County

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes,[1] in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount.[2] The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc. (cf. conte, comte, conde, Graf).

When the Normans conquered England, they brought the term with them. The Saxons had already established the districts that became the historic counties of England, calling them shires;[3] many county names derive from the name of the county town (county seat) with the word "shire" added on: for example, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.[4]

The Anglo-Saxon terms "earl" and "earldom" were taken as equivalent to the continental terms "count" and "county" under the conquering Normans, and over time the two blended and became equivalent. Further, the later-imported term became a synonym for the native English word scir ([ʃiːr]) or, in Modern English, shire. Since a shire was an administrative division of the kingdom, the term "county" evolved to designate an administrative division of a federal state, as in Germany and the United States, or of a national government in most other modern uses.

In the United States and Canada, founded 600 years later[a] on the British traditions, counties are usually an administrative division set by convenient geographical demarcations, which in governance have certain officeholders (e.g., sheriffs and their departments) as a part of the state and provincial mechanisms, including geographically common court systems.[5]

A county may be further subdivided into districts, hundreds, townships or other administrative jurisdictions within the county. A county usually, but not always, contains cities, towns, townships, villages, or other municipal corporations, which in most cases are somewhat subordinate or dependent upon county governments. Depending on the nation, municipality, and local geography, municipalities may or may not be subject to direct or indirect county control—the functions of both levels are often consolidated into a city government when the area is densely populated.[b]

Outside English-speaking countries, an equivalent of the term "county" is often used to describe subnational jurisdictions that are structurally equivalent to counties in the relationship they have with their national government;[c] but which may not be administratively equivalent to counties in predominantly English-speaking countries.

Argentina

Provinces in Argentina are divided into departments (departamentos), except in the Buenos Aires Province, where they are called partidos. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes (comunas).

Australia

In the eastern states of Australia, counties are used in the administration of land titles. They do not generally correspond to a level of government, but are used in the identification of parcels of land.

Canada

Five of Canada's provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island – are divided into counties. In those older provinces that have a two-tier system of municipal government, the counties constitute the upper tier and local municipalities form the lower tier. In addition to counties, Ontario is also subdivided into territorial districts, district municipalities, metropolitan municipalities, and regional municipalities which are also part of the upper tier. British Columbia is divided into regional districts that form the upper tier. They are subdivided into local municipalities that are partly autonomous, and unincorporated electoral areas that are governed directly by the regional districts. The rest of Canada has only one level of municipal government. Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Yukon use their municipalities as regional and local subdivisions without any real differentiation between the two. In Alberta, a "county" used to be a type of designation in a single-tier municipal system; but this was changed to "municipal district" under the Municipal Government Act, when the County Act was repealed in the mid-1990s, at which time they were also permitted to retain the usage of county in their official names.[6]

People's Republic of China

The word "county" is used to translate the Chinese term xiàn ( or ). In Mainland China, governed by the People's Republic of China (PRC), counties are the third level of local government, coming under both the province level and the prefecture level.

There are 1,464 counties in the PRC out of 2,862 county-level divisions. The number of counties has remained more or less constant since the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220). The county remains one of the oldest levels of government in China and significantly predates the establishment of provinces in the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). The county government was particularly important in imperial China because this was the lowest layer at which the imperial government functioned. The head of a county during imperial times was the magistrate.

In older context, "district" was an older English translation of xiàn before the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC). The English nomenclature "county" was adopted following the establishment of the ROC.

During most of the imperial times, there were no concepts like municipalities in China. All cities existed within counties, commanderies, prefectures, etc., and had no governments of their own.[7] Large cities (must be imperial capitals or seats of prefectures) could be divided and administered by two or three counties. Such counties are called 倚郭縣 yǐguō xiàn ("county leaning on the city walls"), or 附郭縣 fùguō xiàn ("county attached to the city walls"). The yamen or governmental houses of these counties exist in the same city. In other words, they share one county town. In this sense, a yǐguō xiàn or fùguō xiàn is similar to a district of a city.

For example, the city of Guangzhou (seat of the eponymous prefecture, also known as Canton in the Western world) was historically divided by Nanhai County (南海縣) and Panyu County (番禺縣). When the first modern city government in China was established in Guangzhou, the urban area was separated from these two counties, with the rural areas left in the remaining parts of them. However, the county governments remained in the city for years, before moving into the respective counties. Similar processes happened in many Chinese cities.

Nowadays, most counties in mainland China are administered by prefecture-level cities. However, they are all rural areas, and no longer serve as urban districts.

Denmark

Denmark was divided into counties (amter) from 1662 to 2006. On 1 January 2007 the counties were replaced by five Regions. At the same time, the number of municipalities was slashed to 98.

The counties were first introduced in 1662, replacing the 49 fiefs (len) in Denmark–Norway with the same number of counties. This number does not include the subdivisions of the Duchy of Schleswig, which was only under partial Danish control. The number of counties in Denmark (excluding Norway) had dropped to c. 20 by 1793. Following the reunification of South Jutland with Denmark in 1920, four counties replaced the Prussian Kreise. Aabenraa and Sønderborg County merged in 1932 and Skanderborg and Aarhus were separated in 1942. From 1942 to 1970, the number stayed at 22.[8] The number was further decreased by the 1970 Danish municipal reform, leaving 14 counties plus two cities unconnected to the county structure; Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.

In 2003, Bornholm County merged with the local five municipalities, forming the Bornholm Regional Municipality. The remaining 13 counties were abolished on 1 January 2007 where they were replaced by five new regions. In the same reform, the number of municipalities was slashed from 270 to 98 and all municipalities now belong to a region.

France

A comté was a territory ruled by a count (comte) in medieval France. In modern France, the rough equivalent of a "county" as used in many English-speaking countries is a department.

Germany

For the situation in Germany compare Kreise. Each administrative district consists of an elected council and an executive, and whose duties are comparable to those of a county executive in the United States, supervising local government administration. Historically, counties in the Holy Roman Empire were called Grafschaften.

Hungary

The administrative unit of Hungary is called megye (historically, they were also called vármegye, or comitatus in Latin), which can be translated with the word county. The 19 counties constitute the highest level of the administrative subdivisions of the country together with the capital city Budapest, although counties and the capital are grouped into seven statistical regions.

Counties are subdivided to municipalities, the two types of which are towns and villages, each one having their own elected mayor and council. 23 of the towns have the rights of a county although they do not form independent territorial units equal to counties. Municipalities are grouped within counties into subregions (kistérség in Hungarian), which have statistical and organizational functions only.

The vármegye was also the historic administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary, which included areas of present-day neighbouring countries of Hungary. Its Latin name (comitatus) is the equivalent of the French comté. Actual political and administrative role of counties changed much through history. Originally they were subdivisions of the royal administration, but from the 13th century A.D. they became self-governments of the nobles and kept this character until the 19th century when in turn they became modern local governments.

Iran

Iran Counties
Counties of Iran

The ostans (provinces) of Iran are further subdivided into counties called shahrestan (Persian: شهرستان‎, shahrestān). County consists of a city centre, a few bakhsh (Persian: بخش‎, bakhsh), and many villages around them. There are usually a few cities (Persian: شهر‎, shahar) and rural agglomerations (Persian: دهستان‎, dehestān) in each county. Rural agglomerations are a collection of a number of villages. One of the cities of the county is appointed as the capital of the county.

Each shahrestan has a government office known as Farmandari, which coordinates different events and government offices. The Farmandar, or the head of Farmandari, is the governor of the Shahrestan.

Fars Province has the highest number of Shahrestans, with 23, while Semnān and South Khorasan have only 4 Shahrestans each; Qom uniquely has one, being coextensive with its namesake county. Iran had 324 Shahrestans in 2005.

Ireland

The island of Ireland was historically divided into 32 counties, of which 26 later formed the Republic of Ireland and 6 made up Northern Ireland.

These counties are traditionally grouped into 4 provinces: Leinster (12), Munster (6) Connacht (5) and Ulster (9). Historically, the counties of Meath, Westmeath and small parts of surrounding counties constituted the province of Mide, which was one of the "Five Fifths" of Ireland (in the Irish language the word for province, Cúige, from Cúig, five means "a fifth"); however, these have long since become the three northernmost counties of Leinster province. In the Republic each county is administered by an elected "county council", and the old provincial divisions are merely traditional names with no political significance.

The number and boundaries of administrative counties in the Republic of Ireland were reformed in the 1990s. For example, County Dublin was divided into three: Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin; the City of Dublin had existed for centuries before. The cities of Cork and Galway have been separated from the town and rural areas of their counties. The cities of Limerick and Waterford were merged with their respective counties in 2014. Thus, the Republic of Ireland now has thirty-one 'county-level' authorities, although the borders of the original twenty-six counties are still officially in place.[9]

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils and the smaller town councils were abolished in 1973 and replaced by a single tier of local government. However, in the north as well as in the south, the traditional 32 counties and 4 provinces remain in common usage for many sporting, cultural and other purposes. County identity is heavily reinforced in the local culture by allegiances to county teams in Hurling and Gaelic football. Each Gaelic Athletic Association county has its own flag/colours (and often a nickname too), and county allegiances are taken quite seriously. See the counties of Ireland and the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Italy

In Italy the word county is not used; the administrative sub-division of a region is called provincia. Italian provinces are mainly named after their principal town and comprise several administrative subdivisions called comuni (communes). There are currently 110 provinces in Italy.[10]

In the context of pre-modern Italy, the Italian word contado generally refers to the countryside surrounding, and controlled by, the city state. The contado provided natural resources and agricultural products to sustain the urban population. In contemporary usage, contado can refer to a metropolitan area, and in some cases large rural/suburban regions providing resources to distant cities.[11]

Jamaica

Jamaica is divided into fourteen parishes which are grouped together into three historic counties: Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey.

Kenya

Counties are the current second level political division in Kenya. Each county has an assembly where members of the county assembly (MCAs) sit. This assembly is headed by a Governor. Each county is also represented in the Senate of Kenya by a senator. Additionally, a Women's Representative is elected from each county to the Parliament of Kenya to represent women's interests. Counties replaced provinces as the second level division after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.

Korea

County is the common English translation for the character 군 (gun or kun) that denotes the current second level political division in South Korea and one type of municipal-level division in North Korea.

Liberia

Liberia has 15 counties, each of which elects two senators to the Liberian Senate.

Lithuania

Apskritis (pl. apskritys) is the Lithuanian word for county. Since 1994 Lithuania has 10 counties; before 1950 it had 20. The only purpose with the county is an office of a state governor who shall conduct law and order in the county. See counties of Lithuania.

New Zealand

After New Zealand abolished its provinces in 1876, a system of counties similar to other countries' systems was instituted, lasting until 1989. They had chairmen, not mayors as boroughs and cities had; many legislative provisions (such as burial and land subdivision control) were different for the counties.

During the second half of the 20th century, many counties received overflow population from nearby cities. The result was often a merger of the two into a "district" (e.g. Rotorua) or a change of name to "district" (e.g. Waimairi) or "city" (e.g. Manukau City).

The Local Government Act 1974 began the process of bringing urban, mixed, and rural councils into the same legislative framework. Substantial reorganisations under that Act resulted in the 1989 shake-up, which covered the country in (non-overlapping) cities and districts and abolished all the counties except for the Chatham Islands County, which survived under that name for a further 6 years but then became a "Territory" under the "Chatham Islands Council".

Norway

Norway is divided into 18 counties (sing. fylke, plur. fylke/fylker) since 1972. Up to that year Bergen was a separate county, but is today a municipality in the county of Hordaland. All counties form administrative entities called county municipalities (sing. fylkeskommune, plur. fylkeskommunar/fylkeskommuner), further subdivided into municipalities, (sing. kommune, plur. kommunar/kommuner). One county, Oslo, is not divided into municipalities, rather it is equivalent to the municipality of Oslo.

Each county has its own county council (fylkesting) whose representatives are elected every four years together with representatives to the municipal councils. The counties handle matters as high schools and local roads, and until 1 January 2002 hospitals as well. This responsibility was transferred to the state-run health authorities and health trusts, and there is a debate on the future of the county municipality as an administrative entity. Some people, and parties, such as the Conservative and Progress Party, call for the abolishment of the county municipalities once and for all, while others, including the Labour Party, merely want to merge some of them into larger regions.

Poland

A second-level administrative division in Poland is called a powiat. (This is a subdivision of a voivodeship, or province, and is further subdivided into gminas.) The term is often translated into English as county (or sometimes district).

Romania

Romania is divided into 41 jurisdictions. A jurisdiction is called a județ.

The Romanian word for county, comitat, is not currently used for any Romanian administrative divisions.

Sweden

The Swedish division into counties was established in 1634, and was based on an earlier division into Provinces. Sweden is today divided into 21 counties. At the county level there is a county administrative board led by a governor appointed by the central government of Sweden, as well as an elected county council that handles a separate set of issues, notably hospitals and public transportation for the municipalities within its borders.

The Swedish term used is län, which literally means "fief".

Taiwan (Republic of China)

County is the common English translation for the character 縣 that denotes the current first level political division in Taiwan and surrounding islands. However, provincial cities have the same level of authority as counties. Above county, there are special municipalities (in effect) and province (suspended due to economical and political reasons).

There are currently 14 counties in Taiwan.

United Kingdom

English ceremonial counties 1998
Ceremonial counties of England

The United Kingdom is divided into a number of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. There are also ceremonial counties which group small non-metropolitan counties into geographical areas broadly based on the historic counties of England. In 1974, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties replaced the system of administrative counties and county boroughs which was introduced in 1889.

Most non-metropolitan counties in England are run by county councils and are divided into non-metropolitan districts, each with its own council. Local authorities in the UK are usually responsible for education, emergency services, planning, transport, social services, and a number of other functions.

In England, in the Anglo-Saxon period, shires were established as areas used for the raising of taxes, and usually had a fortified town at their centre. This became known as the shire town or later the county town. In many cases, the shires were named after their shire town (for example Bedfordshire), but there are several exceptions, such as Cumberland, Norfolk and Suffolk. In several other cases, such as Buckinghamshire, the modern county town is different from the town for which the shire is named. (See Toponymical list of counties of the United Kingdom)

The name "county" was introduced by the Normans, and was derived from a Norman term for an area administered by a Count (lord). These Norman "counties" were simply the Saxon shires, and kept their Saxon names. Several traditional counties, including Essex, Sussex and Kent, predate the unification of England by Alfred the Great, and were originally more or less independent kingdoms.

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils, if not their counties, were abolished in 1973 and replaced by 26 local government districts. The traditional six counties remain in common everyday use for many cultural and other purposes.

The thirteen historic counties of Wales were fixed by statute in 1539 (although counties such as Pembrokeshire date from 1138) and most of the shires of Scotland are of at least this age. In the Gaelic form, Scottish traditional county names are generally distinguished by the designation siorramachd—literally "sherrifdom", e.g. Siorramachd Earra-ghaidheal (Argyllshire). This term corresponds to the jurisdiction of the sheriff in the Scottish legal system.

Until 1974, the county boundaries of England changed little over time. In the mediæval period, a number of important cities were granted the status of counties in their own right, such as London, Bristol and Coventry, and numerous small exclaves such as Islandshire were created. In 1844, most of these exclaves were transferred to their surrounding counties.

In 1965 and 1974–1975, major reorganisations of local government in England and Wales created several new administrative counties such as Hereford and Worcester and also created several new metropolitan counties based on large urban areas as a single administrative unit. In Scotland, county-level local government was replaced by larger regions, which lasted until 1996. Modern local government in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a large part of England is trending towards smaller unitary authorities: a system similar to that proposed in the 1960s by the Redcliffe-Maud Report for most of Britain.

United States

Usa counties large
The 3,142 counties and county equivalents of the United States

Counties in U.S. states are administrative divisions of the state in which their boundaries are drawn; for example the territoriality medium sized state of Pennsylvania has 67 counties delineated in geographically convenient ways.[12] By way of contrast, Massachusetts with far less territory has massively sized counties in comparison even to Pennsylvania's largest,[d] yet each organizes their judicial and incarceration officials similarly. Today, 3,142 counties and county equivalents carve up the United States, ranging in quantity from 3 for Delaware to 254 for Texas.

Where they exist, they are the intermediate tier of state government, between the statewide tier and the immediately local government tier (typically a city, town/borough or village/township). Counties have functional purposes in 48 of the 50 states—usually judiciary, county prisons and land registration—sometimes enforcement of building codes, federally mandated services programs, and the like; the other two states (Connecticut and Rhode Island) have abolished their counties as functional entities. Of these remaining 48 states, 46 use the term "county" while Alaska and Louisiana use the terms "borough" and "parish", respectively, for analogous jurisdictions.

Depending on the individual state, counties or their equivalents may be administratively subdivided into townships, boroughs or boros, or towns (in the New England states, New York, and Wisconsin).

Except in New England, where strong government at the town level has historically existed since the area was settled, the township is generally subordinate to the county, which is generally subordinate to the state. In Virginia, however, all cities are independent and report directly to the commonwealth government; but notwithstanding they are not part of the county, they might operate as a county seat (e.g. the Independent City of Fairfax is the seat of Fairfax County, though it is not legally within Fairfax County). California has abolished its townships, though many general law cities continue to use the word "Town" as part of their name (e.g. "Town of Atherton" when it is, legally, the City of Atherton).

Alaska is divided into boroughs, which typically provide fewer local services than do most U.S. counties, as the state government furnishes many services directly. Some of Alaska's boroughs have merged geographical boundaries and administrative functions with their principal (and sometimes only) cities; these are known as unified city-boroughs and result in some of Alaska's cities ranking among the geographically largest "cities" in the world. Other states have similar mechanisms to combine government services and functions in a nearly converse situation—establishing equivalents of consolidated city-county governments[12]—a few examples of such combinations existing as exceptions within the state: the five boroughs of New York, Philadelphia,[12] Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in general, most very large U.S. cities; each level of governance may have been restructured to local needs and realities. Nevertheless, Alaska considers such entities to be boroughs, not cities; while many states consider city government to supersede (or absorb) the powers normally the province of counties. Alaska is also unique in that more than half the geographic area of the state is in the "Unorganized Borough", a legal entity in which the state also functions as the local government.

In New York 5 of the 62 are administrative divisions of the City of New York. These five are each called "boroughs" in context of city government, but are still called "county" where state function is involved, e.g., "New York County Courthouse".

Most counties have a county seat, a city, town, or other named place where its administrative functions are centered. Some counties have no incorporated municipalities, such as Arlington County, Virginia. In several instances throughout the nation, a municipality has merged with a county into one jurisdiction so the county seat is coextensive with the county, forming a consolidated city-county, such as Lexington-Fayette County in Kentucky. Some New England states use the term shire town to mean "county seat".

Notes

  1. ^ justification: 1666 in the consolidation of Canada after the French and Indian War from the 1066 Norman Conquest... 600yrs, Q.E.D.
  2. ^ The larger the population center, and the denser the population, the more likely it is to have assumed and subsumed county level functions; normally under a special bill passed by the cognizant legislative body.
  3. ^ National governments that are Federations, such as Germany have subdivisions similar to the English Counties in size. France has provinces and districts which similarly provide governmental services. Which services are mapped to which governmental offices, level or officials is the province of the national constitution and legislative body.
  4. ^ e.g. Westmoreland, Washington in western Pennsylvania.

References

  1. ^ Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh
  2. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, C. W. Onions (Ed.), 1966, Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Vision of Britain [1] — Type details for ancient county. Retrieved 31 March 2012
  4. ^ Etymology of the word county.
  5. ^ "County Government". Citizen's Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government (pdf): 8. 2010. Retrieved 2016-08-09. The eleven elected county officers are enumerated in the Pennsylvania Constitution, but their powers and duties are prescribed by statutes located through out the county codes and general state laws. Consolidation of certain offices in smaller counties involves the offices of prothonotary, clerk of courts, register of wills and recorder of deeds.
  6. ^ Province of Alberta. "Transitional Provisions, Consequential Amendments, Repeal and Commencement (Municipal Government Act)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  7. ^ There were exceptions in the Jīn and Yuan dynasties, when cities were separated from counties and independently administered by institutions like 録事司 (lù shi sī) and 司候司 (sī hòu sī).
  8. ^ "Amternes administration 1660-1970 (in Danish)". Dansk Center for Byhistorie.
  9. ^ OSI.ie
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Guenzi, Alberto (2016). Guilds, Markets and Work Regulations in Italy, 16th–19th Centuries. Routledge. ISBN 9781351931960.
  12. ^ a b c "County Government". Citizen's Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government (pdf): 8 of 56. 2010. Retrieved 2016-08-09.

External links

  • Media related to Counties at Wikimedia Commons
Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. In 2016, the county's population was estimated at 230,050, making it the sixth-largest county in Virginia, or the fourth-largest city if it were incorporated as such. It is the 5th highest-income county in the U.S. by median family income and has the highest concentration of singles in the region.The county is coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau's census-designated place of Arlington. Though a county, it is also treated as the second-largest principal city of the Washington metropolitan area.

The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River directly across from the District of Columbia, of which it was once a part. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, has no incorporated towns within its borders. Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the capital region and U.S. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Many schools and universities have campuses in Arlington, most prominently the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University.

Augusta, Georgia

Augusta (US: ), officially Augusta–Richmond County, is a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city lies across the Savannah River from South Carolina at the head of its navigable portion. Georgia's second-largest city after Atlanta, Augusta is located in the Piedmont section of the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Augusta–Richmond County had a 2017 estimated population of 197,166, not counting the unconsolidated cities of Blythe and Hephzibah. It is the 122nd largest city in the United States. The process of consolidation between the City of Augusta and Richmond County began with a 1995 referendum in the two jurisdictions. The merger was completed on July 1, 1996. Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta metropolitan area, situated in both Georgia and South Carolina on both sides of the Savannah River. In 2017 it had an estimated population of 600,151, making it the second-largest metro area in the state. It is the 93rd largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Augusta was established in 1736 and is named for Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), the bride of Frederick, Prince of Wales and the mother of the British monarch George III. During the American Civil War, Augusta housed the principal Confederate powder works. Augusta's warm climate made it a major resort town of the Eastern United States in the early and mid-20th century. Internationally, Augusta is best known for hosting The Masters golf tournament each spring. The Masters brings over 200,000 visitors from across the world to the Augusta National Golf Club. Membership at Augusta National is widely considered to be the most exclusive in the sport of golf across the world.

Augusta lies approximately two hours east of downtown Atlanta by car via I-20. The city is home to Fort Gordon, a major U.S. Army base. In 2016, it was announced that the new National Cyber Security Headquarters would be based in Augusta, bringing as many as 10,000 cyber security specialists to the Fort Gordon area.

Cook County, Illinois

Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the second-most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California. As of 2017, the population was 5,211,263. Its county seat is Chicago, the largest city in Illinois and the third-most populous city in the United States. More than 40% of all residents of Illinois live in Cook County.

Cook County's population is larger than that of 28 individual U.S. states, and the combined populations of the seven smallest states. There are 135 incorporated municipalities partially or wholly within Cook County, the largest of which is Chicago, which is home to approximately 54% of the population of the county.

That part of the county which lies outside the Chicago city limits is divided into 29 townships; these often divide or share governmental services with local municipalities. Geographically, the county is the sixth-largest in Illinois by land area. It shares the state's Lake Michigan shoreline with Lake County. Including its lake area, the county has a total area of 1,635 square miles (4,234.6 km2), the largest county in Illinois, of which 945 square miles (2,447.5 km2) is land and 690 square miles (1,787.1 km2) (42.16%) is water. Land-use in Cook County is mainly urban and densely populated.

Cook County is included in the Chicago–Naperville–Elgin, IL–IN–WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is surrounded by what are known as the five collar counties.

Counties of England

The counties of England are areas used for different purposes, which include administrative, geographical, cultural and political demarcation. The term 'county' is not clearly defined and can apply to similar or the same areas used by each of these demarcation structures. These different types of county each have a more formal name but are commonly referred to just as 'counties'. The current arrangement is the result of incremental reform.

The original county structure has its origins in the Middle Ages. These counties are often referred to as historic or traditional counties.The Local Government Act 1888 created new areas for organising local government that it called administrative counties and county boroughs. These administrative areas adopted the names of, and closely resembled the areas of, the traditional counties. Later legislative changes to the new local government structure led to greater distinction between the traditional and the administrative counties.

The Local Government Act 1972 abolished the 1888 act, its administrative counties and county boroughs. In their place, the 1972 Act created new areas for handling local government that were also called administrative counties. The 1972 administrative counties differed distinctly in area from the 1888 administrative counties, that had now been abolished, and from the traditional counties, that had still not been abolished. Many of the names of the traditional counties were still being used now for the 1972 administrative counties. Later legislation created yet further area differences between the 1972 administrative counties and the traditional counties. In 2018, for the purpose of administration, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.

The Lieutenancies Act 1997 created areas to be used for the purpose of the Lieutencies Act. These newly created areas are called ceremonial counties and are based on, but not always the same as, the areas of the 1972 administrative counties.

For the purpose of sorting and delivering mail, England was divided into 48 postal counties until 1996; these have been abandoned by Royal Mail in favour of postcodes.

The term 'county', relating to any of its meanings, is used as the geographical basis for a number of institutions such as police and fire services, sports clubs and other non-government organisations.

County (United States)

In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, which is a region having 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.Most counties have subdivisions which may include municipalities and unincorporated areas. Others have no further divisions, or may serve as a consolidated city-county. Some municipalities are in multiple counties; New York City is uniquely partitioned into five counties, referred to at the city government level as boroughs.

The United States Census Bureau uses the term "county equivalent" to describe places that are comparable to counties, but called by different names. Louisiana parishes; the organized boroughs of Alaska; the District of Columbia; and the independent cities of the states of Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada are equivalent to counties for administrative purposes. Alaska's Unorganized Borough is divided into 10 census areas that are statistically equivalent to counties. As of 2018, there are currently 3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. If the 100 county equivalents in the U.S. territories are counted, then the total is 3,242 counties and county-equivalents in the United States.The number of counties per state ranges from the 3 counties of Delaware to the 254 counties of Texas.

The specific governmental powers of counties vary widely between the states. Counties have significant functions in all states except Rhode Island and Connecticut, where county governments have been abolished but the entities remain for administrative or statistical purposes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has removed most government functions from eight of its 14 counties.

The county with the largest population, Los Angeles County (10,170,292), and the county with the largest land area, San Bernardino County, border each other in Southern California (however four boroughs in Alaska are larger in area than San Bernardino).

Territories of the United States do not have counties (except for American Samoa, which does have them); instead, the United States Census Bureau divides them into county equivalents. While America Samoa does have its own counties, the U.S. Census Bureau counts American Samoa's districts and atolls as county-equivalents.

County Cork

County Cork (Irish: Contae Chorcaí) is a county in Ireland. It is the largest and southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The Cork County Council is the local authority for the county. Its largest market towns are Mallow, Macroom, Midleton, and Skibbereen. In 2016, the county's population was 542,868, making it the third-most populous county in Ireland. Notable Corkonians include Michael Collins, Jack Lynch, and Sonia O'Sullivan.

Cork borders four other counties; Kerry to the west, Limerick to the north, Tipperary to the north-east and Waterford to the east. The county contains the Golden Vale pastureland and stretches from Kanturk in the north to Allihies in the south. The south-west region, including West Cork, is one of Ireland's main tourist destinations, known for its rugged coast, megalithic monuments, and as the starting point for the Wild Atlantic Way.

The county is known as the "Rebel county", a name given to them by King Henry VII of England for its support of a man claiming to be Richard, Duke of York in a futile attempt at a rebellion. The main third-level educator is University College Cork, founded in 1845, and with a current undergraduate population around 15,000. Significant local industry and employers include technology company Dell EMC, the European headquarters of Apple, and Dairygold, which own milk-processing factories in Mitchelstown and Mallow.

County Donegal

County Donegal (; Irish: Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county of Ireland in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall, meaning "fort of the foreigners") in the south of the county. Donegal County Council is the local council and Lifford the county town.

The population was 159,192 at the 2016 census. It has also been known as (County) Tyrconnell (Tír Chonaill, meaning 'Land of Conall'), after the historic territory of the same name.

County seat

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.

List of counties in California

The U.S. state of California is divided into 58 counties. The region was first divided into twenty-seven counties on February 18, 1850. These were further sub-divided to form sixteen additional counties by 1860. Another fourteen were counties formed through further subdivision from 1861 to 1893. California is home to San Bernardino County, the largest county in the contiguous United States, as well as Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The most recent county to form was Imperial County, in 1907.

California counties are general law counties by default, but may be chartered as provided in Article XI, Section 3 of the California Constitution. A charter county is granted considerably more home rule authority than a general law county. Of the 58 counties in California, 14 are governed under a charter. They are Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Tehama.More counties in California are named for saints than in any other state.

List of counties in New York

There are 62 counties in the state of New York. The original twelve counties were created immediately after the British takeover of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1914, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County in the late 19th century and added to New York County. New York's counties are named for a variety of Native American words; British provinces, counties, cities, and royalty; early American statesmen and military personnel; and New York State politicians.The FIPS county code is the five-digit Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code which uniquely identifies counties and county equivalents in the United States. The three-digit number is unique to each individual county within a state, but to be unique within the entire United States, it must be prefixed by the state code. This means that, for example, while Albany County is 001, Addison County, Vermont, and Alachua County, Florida, are also 001. To uniquely identify Albany County, New York, one must use the state code of 36 plus the county code of 001; therefore, the unique nationwide identifier for Albany County, New York, is 36001. The links in the column FIPS County Code are to the Census Bureau Info page for that county.

List of counties in Pennsylvania

The following is a list of the sixty-seven counties of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The city of Philadelphia is coterminous with Philadelphia County, the municipalities having been consolidated in 1854, and all remaining county government functions having been merged into the city after a 1951 referendum. Eight of the ten most populous counties are in the southeastern portion of the state, including four out of the top five, and all of the top ten most populous counties are in either the Philadelphia or Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

List of counties in Texas

The U.S. state of Texas is divided into 254 counties, more than any other U.S. state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, the 23 municipalities became the original Texas counties. Many of these were later divided into new counties. The last county to be initially created was Kenedy County in 1921, but Loving County is the newest organized county; it was first organized in 1893 in an apparent scheme to defraud, abolished in 1897, then reorganized in 1931. Most of these recent counties, especially near the northwest, were created from Bexar County during the 1870s.Each county is run by a commissioners' court, consisting of four elected commissioners (one from each of four precincts drawn based on population) and a county judge elected from all the voters of the county. In smaller counties, the county judge actually does perform judicial duties, but in larger counties, the judge's role is limited to serving on the commissioners' court. Certain officials, such as the sheriff and tax collector, are elected separately by the voters, but the commissioners' court determines their office budgets, and sets overall county policy. All county elections are partisan; the one exception is the board of trustees of the Dallas County department of education (the Harris County trustees were elected on a nonpartisan basis until 1984).While the counties have eminent domain power and control all unincorporated land within their boundaries, they have neither home-rule authority nor zoning power. The county is responsible for providing essential services (except for fire and ambulance, which are often supplied by volunteer fire departments). Unlike other US states, Texas does not allow for consolidated city-county governments. Cities and counties (as well as other political entities) are permitted to enter "interlocal agreements" to share services (as an example, a city and a school district may enter into agreements with the county whereby the county bills for and collects property taxes for the city and school district; thus, only one tax bill is sent instead of three). School districts are independent of county and city government (with the exception of the Stafford Municipal School District, which is city controlled).

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each entry. Texas's code is 48, which when combined with any county code would be written in the form of 48XXX. The FIPS code for each county in the table links to census data for that county.

Los Angeles County, California

Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, is the most populous county in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of the U.S. state of California and is the most populous county in the United States, with more than 10 million inhabitants as of 2017. As such, it is the largest non-state level government entity in the United States. Its population is larger than that of 41 individual U.S. states. It is the third-largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a Nominal GDP of over $700 billion—larger than the GDPs of Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Norway, and Taiwan. It has 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas and, at 4,083 square miles (10,570 km2), it is larger than the combined areas of Delaware and Rhode Island. The county is home to more than one-quarter of California residents and is one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. Its county seat, Los Angeles, is also California's most populous city and the nation's second largest city with about 4 million people.

Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County is a county in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the southeasternmost county on the U.S. mainland. According to a 2017 census report, the county had a population of 2,751,796, making it the most populous county in Florida and the seventh-most populous county in the United States. It is also Florida's third largest county in terms of land area, with 1,946 square miles (5,040 km2). The county seat is Miami, the principal city in South Florida.Miami-Dade County is one of the three counties in South Florida that make up the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,158,824 people in 2017.The county is home to 34 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. The northern, central and eastern portions of the county are heavily urbanized with many high-rise buildings along the coastline, including South Florida's central business district, Downtown Miami. Southern Miami-Dade County includes the Redland and Homestead areas, which make up the agricultural economy of the region. Agricultural Redland makes up roughly one third of Miami-Dade County's inhabited land area, and is sparsely populated, a stark contrast to the densely populated, urban northern portion of the county.

The county also includes portions of two national parks. To the west it extends into the Everglades National Park and is populated only by a Miccosukee tribal village. East of the mainland, in Biscayne Bay, is Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.

Orange County, California

Orange County is a county in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,010,232, making it the third-most populous county in California, the sixth-most populous in the United States, and more populous than 21 U.S. states. Its county seat is Santa Ana. It is the second most densely populated county in the state, behind San Francisco County. The county's four largest cities by population, Anaheim, Santa Ana (county seat), Irvine, and Huntington Beach, each have a population exceeding 200,000. Several of Orange County's cities are on the Pacific Ocean western coast, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and San Clemente.

Orange County is included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Thirty-four incorporated towns and cities are in the county; the newest is Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated in 2001. Anaheim was the first city, incorporated in 1870 when the region was still part of neighboring Los Angeles County. Whereas most population centers in the United States tend to be identified by a major city with a large downtown

central business district (CBD), Orange County has no single major downtown / CBD or dominant urban center. Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, and Irvine all have smaller high-rise CBDs, and other, older cities like Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, and Orange have traditional American downtowns without high-rises. The county's northern and central portions are heavily urbanized and fairly dense, despite the prevalence of the single-family home as a dominant land use. Its southern portion is more suburban, with less density and limited urbanization. There are several "edge city"-style developments, such as Irvine Business Center, Newport Center, and South Coast Metro. Orange County is part of the "Tech Coast".The county is a tourist center, with attractions like Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and several popular beaches along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. Throughout the 20th century and up until 2016, it was known for its political conservatism and for being a bastion for the Republican Party, with a 2005 academic study listing three Orange County cities as among America's 25 most conservative. However, the county's changing demographics have resulted in a shift in political alignments. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat since 1936 to carry Orange County in a presidential election and in the 2018 midterm elections the Democratic Party gained control of every Congressional seat in the county.

Rio Grande

The Rio Grande ( or ; Spanish: Río Bravo del Norte, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈri.o ˈβɾaβo ðel ˈnoɾte] (listen) or simply Río Bravo) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Colorado River) in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.The river serves as part of the natural border between the U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. A very short stretch of the river serves as part of the boundary between the U.S. states of Texas and New Mexico. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption by farms and cities along with many large diversion dams on the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river's mouth, the heavily irrigated lower Rio Grande Valley is an important agricultural region.

The Rio Grande's watershed covers 182,200 square miles (472,000 km2). Many endorheic basins are situated within, or adjacent to, the Rio Grande's basin, and these are sometimes included in the river basin's total area, increasing its size to about 336,000 square miles (870,000 km2).

San Diego County, California

San Diego County, officially the County of San Diego, is a county in the southwestern corner of the state of California, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,095,313. making it California's second-most populous county and the fifth-most populous in the United States. Its county seat is San Diego, the eighth-most populous city in the United States. It is the southwesternmost county in the 48 contiguous United States.

San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is the 17th most populous metropolitan statistical area and the 18th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.

San Diego is also part of the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico. Greater San Diego ranks as the 38th largest metropolitan area in the Americas.

San Diego County has more than 70 miles (110 km) of coastline. This forms the most densely populated region of the county, which has a mild Mediterranean to semiarid climate and extensive chaparral vegetation, similar to the rest of the western portion of southern California. Precipitation and temperature extremes increase to the east, with mountains that receive frost and snow in the winter. These lushly forested mountains receive more rainfall than average in southern California, while the desert region of the county lies in a rain shadow to the east, which extends into the Desert Southwest region of North America.

There are also 16 naval and military installations of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego County. These include the Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and Naval Air Station North Island.

From north to south, San Diego County extends from the southern borders of Orange and Riverside Counties to the Mexico-U.S. border and Baja California. From west to east, San Diego County stretches from the Pacific Ocean to its boundary with Imperial County.

West Midlands (county)

The West Midlands is a metropolitan county and city region in western-central England with a 2014 estimated population of 2,808,356, making it the second most populous county in England after Greater London. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The county itself is a NUTS 2 region within the wider NUTS 1 region of the same name. The county consists of seven metropolitan boroughs: the City of Birmingham, the City of Coventry and the City of Wolverhampton, as well as the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall.

The metropolitan county exists in law and as a geographic frame of reference, and as a ceremonial county it has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Between 1974 and 1986, the West Midlands County Council was the administrative body covering the county; this was abolished on 31 March 1986, and the constituent metropolitan boroughs effectively became unitary authorities. A new administrative body for the county (and some of the district surrounding it as Non-Constituent members), the West Midlands Combined Authority, was created in June 2016. Since May 2017, the authority has been headed by a directly elected Mayor of the West Midlands, a position currently held by Andy Street of the Conservative Party. Other county-wide bodies include the West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Fire Service and Transport for West Midlands.

The county is sometimes described as the "West Midlands metropolitan area" or the "West Midlands conurbation", although these have different, and less clearly defined, boundaries. The main conurbation, or urban area, does not include Coventry for example. The name "West Midlands" is also used for the much larger West Midlands region, which sometimes causes confusion, not surprising perhaps when geographically it is on the eastern side of the region, the western side comprising Shropshire and Herefordshire.

Westchester County, New York

Westchester County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. It is the second-most populous county on the mainland of New York, after the Bronx, and the most populous county in the state north of New York City. According to the 2010 Census, the county had a population of 949,113, estimated to have increased by 3.3% to 980,244 by 2017. Situated in the Hudson Valley, Westchester covers an area of 450 square miles (1,200 km2), consisting of six cities, 19 towns, and 23 villages. Established in 1683, Westchester was named after the city of Chester, England. The county seat is the city of White Plains, while the most populous municipality in the county is the city of Yonkers, with an estimated 200,807 residents in 2016.The annual per capita income for Westchester was $67,813 in 2011. The 2011 median household income of $77,006 was the fifth highest in New York (after Nassau, Putnam, Suffolk, and Rockland counties) and the 47th highest in the United States. By 2014, the county's median household income had risen to $83,422. Westchester County ranks second in the state after New York County for median income per person, with a higher concentration of incomes in smaller households. Simultaneously, Westchester County had the highest property taxes of any county in the United States in 2013.Westchester County is one of the centrally located counties within the New York metropolitan area. The county is positioned with New York City, plus Nassau and Suffolk counties (on Long Island, across Long Island Sound), to its south; Putnam County to its north; Fairfield County, Connecticut to its east; and Rockland County and Bergen County, New Jersey across the Hudson River to the west. Westchester was the first suburban area of its scale in the world to develop, due mostly to the upper-middle-class development of entire communities in the late 19th century and the subsequent rapid population growth.

Because of Westchester's numerous road and mass transit connections to New York City, as well as its shared border with the Bronx, the 20th and 21st centuries have seen much of the county, particularly the southern portion, become nearly as densely developed as New York City itself.

Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

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