Place (United States Census Bureau)

The United States Census Bureau defines a place as a concentration of population which has a name, is locally recognized, and is not part of any other place. A place typically has a residential nucleus and a closely spaced street pattern, and it frequently includes commercial property and other urban land uses. A place may be an incorporated place (a self-governing city, town, or village) or it may be a census-designated place (CDP). Incorporated places are defined by the laws of the states in which they are contained. The Census Bureau delineates CDPs. A small settlement in the open countryside or the densely settled fringe of a large city may not be a place as defined by the Census Bureau. As of the 1990 Census, only 26% of the people in the United States lived outside of places.[1]

Incorporated place

An incorporated place, under the Census Bureau's definition,[2] is a type of governmental unit incorporated under state law as a city, town (except the New England states, New York, and Wisconsin),[3] borough (except in Alaska and New York),[4] or village, and having legally prescribed limits, powers, and functions. Requirements for incorporation vary widely among the states; some states have few specific criteria, while others have established population thresholds and occasionally other conditions (for example, minimum land area, population density, and distance from other existing incorporated places) that must be met for incorporation.[1]

The Census Bureau recognizes incorporated places in all U.S. states except Hawaii; for Hawaii, by agreement with the Office of the Governor, the Census Bureau recognizes all places as census-designated places (CDPs) rather than as incorporated places. Puerto Rico and several of the outlying areas under United States jurisdiction (such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) also have no incorporated places.[1]

Different states use a variety of terms for their incorporated places. The designations "city", "town", "village", and "borough" are most frequent, but one or more places in Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, and Tennessee have place-type governments (usually consolidated ones) that do not have any of these designations. New Jersey is the only state that has all four kinds of incorporated places. Only two other states (Connecticut and Pennsylvania) include "boroughs" as incorporated places. Eleven U.S. states have only "cities", and the remainder of the states have various combinations of "cities", "towns", and "villages".[1]

Not all entities designated as "towns" and "boroughs" are considered by the Census Bureau to be places. In the six New England states, and in New York and Wisconsin, the term "town" refers to what the Census Bureau classifies as a minor civil division (MCD) rather than a place. The MCDs in these states, while often functioning with all the powers of city governments, can contain considerable rural area; outside of New England, other units of government perform the incorporated place function. In Alaska, the term "borough" refers to territory governed as a county rather than as a place; in New York, the Census Bureau treats the five boroughs that make up New York City as MCDs.[1]

Census-designated places

Census-designated places (CDPs) are communities that lack separate municipal governments, and for statistical purposes are defined by the Census Bureau in order to statistically combine and compare populated areas that physically resemble incorporated places. Before each decennial census, CDPs are delineated by state and local agencies, and by tribal officials according to Census Bureau criteria. The resulting CDP delineations are then reviewed and approved by the Census Bureau. The boundaries of a CDP have no legal status and may not correspond with the local understanding of the area with the same name. Recognized communities may be divided into two or more CDPs while on the other hand, two or more communities may be combined into one CDP. A CDP may also cover the unincorporated part of a named community where the rest lies within an incorporated place.[1]

Although only about one-fifth as numerous as incorporated places (in 1990, of 23,435 "places", 19,289 were incorporated municipalities, and 4,146 were not incorporated municipalities), CDPs are important geographic units. The CDP permits the tabulation of population counts for many localities that otherwise would have no identity within the Census Bureau's framework of geographic areas. By defining an area as a CDP, that locality then appears in the same category of census data as incorporated places. This distinguishes CDPs from other census classifications, such as minor civil divisions (MCDs), which are in a separate category. In 1990, over 29 million people in the United States resided in CDPs.[1]

Specific examples

  • Bostonia, a neighborhood in northeast El Cajon, California, is an example of a CDP that covers the unincorporated part of a neighborhood that lies partly within an incorporated place. The neighborhood straddles the El Cajon city limits. The USGS places the nucleus of Bostonia well within El Cajon. The Bostonia CDP covers the greater El Cajon area in unincorporated San Diego County generally north of that part of Bostonia within El Cajon.
  • Shorewood-Tower Hills-Harbert, Michigan, is an example of multiple named unincorporated communities that are combined into one CDP.
  • Greater Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was an example of a CDP covering the unincorporated urbanized area surrounding an incorporated place. At the 2000 census, the Greater Upper Marlboro CDP completely surrounded Upper Marlboro, the county seat. However, for the 2010 census, the area was broken into several smaller CDPs, all with new names.

Outside the U.S.

Statistics Canada uses the term designated place (DPL) for unincorporated population centers. However the criteria for delineating a DPL are different from that for a CDP.[5]


The Census Bureau lists a location (latitude and longitude) for each place, although this list is not intended for general use and is part of the Bureau's TIGER mapping system to graphically represent the statistical areas used in census data. The Census Bureau's criteria for establishing the location does not correspond to the criteria used by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for locating named communities, which is intended to be an authoritative reference for a place's location. The central location of a place shown on Census Bureau maps for a community may differ significantly from that on USGS maps for the same place and may even be outside the area that local residents think of as that community. The Census Bureau's location of a place is the approximate geographic center of the polygon making up the boundaries of the place at the time of the decennial census.[6] The USGS location of a populated place is the center of the original place, if known, such as the city or town hall, main post office, town square or main intersection regardless of changes over time.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Geographic Areas Reference Manual, Chapter 9 Places, United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce
  2. ^ "Incorporated place". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  3. ^ Towns in the New England states are governmental units on the same level as cities, but are not treated as such by the Census Bureau. In Wisconsin, towns are similar to the civil townships of other states. In New York, towns have a status intermediate between those of Wisconsin and New England.
  4. ^ Boroughs in Alaska are analogous to counties in other states. Boroughs in New York are simultaneously counties and administrative divisions of New York City.
  5. ^ Statistics Canada, Geographic Units: Designated Place (DPL)
  6. ^ TIGER FAQ, Question 19, "How did you calculate the latitude and longitude for my town..."
  7. ^ USGS Domestic Names - Metadata (see Primary Point)
  8. ^ USGS Frequently Asked Questions About GNIS (see question 17)


Asbury, New Jersey

Asbury is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Franklin Township in Warren County, New Jersey, United States, that was created as part of the 2010 United States Census. As of the 2010 Census, the CDP's population was 273.The community was named for Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

Census-designated place

A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterparts of incorporated places, such as self-governing cities, towns, and villages, for the purposes of gathering and correlating statistical data. CDPs are populated areas that generally include one officially designated but currently unincorporated small community, for which the CDP is named, plus surrounding inhabited countryside of varying dimensions and, occasionally, other, smaller unincorporated communities as well. CDPs include small rural communities, colonias located along the U.S. border with Mexico, and unincorporated resort and retirement communities and their environs.The boundaries of a CDP have no legal status. Thus, they may not always correspond with the local understanding of the area or community with the same name. However, criteria established for the 2010 Census require that a CDP name "be one that is recognized and used in daily communication by the residents of the community" (not "a name developed solely for planning or other purposes") and recommend that a CDP's boundaries be mapped based on the geographic extent associated with inhabitants' regular use of the named place.The Census Bureau states that census-designated places are not considered incorporated places and that it includes only census-designated places in its city population list for Hawaii because that state has no incorporated cities. In addition, census city lists from 2007 included Arlington County, Virginia's CDP in the list with the incorporated places, but since 2010, only the Urban Honolulu CDP, Hawaii representing the historic core of Honolulu, Hawaii, is shown in the city and town estimates.

List of census-designated places in Connecticut

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. Connecticut has 112 census-designated places. Some CDPs do not have separate pages from their parent town, while others are coterminous with their parent town. Further, some CDPs take the name of their parent town.

List of census-designated places in Delaware

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. Delaware has 19 census-designated places.

List of census-designated places in Georgia (U.S. state)

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. Since Tucker and Brookhaven (North Atlanta CDP) incorporated after the 2010 Census, Georgia (U.S. state) has 87 census designated places as of 2017.

List of census-designated places in New Mexico

New Mexico is a state located in the Western United States. New Mexico has several census-designated places (CDPs) which are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status.

List of census-designated places in North Dakota

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. North Dakota has 44 census designated places.

List of census-designated places in South Carolina

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. There are 126 census-designated places in South Carolina.

List of census-designated places in South Dakota

Census-designated places (CDPs) are unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status. South Dakota has 79 census designated places.

List of cities and towns in Utah

Utah is a state located in the Western United States. As of 2010, there are 243 incorporated municipalities in the U.S. state of Utah. A municipality is called a town if the population is under 1,000 people, and a city if the population is over 1,000 people. Incorporation means that a municipal charter has been adopted by the affected population following a referendum. In the Constitution of Utah, cities and towns are granted "the authority to exercise all powers relating to municipal affairs, and to adopt and enforce within its limits, local police, sanitary and similar regulations not in conflict with the general law" They also have the power to raise and collect taxes, to provide and maintain local public services, acquire by eminent domain any property needed to make local improvements, and to raise money by bonds.On July 22, 1847, the first party of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, where they founded Salt Lake City, the first European settlement in Utah. Over the next 22 years, more than 70,000 pioneers crossed the plains and settled in Utah. Initial colonization along the Wasatch Front was mostly made by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) with no direct involvement from it. Outside the Wasatch Front, most settlements were directed, planned, organized, and dispatched by leaders of the LDS Church. Settlements were also founded by the railroads, mining companies and non-Mormons. Many settlements were named after leaders, history or from scriptures of the LDS Church. Natural features of the region, including rivers, mountains, lakes and flora, are also commonly used for names.

The 2010 U.S. Census count puts 2,438,347 of the state's 2,763,885 residents within these cities and towns, accounting for 88.2% of the population. Just over 75% of Utah's population is concentrated in the four Wasatch Front counties of Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, and Weber. The largest city is the state's capital of Salt Lake City with a population of 186,440, and the former coal mining town of Scofield is the smallest town with 24 people.

List of unincorporated communities in Alabama

Unincorporated communities lacking elected municipal officers and boundaries with legal status, but are not classified as Census-designated places (CDPs).

New Boston, New Hampshire

New Boston is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 5,321 at the 2010 census. New Boston is home to the annual Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair and the Molly Stark Cannon.

Pinehurst, Montgomery County, Texas

Pinehurst is a census-designated place (CDP) in Montgomery County, Texas, United States. The population was 4,624 at the 2010 census.

Port Murray, New Jersey

Port Murray is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Mansfield Township in Warren County, New Jersey, United States, that was created as part of the 2010 United States Census. As of the 2010 Census, the CDP's population was 129.The area is served as United States Postal Service ZIP code 07865. The community was named for its location on the Morris Canal and after Colonel James Boyles Murray, the third president of the Morris Canal and Banking Company.

Porter, Texas

Porter is an unincorporated community in Montgomery County in southeastern Texas within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. In 2010, its population was estimated at 25,769. Porter is north of the Kingwood area of Houston.

Stewartstown, New Hampshire

Stewartstown is a town in Coos County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,004 at the 2010 census. It includes the village of West Stewartstown and is part of the Berlin, NH–VT Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Unincorporated area

In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not governed by a local municipal corporation; similarly an unincorporated community is a settlement that is not governed by its own local municipal corporation, but rather is administered as part of larger administrative divisions, such as a township, parish, borough, county, city, canton, state, province or country. Occasionally, municipalities dissolve or disincorporate, which may happen if they become fiscally insolvent, and services become the responsibility of a higher administration. Widespread unincorporated communities and areas are a distinguishing feature of the United States and Canada. In most other countries of the world, there are either no unincorporated areas at all, or these are very rare; typically remote, outlying, sparsely populated or uninhabited areas.

Will County, Illinois

Will County is a county in the northeastern part of the state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 677,560, which is an increase of 34.9% from 502,266 in 2000, making it the fourth-most populous county in Illinois. The county seat is Joliet.Will County is one of the five collar counties of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses the 815 and 779 area codes, 630 and 331 area code for far northern Will County, and 708 area code for eastern Will County.

Native areas


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