Consolidated city-county

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In United States local government, a consolidated city-county is a city and county that have been merged into one unified jurisdiction. As such it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal corporation, and a county, which is an administrative division of a state. It has the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities.

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

Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. Most states and territories have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities. In some states, counties are divided into townships. 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.

City Large and permanent human settlement

A city is a large human settlement. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organisations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.


A consolidated city-county is different from an independent city, although the latter may result from consolidation of a city and a county and may also have the same powers as a consolidated city-county. An independent city is a city not deemed by its state to be located within the boundary of any county and recognized by its state as a legal territorial entity separate from surrounding or adjoining counties. A consolidated city-county differs from an independent city in that the city and county both nominally exist, although they have a consolidated government, whereas in an independent city, the county does not even nominally exist. [1]

In the United States, an independent city is a city that is not in the territory of any county or counties with exceptions noted below. Of the 41 independent U.S. cities, 38 are in Virginia, whose state constitution makes them a special case. The three independent cities outside Virginia are Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; and Carson City, Nevada. The U.S. Census Bureau uses counties as its base unit for presentation of statistical information, and treats independent cities as county equivalents for those purposes. The most populous of them is Baltimore, Maryland.

Not considering Hawaii, which has no independent cities, the Midwest and Upper South have the highest concentration of large consolidated city-county governments in the United States, includingIndianapolis, Indiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Kansas City, Kansas; and Lexington, Kentucky. Currently, the largest consolidated city-county in the United States by population is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while the largest by land area is Sitka, Alaska.

Hawaii U.S. state in the United States

Hawaii is a state of the United States of America. It is the only state located in the Pacific Ocean and the only state composed entirely of islands.

Midwestern United States one of four census regions of the United States of America

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau. It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.

Upland South vernacular geographic region in the Southern United States

The terms Upland South and Upper South refer to the northern section of the Southern United States, in contrast to the Lower South or Deep South.

In Louisiana, consolidated-city counties are called city-parish consolidated governments. New Orleans City-Parish is one example. [2]

New Orleans Largest city in Louisiana

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 391,006 in 2018, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.


According to information compiled by former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk, 105 referenda were held in the United States between 1902 and 2010 to consider proposals to consolidate cities and counties. Only 27 of these proposals were approved by voters. [3]

David Patrick Rusk is an American politician. He served as mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1977 to 1981. He is the son of former United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Rusk is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley.

A referendum is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal, it can be nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new policy or specific law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.

Wyandotte County, Kansas, uses the term "unified government" to refer to its consolidation with Kansas City, Kansas, and most of the towns within the county boundaries in which some cities and towns remain separate jurisdictions within the county. Individual sections of a metropolitan or regional municipality may retain some autonomous jurisdiction apart from the citywide government.

Wyandotte County, Kansas Consolidated city-county in Kansas

Wyandotte County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 157,505, making it the fourth-most populous county in Kansas. Its county seat and most populous city is Kansas City, with which it shares a unified government. Wyandotte County lies immediately north of Johnson County, Kansas and west of Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City, Kansas Consolidated city-county in Kansas, United States

Kansas City, abbreviated as "KCK", is the third-largest city in the State of Kansas, the county seat of Wyandotte County, and the third-largest city of the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is situated at Kaw Point, which is the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers. It borders Johnson County, Kansas to the south and Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) to the east, after which Kansas City Kansas is named. It is part of a consolidated city-county government known as the "Unified Government". Wyandotte County also includes the independent cities of Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, a portion of Lake Quivira, and the unincorporated area known as Loring. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 145,786 residents.

Often, in place of another level of government, local governments form councils of governments – essentially governmental organizations which are not empowered with any law-making or law enforcement powers. This is the case in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) studies and makes recommendations on the impact of all major construction and development projects on the region, but generally cannot stop them. The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) is a true government agency of the state of Georgia, and does control some state transportation monies to the cities and counties, but otherwise has very little authority beyond this small power of the purse.

The case of New York City is unique, in that the city consists of five boroughs, each of which is co-extensive with a county. Each borough, being coterminous with a county, has its own district attorney; however, county-level government is essentially non-existent as all executive and legislative power is exercised by the city government throughout the five boroughs. The city, as currently constituted, was created in 1898 when the city of New York (then comprising what would become the boroughs of Manhattan and The Bronx) annexed Kings County, Queens County, and Richmond County as the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, respectively.

Similar arrangements also exist in other countries. England has six "metropolitan counties" created in 1974: Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands, and West Yorkshire. From 1986, these metropolitan counties do not have county councils but rather joint boards for certain functions. Modern unitary authorities are similar, and are known as county boroughs in Wales. In Scotland, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are functionally "independent cities", though the term is not used. London is unique however, being a ceremonial county (officially known as Greater London) containing the ancient City of London and 32 London boroughs. The single square mile that comprises the City of London is only a tiny part of the London as a capital city, which takes up 607 square miles.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, there exist several single-tier municipalities which serve the same sort of functions as American consolidated city-counties. One example of this is the City of Toronto, which was created in 1998 from the amalgamation of the central government and the six constituent municipalities of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (a type of regional municipality) which was originally created in 1954.

In Germany, Berlin and Hamburg are both cities and states (the state of Bremen consists of the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven). Nearly every larger city in Germany is a consolidated city-county, like Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich or Dresden; Austria, where the capital of Vienna is both a city and state; France, where the capital city of Paris has been coterminous with the département of Paris since 1968; and South Korea, where Seoul is a special city , while six other cities (Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon, and Ulsan) are metropolitan cities. Additionally, the Australian Capital Territory government in Australia performs all municipal functions of the city of Canberra, and thus functions as an integrated city-territory. Similarly, the City of Tokyo merged with the prefecture to form Tokyo metropolis in 1943.


In nine consolidated city-county governments in the United States, the formerly independent incorporated places maintain some governmental powers. In these cities, which the United States Census Bureau calls "consolidated cities", statistics are recorded both for the entire consolidated government and for the component municipalities. A part of the consolidated government is called the "balance", which the Census Bureau defines as "the consolidated city minus the semi-independent incorporated places located within the consolidated city". [4]

These consolidated cities are: [4]

List of consolidated city-counties

Consolidated since their creation



Merged with some independent municipalities

Five cities in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia were formed by the consolidation of a city with a county: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach (from Norfolk, Elizabeth City, Warwick, Nansemond, and Princess Anne counties, respectively). However, in each case an independent city was created and as such they are not consolidated city-counties. Instead, the Code of Virginia uses the term "consolidated city." [26] Similarly, Carson City was consolidated with Ormsby County, Nevada in 1969, but the county was simultaneously dissolved. The city is now a municipality independent of any county.

Potentially consolidated

Considered consolidation

Formerly consolidated

See also

Related Research Articles

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States that is subordinate to a county. The term town is used in New England, New York, and Wisconsin to refer to the equivalent of the civil township in these states. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. Civil townships are distinct from survey townships, but in states that have both, the boundaries often coincide and may completely geographically subdivide a county. The U.S. Census Bureau classifies civil townships as minor civil divisions. Currently, there are 20 states with civil townships.

Administrative divisions of New York (state) territorial entity in New York, USA used for administration

The administrative divisions of New York are the various units of government that provide local services, "local" meaning "not statewide", in the State of New York. The New York State Constitution standardized the names and functions of these statewide.

City of Greater New York Expansion of New York City into a single City

The City of Greater New York was the term used by many politicians and scholars for the expanded City of New York created on January 1, 1898, by consolidating the existing City of New York with the East Bronx, Brooklyn, western Queens County, and Staten Island. The section of the Bronx west of the Bronx River had been annexed to the City and County of New York in 1874 and was known as the Annexed District.

Borough (United States) administrative division at the local government level in the United States

A borough in some U.S. states is a unit of local government or other administrative division below the level of the state. The term is currently used in six states:

Boroughs of New York City administrative division of New York City

New York City encompasses five county-level administrative divisions called boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Each borough is coterminous with a respective county of New York State. The boroughs of Queens and the Bronx are concurrent with the counties of the same name, while the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island correspond to New York, Kings, and Richmond counties, respectively.

A merger, consolidation or amalgamation, in a political or administrative sense, is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities, such as municipalities, counties, districts, etc., into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity.

Village (United States) administrative division at the local government level in the United States

In the United States, the meaning of "village" varies by geographic area and legal jurisdiction. In many areas, "village" is a term, sometimes informal, for a type of administrative division at the local government level. Since the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from legislating on local government, the states are free to have political subdivisions called "villages" or not to and to define the word in many ways. Typically, a village is a type of municipality, although it can also be a special district or an unincorporated area. It may or may not be recognized for governmental purposes.

A coterminous municipality, sometimes also known as a coterminous city or a coterminous town-village, is a form of local government in some U.S. states in which a municipality and one or more civil townships are coterminous and have partial or complete consolidation of their government functions. A term used for the formation of such a local government is "township and municipal consolidation." This form of local government is distinct from a municipality coterminous with a higher level of government, which is called a consolidated city-county or a variation of that term.

This article includes information about the 100 most populous incorporated cities, the 100 most populous Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs), and the 100 most populous Primary Statistical Areas (PSAs) of the United States and Puerto Rico. This information is displayed in two tables. The first table ranks the cities, CBSAs, and PSAs separately by population. The second table displays the areas in hierarchical order by the most populous PSA, then most populous CBSA, and then most populous city.


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