Number of Local Governments by State

Some states are home to significant numbers of local governments, with numerous jurisdictional boundaries and overlapping special districts.

Nationally, there were a total of 38,779 general-purpose governments in the United States in 2017, along with another 51,296 special districts. States with the most counties, cities, towns and other general local governments are:

  • Illinois: 2,828
  • Minnesota: 2,720
  • Pennsylvania: 2,625
  • Ohio: 2,327
  • Kansas: 1,993
  • Wisconsin: 1,924
  • Michigan: 1,856
  • North Dakota: 1,718
  • Indiana: 1,662
  • New York: 1,587

The Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments every five years, categorizing each government in the country. 

General purpose governments include all counties, cities, towns, townships, villages and other jurisdictions serving as the primary government in an area. Special districts consist of school districts, water authorities, parks districts and other public entities serving a more specific function.

State Total Local Government Units General Purpose Special Districts
Alabama 1,195 528 667
Alaska 179 164 15
Arizona 658 106 552
Arkansas 1,541 576 965
California 4,444 539 3,905
Colorado 3,141 333 2,808
Connecticut 625 179 446
Delaware 334 60 274
District of Columbia 2 1 1
Florida 1,712 478 1,234
Georgia 1,380 689 691
Hawaii 21 4 17
Idaho 1,170 244 926
Illinois 6,918 2,828 4,090
Indiana 2,638 1,662 976
Iowa 1,941 1,042 899
Kansas 3,792 1,993 1,799
Kentucky 1,322 535 787
Louisiana 516 364 152
Maine 834 504 330
Maryland 344 180 164
Massachusetts 858 356 502
Michigan 2,863 1,856 1,007
Minnesota 3,643 2,720 923
Mississippi 969 380 589
Missouri 3,768 1,341 2,427
Montana 1,226 183 1,043
Nebraska 2,538 988 1,550
Nevada 189 35 154
New Hampshire 541 244 297
New Jersey 1,338 586 752
New Mexico 1,013 138 875
New York 3,450 1,587 1,863
North Carolina 970 652 318
North Dakota 2,664 1,718 946
Ohio 3,897 2,327 1,570
Oklahoma 1,830 667 1,163
Oregon 1,510 276 1,234
Pennsylvania 4,830 2,625 2,205
Rhode Island 129 39 90
South Carolina 671 316 355
South Dakota 1,916 1,279 637
Tennessee 906 437 469
Texas 5,343 1,472 3,871
Utah 619 279 340
Vermont 729 293 436
Virginia 517 323 194
Washington 1,900 320 1,580
West Virginia 651 287 364
Wisconsin 3,096 1,924 1,172
Wyoming 794 122 672

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 Census of Governments

Local Governments Per Capita

The following table shows numbers of governments per capita by state using the data above and 2017 Census population estimates. States with the most total units of government per capita include North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

State Total Local Units Per 100K General Purpose Governments Per 100K Special Districts Per 100K
Alabama 24.5 10.8 13.7
Alaska 24.2 22.2 2.0
Arizona 9.3 1.5 7.8
Arkansas 51.3 19.2 32.1
California 11.3 1.4 9.9
Colorado 55.9 5.9 50.0
Connecticut 17.5 5.0 12.5
Delaware 34.9 6.3 28.6
District of Columbia 0.3 0.1 0.1
Florida 8.2 2.3 5.9
Georgia 13.3 6.6 6.6
Hawaii 1.5 0.3 1.2
Idaho 68.1 14.2 53.9
Illinois 54.1 22.1 32.0
Indiana 39.6 25.0 14.7
Iowa 61.7 33.1 28.6
Kansas 130.3 68.5 61.8
Kentucky 29.7 12.0 17.7
Louisiana 11.0 7.8 3.3
Maine 62.5 37.8 24.7
Maryland 5.7 3.0 2.7
Massachusetts 12.5 5.2 7.3
Michigan 28.7 18.6 10.1
Minnesota 65.4 48.8 16.6
Mississippi 32.4 12.7 19.7
Missouri 61.7 22.0 39.7
Montana 116.4 17.4 99.0
Nebraska 132.4 51.5 80.8
Nevada 6.4 1.2 5.2
New Hampshire 40.1 18.1 22.0
New Jersey 15.1 6.6 8.5
New Mexico 48.4 6.6 41.8
New York 17.6 8.1 9.5
North Carolina 9.4 6.3 3.1
North Dakota 352.8 227.5 125.3
Ohio 33.4 20.0 13.5
Oklahoma 46.5 17.0 29.6
Oregon 36.4 6.7 29.8
Pennsylvania 37.8 20.5 17.2
Rhode Island 12.2 3.7 8.5
South Carolina 13.4 6.3 7.1
South Dakota 219.4 146.5 72.9
Tennessee 13.5 6.5 7.0
Texas 18.9 5.2 13.7
Utah 19.9 9.0 11.0
Vermont 116.7 46.9 69.8
Virginia 6.1 3.8 2.3
Washington 25.6 4.3 21.3
West Virginia 35.8 15.8 20.0
Wisconsin 53.5 33.2 20.2
Wyoming 137.1 21.1 116.1

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 Census of Governments

Local Governments U.S. Map

View an interactive map showing areas of the country with the most local governments.