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Old 07-01-2017, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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People on here talk too much about metro areas, regions, states, etc. but not so much about counties. Lately, I have been intrigued about this seemingly forgotten layer of geography that comprises our nation. A total of 3,142 counties (or county equivalents) to be exact.

In my state, Connecticut, there are 8 counties in total. I have been to all of them. They all have a distinct feel, too. There are no county seats in CT and no county government or administrative function at all. They were abolished in 1960. So now, counties in CT merely serve as geographical boundaries within the state. There is no such thing as a county address in CT, either, because 100% of the state is incorporated as cities, towns or boroughs.

When I lived in the NYC area, counties seemed to be more important, probably because there are county governments in NY. A lot of people would say they live in "Westchester" for example (i.e. Westchester County).

What are counties like in your state? Have you been to all of them? Do they have a lot of governmental powers or administrative function? What is your county like? My county (Hartford County) is a good mix of urban and rural, with 3 cities and 26 towns. There are a few major interstate highways and several major state highways. My county has a population of around 900,000, but is losing population for several years in a row now.

I think counties are neat. They are like mini states with a capitol (county seats). I wonder how county borders were formed or determined over the years.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:40 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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In Maryland counties are the primary local government. Taxes and school systems are county based.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Counties are very strong in Florida. In addition to Florida I have lived in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas. Counties are by far more important here than in those states. They have their wn government, structure, provide a lot of services. What's happening is often discussed on a county level. Weather is by county, etc. It struk me pretty quickly when I moved here. The only other of the states I have lived in that I had perhaps the closest sense of county identity was Texas.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Yeah here in New England, the importance of the county is practically nonexistent or completely nonexistent, particularly in CT and RI.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:17 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,944 posts, read 42,250,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
Yeah here in New England, the importance of the county is practically nonexistent or completely nonexistent, particularly in CT and RI.
North vs. South.
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Atlanta metro (Cobb County)
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Counties are extremely significant in Georgia. Although there have been some new cities created recently, a very large share of the population resides in unincorporated, but often urbanized territory. There are some city school districts (e.g. Marietta, Decatur, and Atlanta itself), but the surrounding county systems tend to be larger. Georgia has 159 counties, and many are quite small and isolated, so most likely very few residents have visited them all.

There are a few counties that have two seats in parts of Arkansas and Mississippi. Perhaps at the time of their formation, it was difficult for residents from all parts of the counties to access one particular location for their business.
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:42 PM
 
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In some states, like Pennsylvania, each county is subdivided into a grid of many smaller units called "Townships" or "Buroughs" (some of them are entirely Rural, while others are Urban). Police and school systems are based on these smaller units, rather than at the County level. Speed limits and municipal laws can be confusing in places such as the Pittsburgh area, where there are many of these Townships or Buroughs so close together.
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:48 PM
 
Location: "The Dirty Irv" Irving, TX
2,874 posts, read 1,329,819 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
North vs. South.
I think its more than just North vs South, Counties are also pretty important out west as well as most other Northern States. I think their relative unimportant is a New England thing.
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:28 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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In many (most?) states the county is the chief administrator of local government. County elected officials (sheriff, prosecutor, administrator, treasurer, assessor, etc.) are the first line of officialdom. County jails, county health departments, maybe even county hospitals provide basic services. Court circuits in rural areas might combine several counties. County elected positions are often the "gateway" for new politicians with an interest in higher office.

Catron County in New Mexico is larger than Connecticut but with only 3,500 people. County government is stretched pretty thin in large rural counties. Outlaws like Tom Ketcham, the Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid spent time in Catron County on occasion.
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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It's huge as far as amenities go in CA. Different counties can use the taxes collected for many things that just benefit that county. The county can pass higher taxes, etc. So, a more affluent county will have better schools, better police, fire fighters, social services, healthcare, on and on.
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