015.[24] This number is greater than the populations of 41 U.S. states, and even about 900,000 larger than the population of the 10 lowest states combined. It also makes Los Angeles County
County
17.4 times as large as the least populous state, Wyoming. The second most populous county is Cook County, Illinois, with a population of 5,238,216.[24] Cook County's population is larger than that of 28 individual U.S. states and the combined populations of the six smallest states.[24] The least populous county is Kalawao County, Hawaii, with 89 residents in 2015.[24] The most densely populated county or county-equivalent is New York County, New York (coextensive with the New York City
New York City
Borough of Manhattan), with 72,033 persons per square mile (27,812/km2) in 2015. The Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, is both the most extensive and the least densely populated county or county-equivalent with 0.0380 persons per square mile (0.0147/km2) in 2015.[24] A total of 981 counties have a population over 50,000; 592 counties have a population over 100,000; 137 counties have a population over 500,000; 45 counties have a population over 1,000,000; and 14 counties have a population over 2,000,000. At the other extreme, 35 counties have a population under 1,000; 307 counties have a population under 5,000; 709 counties have a population under 10,000; and 1,492 counties have a population between 10,000 and 50,000.[24] Area[edit] Main article: County
County
statistics of the United States

A highway sign designating the border between Nicholas and Greenbrier counties in West Virginia
Virginia
along a secondary road

At the 2000 U.S. Census, the median land area of U.S. counties was 622 sq mi (1,610 km2), which is two-thirds of the median land area of a ceremonial county of England, and a little more than a quarter of the median land area of a French département. Counties in the western United States
United States
typically have a much larger land area than those in the eastern United States. For example, the median land area of counties in Georgia is 343 sq mi (890 km2), whereas in Utah
Utah
it is 2,427 sq mi (6,290 km2). The most extensive county or county-equivalent is the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, with a land area of 145,505 square miles (376,856 km2). All nine of the most extensive county-equivalents are in Alaska. The most extensive county is San Bernardino County, California, with a land area of 20,057 square miles (51,947 km2). The least extensive county is Kalawao County, Hawaii, with a land area of 11.991 square miles (31.058 km2). The least extensive county-equivalent is the independent City
City
of Falls Church, Virginia, with a land area of 1.999 square miles (5.177 km2).[1] Geographic relationships between cities and counties[edit] In some states, a municipality may reside in only one county and may not annex territory in adjacent counties, but in the majority of states, the state constitution or state law allows municipalities to extend across county boundaries. At least 32 states include municipalities in multiple counties. Dallas
Dallas
and Oklahoma City, for example, both contain portions of five counties. New York City
New York City
is an unusual case because it encompasses multiple counties in one city. The city comprises five counties in their entirety, each coextensive with one of the five boroughs of the city: Manhattan
Manhattan
(New York County), The Bronx (Bronx County), Queens
Queens
( Queens
Queens
County), Brooklyn
Brooklyn
(Kings County), and Staten Island
Staten Island
(Richmond County). See also[edit]

Lists of counties in the United States

List of United States
United States
counties and county equivalents Index of U.S. counties List of former United States
United States
counties List of less common U.S. county names List of the most common U.S. county names

Flags of counties of the United States

Notes[edit]

^ The Unorganized Borough, Alaska
Alaska
formed by the Borough Act of 1961 is a legal entity, run by the Alaska
Alaska
state government as an extension of State government,[11] it and the independently incorporated Unified, Home Rule, First Class and Second Class boroughs roughly correspond to parishes in Louisiana
Louisiana
and to counties in the other 48 states.[12] ^ These 11 statistical areas are used solely by the United States Census Bureau to tabulate population and other census statistics within the Unorganized Borough; they have no legal basis in Alaska state or federal law other than for electoral representation and federal financial assistance purposes. ^ Unlike in Massachusetts, Connecticut's regional councils do not conform to the old county lines, but rather, they are composed of towns that share the same geographic region and have similar demographics. ^ Prior to July 1, 2016, there were 42 independent cities. At that time, Bedford, Virginia, gave up its city status and became a town within Bedford County.[22] ^ The State of Alaska
Alaska
has 19 organized boroughs and one Unorganized Borough divided into 11 census areas. ^ The United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
and the Office of Management and Budget consider the entire District of Columbia
District of Columbia
to be a county equivalent. ^ The State of Louisiana
Louisiana
has 64 parishes instead of counties. ^ The State of Maryland
Maryland
has 23 counties and the independent City
City
of Baltimore. ^ The State of Missouri
Missouri
has 114 counties and the independent City
City
of St. Louis. ^ The State of Nevada
Nevada
has 16 counties and the independent Consolidated Municipality
Municipality
of Carson City. ^ The Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia
has 95 counties and 38 independent cities.

References[edit]

^ a b c d "An Overview of County
County
Government". National Association of Counties. Retrieved April 25, 2013.  ^ a b c d " County
County
Totals Datasets: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". 2012 Population Estimates. United States
United States
Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013. [dead link] ^ "American Fact Finder - Results". United States
United States
Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2015.  ^ Harch, Charles E. (1957). The First Seventeen Years, Virginia, 1607–1624. Jamestown 350th Anniversary Historical. pp. 20, 75–76.  ^ [1][dead link] ^ Reynolds, Osborne M., Jr. (2009). Local Government Law (3rd ed.). St. Paul: West. p. 19.  ^ "Learn About What Counties Do". National Association of Counties. Retrieved November 20, 2015.  ^ Rubino, Joe (December 24, 2011). "Broomfield 50th anniversary: Success in first 50 years stemmed from bold actions". Broomfield Enterprise. Retrieved July 13, 2012.  ^ "Broomfield History". City
City
and County
County
of Broomfield. Retrieved July 13, 2012.  ^ Viechnicki, Joe (January 3, 2013). "Petersburg Becomes 19th Borough In Alaska". Alaska
Alaska
Public Media.  ^ " Alaska
Alaska
Statutes Title 29 Chapter 03. The Unorganized Borough". Local Government On-Line, Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Alaska
Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. August 18, 1998. Retrieved July 17, 2008.  ^ "Local Government in Alaska" (PDF]). Local Boundary Commission, Alaska
Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. February 2001. Retrieved July 17, 2008.  ^ "Population and Area of All Virginia
Virginia
Local Governments, 1790–2010" (PDF). Virginia
Virginia
Department of Housing and Community Development. April 19, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013.  ^ " County
County
& County
County
Equivalent Areas". United States
United States
Census Bureau. April 19, 2005. Retrieved December 8, 2007.  ^ Geography, US Census Bureau. "US Census Bureau Geography 2010 FIPS Code Files for Counties and County
County
Equivalent Entities". Census.gov. Retrieved November 2, 2017.  ^ a b Kane, Joseph Nathan; Aiken, Charles Curry (2004). The American Counties: Origins of County
County
Names, Dates of Creation, and Population Data, 1950-2000. Scarecrow Press. p. vii-xii. ISBN 978-0-8108-5036-1.  ^ Reynolds, Osborne M., Jr. (2001). Handbook of Local Government Law (2nd ed.). St. Paul: West Group. p. 26.  ^ " Connecticut
Connecticut
State Register and Manual, Section VI: Counties". Connecticut
Connecticut
Secretary of the State. Retrieved January 23, 2010. There are no county seats in Connecticut. County
County
government was abolished effective October 1, 1960; counties function only as geographical subdivisions.  ^ "Facts & History". Retrieved January 23, 2010. Rhode Island
Rhode Island
has no county government. It is divided into 39 municipalities each having its own form of local government.  ^ "Direct links to all 24 Maryland
Maryland
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Census Bureau. May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2013.  ^ a b c d e f "American FactFinder". United States
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Census Bureau. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 

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