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Old 02-17-2011, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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This thread is concerned with the relationships between counties and cities/towns within a state (any state other than the New England states, NY and WI). I am confused, so please read what I currently know, then help me.

Okay, so up here in New England, a state can be divided into counties, just like any other state in the U.S. Then, each county is comprised of incorporated cities and towns. 100% of the area within a county belongs to an incorporated city or town. No matter where you live, you live in either a city or a town. This can be illustrated in a rudimentary way, as follows:




Now, in all other states, a state is divided into counties, just like any other state in the U.S. However, a county is not necessarily 100% incorporated as a city or town (or other type of municipality). Instead, a county would contain cities or towns that are incorporated, but doesn't necessarily occupy 100% of the area of the county. Therefore, it's possible to live in a county but not in a city/town. This can be illustrated as follows:




So, I would like to know if my understanding of geography in most U.S. states is correct, as illustrated above. Anyone know about this?

Thanks
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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I know that in Michigan and Minnesota, areas that aren't part of cities are incorporated into townships, which are sort of like New England towns, but usually less organized (unless it's a Michigan charter township, which is very similar to a city). Southern states, as far as I know, don't have towns or townships. The Atlanta metro has some highly-populated areas that are totally unincorporated and use only county services, and I'm fairly sure it's the same in North Carolina. It's always seemed really inefficient to me, but that's just how they do it down there.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
I know that in Michigan and Minnesota, areas that aren't part of cities are incorporated into townships, which are sort of like New England towns, but usually less organized (unless it's a Michigan charter township, which is very similar to a city). Southern states, as far as I know, don't have towns or townships. The Atlanta metro has some highly-populated areas that are totally unincorporated and use only county services, and I'm fairly sure it's the same in North Carolina. It's always seemed really inefficient to me, but that's just how they do it down there.
Actually, NC has townships, similar to how you described MI and MN.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:28 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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In Georgia, the counties are the only thing that matter. The cities and towns are just for decoration on a map.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Floribama
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Alabama and Florida work like the second example. You have county and city, if you live inside the city limits you get city police and fire protection and other services, if you live outside the city limits (unincorporated) you must depend on county deputies and volunteer fire depts. A "city" can be as small as 2000 people. I never have really understood the whole "township" thing up North.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:41 PM
 
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You are correct about the political divisions in many Southern states, and Western states too, if I'm not mistaken.

If I have the correct picture, Pennsylvania has a system like that which Kazoopilot describes for MI. In PA what would be called a town in most states is called a borough. Same thing, just a different name. Areas outside the boundaries of cities or boroughs are divided into townships, which have some sort of municipal government, but usually are more rural, and provide fewer services, than cities or boroughs.

I think New Jersey also has some sort of system where all land in the state is incorporated. Not sure about that one, but I think this is correct, and I believe that the model is similar to or the same as the New England system.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
You are correct about the political divisions in many Southern states, and Western states too, if I'm not mistaken.

If I have the correct picture, Pennsylvania has a system like that which Kazoopilot describes for MI. In PA what would be called a town in most states is called a borough. Same thing, just a different name. Areas outside the boundaries of cities or boroughs are divided into townships, which have some sort of municipal government, but usually are more rural, and provide fewer services, than cities or boroughs.

I think New Jersey also has some sort of system where all land in the state is incorporated. Not sure about that one, but I think this is correct, and I believe that the model is similar to or the same as the New England system.
NJ has townships that cover 100% of the state, i believe.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
NJ has townships that cover 100% of the state, i believe.
Yes. Every inch of NJ is part of an incorporated municipality, be it a city, town, borough, village or township. I think the difference between the various types of municipalities is more historic than legal.

Map: http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/NJ_munis.png
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:00 PM
 
144 posts, read 223,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
I know that in Michigan and Minnesota, areas that aren't part of cities are incorporated into townships, which are sort of like New England towns, but usually less organized (unless it's a Michigan charter township, which is very similar to a city). Southern states, as far as I know, don't have towns or townships. The Atlanta metro has some highly-populated areas that are totally unincorporated and use only county services, and I'm fairly sure it's the same in North Carolina. It's always seemed really inefficient to me, but that's just how they do it down there.


Having many redundant and duplicate services in one county seems kind of inefficient too.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:08 PM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
In Georgia, the counties are the only thing that matter. The cities and towns are just for decoration on a map.
LOL, that is true in all 159 of them except for Fulton. All but 10,000 of the 1.1 million residents live in a city now. This is however an exceptional situation. I bet one could add up the populations of the the top 20 cities not in Fulton county in the rest of Georgia and it wouldn't even reach a million still. LOL.
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