12 Facts About Local Government in the United States


Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state.

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Most states have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities.

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In some states, counties are divided into townships.

A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city.

Township refers to various kinds of settlements in different countries.


There are several different types of jurisdictions at the municipal level, including the city, town, borough, and village.


The types and nature of these municipal entities vary from state to state.


Many rural areas and even some suburban areas of many states have no municipal government below the county level.


In other places consolidated city-county jurisdictions exist, in which city and county functions are managed by a single municipal government.

In United States local government, a consolidated city-county is a city and county that have been merged into one unified jurisdiction.


In places like New England, towns are the primary unit of local government and counties have no governmental function but exist in a purely perfunctory capacity.

New England is a geographical region which comprises six states of the northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


In addition to general-purpose local governments, there may be local or regional special-purpose local governments, such as school districts and districts for fire protection, sanitary sewer service, public transportation, public libraries, or water resource management.

Public transport is transport of passengers by group travel systems available for use by the general public, typically managed on a schedule, operated on established routes, and that charge a posted fee for each trip.

A sanitary sewer or "foul sewer" is an underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings through pipes to treatment facilities or disposal.

A school district is a form of special-purpose district which serves to operate local public primary and secondary schools, for formal academic or scholastic teaching, in various nations.


Such special purpose districts often encompass areas in multiple municipalities.


According to the US Census Bureau's data collected in 2012, there were 89,004 local government units in the United States.


This data shows a decline from 89,476 units since the last census of local governments performed in 2007.

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