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Old 03-10-2014, 02:25 AM
Location: Williamsburg, VA
29 posts, read 65,479 times
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My name is Anna and I am doing a piece of research on the various subdivisions in some US states. By subdivisions I mean towns and/or townships that are below the county, which can be found in certain states like Vermont, Connecticut or Illinois. I know that California has no such subdivisions and I am looking for their equivalent here.

What I need to know how people refer to the area they live in (e.g. when going from a place to another, when referring to they area they live in, when selling/buying a house, when dealing with the local authorities for taxes, and so on).
For example, if you live outside of a city, in a unincorporated area, what do you call your area? Do you refer to zip codes, landmarks, something else? What is it?

I would appreciate it greatly if you could clear some of this stuff for me. And I hope I made myself understood.


California Zip Code Boundary Map (CA) - zip code map of California
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:56 AM
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,958 posts, read 19,173,053 times
Reputation: 6383
CA has incorporated cities. If the area is not in an incorporated city, it falls within the jurisdiction of the County. My county has only one incorporated city. It actually is incorporated as the City of Angels, but is known as Angels Camp.

My "town" is Mountain Ranch, it has a zip code. There are outlying areas where the county building department calls the area Mountain Ranch, but the Post Office calls it Mokelumne Hill because that's where the rural mail delivery driver starts her route from.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:35 PM
Location: Southern California
4,427 posts, read 5,295,531 times
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I'll use Los Angeles Country. The County collects property taxes. Inside the county are cities. There is a City of Los Angeles. The rule I use is: If there is a Mayor, it is a city, I could be wrong. There are neighborhoods in LA such as Mar Vista, it, it is just an area based on zip code and doesn't collect taxes or fund any services. Unincorporated areas sill have names, such as Marina Del Rey.

Zip codes can not be used to tell where city boundaries are, although phone area codes are used to stereotype people. 818, you live in the valley, 310 you live in the westside of LA, 714, you live in Orange county, 909, you live far from LA.

Landmarks are not used. I hope this helps.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:56 PM
Location: Arvada, CO
13,236 posts, read 24,416,312 times
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Counties in CA aren't divided up further into townships/etc. You are either in an incorporated city, or an unincorporated county area.

For example,
I grew up in Home Gardens, which is an unincorporated area/census-designated place in Riverside County. We were served by the Riverside County Sheriff for police protection, and were part of the Riverside County library system. For schools, those west of McKinley St/North of Indiana Ave attended Corona-Norco USD schools (which cover most of those two cities and their nearby unincorporated areas), while those east of McKinley St/South of Indiana Ave attended Alvord USD, which cover the western part of the city of Riverside, the far eastern part of Corona, and nearby unincorporated areas.

Cities are obviously divided up into neighborhoods as well, which have no governmental basis beyond the cities and counties they are in.

I've also lived in:
the La Sierra neighborhood of the city of Riverside
the Alta Loma neighborhood of the city of Rancho Cucamonga
the Green Acres neighborhood of the city of Ridgecrest.

Do note as well, that cities cannot cross county lines in California as they do in many other states.
Moderator for Los Angeles, The Inland Empire, and the Washington state forums.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:46 AM
Location: Sacramento, Placerville
2,487 posts, read 5,119,559 times
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It varies by location, so there are no really consistent answers.

San Francisco County and City is one in the same now. San Francisco expanded and urbanized the entire county. In contrast, Mariposa County doesn't have an incorporated city.

In Fresno County large amount of the population lives with city boundaries. There are urbanized areas immediately outside the city limits, but very little of the population lives in these unincorporated areas.

In Sacramento County about half of the population lives in unincorporated urbanized areas.

Some localities refer to different urbanized areas by city name. Within a city some areas may be referred to by historical names. Often the name of a former post office. For example, the City of West Sacramento was made up of the communities called Bryte, Broderick and Washington, along with some neighborhoods that built up along US-40 on the west side of Sacramento. This area is often called West Capital or Jefferson for the name of the street where former US-40 was located. There is another neighborhood to the south called Southport, named after the Port of Sacramento.

Other locations throughout the state have names originating from former railroad stations, landmarks, and just about anything else you can think of.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:44 PM
112 posts, read 174,039 times
Reputation: 151
You either live in an incorporated or unincorporated area in California. If it is incorporated it is a city within a county. There towns with a name that represent an area (but not incorporated) and also they are not townships. A person might say I live in "Hilldale" and it is an area that is not incorporated. These are usually smaller towns consisting of a few thousand people. This community might have a community service district such as a water system, sewer system, etc but they are not incorporated. Government responsibilities are handled differently between cities and county areas. Police are for cities. The Sheriff has jurisdiction in counties, for example. Property taxes are actually under the jurisdiction of the State of California. The State audits the counties to ensure accurate collection of the taxes. Property taxes are divided between the schools, cities, counties and special districts. The schools take the lion's share.
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