Number of Municipal Governments & Population Distribution

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2007) counted 39,044 general purpose local governments, which includes 19,492 municipal governments, 16,519 township governments and 3.033 county governments. There are 50,432 special purpose local governments, which includes 37,381 special districts, 13,726 independent school districts, and 1,452 dependent public school systems. For descriptions of each type of government, please visit Local U.S. Governments.

Municipal governments vary widely according to quantity, designation and incorporation requirements (see Forms of Municipal Government for more information), but they generally have similar powers and perform similar functions to one another that differ from those of township or county governments. The U.S.'s 19,492 municipal governments range in population size from very large (over 300,000) to very small (under 1,000).  The vast majority (over 90%) of municipal governments in the U.S. have populations under 25,000. 

The number of municipal governments and their distribution by population size also varies by state.  Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania have over 1,000 municipal governments, while the District of Columbia and Hawaii have only one.  In Alaska, nearly all of the municipal governments are very small (population less than 10,000).   In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, on the other hand, no municipal government has population less than 10,000.  California's municipal governments are distributed across population sizes, however most of the state's 478 municipal governments have populations between 10,000 and 100,000. 

The chart below from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the distribution of municipal governments by population size in the U.S.  It also shows this distribution by each state and the District of Columbia.


Subcounty Municipal Governments by Population-Size Group and State: 2007

Geographic Area Total 300,000 Or More 299,999 To 200,000 199,999 To 100,000 99,999 To 50,000 49,999 To 25,000 24,999 To 10,000 9,999 To 5,000 4,999 To 2,500 2,499 To 1,000 Less Than 1,000
United States 19,492 59 39 159 422 680 1,505 1,654 2,098 3,593 9,283
Alabama 458 0 2 2 5 9 39 42 48 101 210
Alaska 148 0 1 0 0 2 0 8 8 7 122
Arizona 90 3 3 3 5 13 16 13 18 11 5
Arkansas 502 0 0 1 8 7 20 22 49 89 306
California 478 11 5 46 101 93 110 58 22 19 13
Colorado 270 3 0 6 5 10 15 31 26 47 127
Connecticut 30 0 0 5 7 6 2 1 2 4 3
Delaware 57 0 0 0 1 2 1 4 6 13 30
District of Columbia 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Florida 411 3 3 11 33 33 77 51 51 64 85
Georgia 535 1 0 4 7 16 48 40 81 97 241
Hawaii 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Idaho 200 0 0 1 4 5 10 10 20 28 122
Illinois 1,299 1 0 7 21 61 127 114 113 223 632
Indiana 567 1 1 2 10 19 44 38 54 134 264
Iowa 947 0 0 2 8 10 15 40 55 148 669
Kansas 627 1 0 4 3 8 20 21 44 98 428
Kentucky 419 1 1 0 2 8 25 39 50 86 207
Louisiana 303 0 3 1 4 4 23 28 39 73 128
Maine 22 0 0 0 1 2 7 9 2 1 0
Maryland 157 1 0 0 4 4 13 16 25 33 61
Massachusetts 45 1 0 4 15 21 4 0 0 0 0
Michigan 533 1 0 6 17 21 49 57 69 138 175
Minnesota 854 1 1 0 15 18 57 48 80 126 508
Mississippi 296 0 0 1 1 9 28 24 29 67 137
Missouri 952 2 0 2 8 13 46 52 84 134 611
Montana 129 0 0 1 2 3 1 8 14 27 73
Nebraska 530 1 1 0 0 5 9 16 17 60 421
Nevada 19 1 2 1 2 0 4 3 2 4 0
New Hampshire 13 0 0 1 1 3 6 2 0 0 0
New Jersey 324 0 2 2 9 19 77 86 55 50 24
New Mexico 101 1 0 0 3 6 7 16 5 27 36
New York 618 1 2 2 8 21 52 79 107 165 181
North Carolina 548 2 2 3 8 15 41 42 94 105 236
North Dakota 357 0 0 0 3 1 5 3 3 33 309
Ohio 938 3 2 1 13 40 112 81 110 166 410
Oklahoma 594 2 0 1 4 6 27 33 53 97 371
Oregon 242 1 0 2 6 10 24 30 26 56 87
Pennsylvania 1,016 2 0 2 4 12 49 127 175 238 407
Rhode Island 8 0 0 1 3 2 2 0 0 0 0
South Carolina 268 0 0 2 4 9 19 23 42 50 119
South Dakota 309 0 0 1 1 0 7 5 13 32 250
Tennessee 347 2 0 3 4 16 26 41 47 91 117
Texas 1,209 7 5 15 30 46 103 122 172 282 427
Utah 242 0 0 3 7 18 16 32 22 39 105
Vermont 45 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 4 8 24
Virginia 229 1 2 5 3 8 19 20 24 55 92
Washington 281 1 0 4 10 23 34 40 32 52 85
West Virginia 232 0 0 0 1 4 9 12 24 58 124
Wisconsin 592 1 1 1 9 17 53 53 75 140 242
Wyoming 99 0 0 0 2 1 5 8 7 17 59

 

Sources

U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, Local Governments and Public School Systems by Type and State, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed March 17, 2011, http://www.census.gov/govs/cog/GovOrgTab03ss.html.

U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, Government Organization, Table 7: Subcounty General-Purpose Governments by Population-Size Group and State. Census of Governments (2007).