There are a lot of local jurisdictions in America. In fact, a total of 38,779 cities, counties, towns and other general-purpose local governments span the United States. How they’re spread out across different parts of the country, though, varies considerably. Some metropolitan areas are served by several hundred different governments, while others comprise fewer than a dozen.
Governing compiled new data from the Census Bureau’s Census of Governments, a national survey conducted every five years. Local governments are most concentrated in the Midwest. The Pittsburgh metro area is home to the most general-purpose governments per capita of any area with a population of at least a million, followed by Louisville and St. Louis.
Major discrepancies exist across states as well. The Census Bureau counted 2,828 local governments in Illinois, the most of any state, followed by 2,720 in Minnesota. On the low end, Hawaii has only four local governments, while Nevada has just 35.
The following heat map depicts all general-purpose local governments across the country. Areas with more jurisdictions or governments per capita are thought to be more fragmented. Zoom in to view each city, county, town, village or borough. Independent school districts, utility districts and other special-purpose districts are not shown.
Data: 2017 Census of Governments, U.S. Census Bureau
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