County (United States)

A County (that or the County, plural German: counties, English: counties ) in 48 of the 50 states of the United States, a regional administrative unit ( authority), which is comparable about the German district, the Austrian and the Swiss district. Louisiana is divided into parishes and Alaska instead in boroughs. The word translates as county county. However, except in Georgia and Maryland, the U.S. counties were never correct counties; The name was brought to North America by the British. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are 3144 counties or comparable units.


The counties serve as middle management between the states and the individual towns. The duties and powers of the county vary greatly from state to state. In Massachusetts, Rhode Iceland and Connecticut are only geographical names. The tasks are carried out by municipalities or townships.

The city, in the administration and courts of the county resident, called the county seat. The so-called county court is the district administration appropriate administrative body. This is a county commissioner or a county judge before - comparable with the district administrator posts. The police powers within a county are the Sheriff, who is elected normally for four years.

Within a county, individual settlements can ausgründen over time and thus form their own authorities below the county. Which subdivisions are possible, based on the law of any State. The regulations are markedly different. In most states citys and / or Towns exist (cities), and in some cases Villages ( villages). Other familiar townships, Precincts or districts. The criteria used in most states, the minimum numbers of residents.

No autonomous subdivisions are Districts, Census County Divisions and Census-designated places.

The County may determine in some states the amount of sales tax ( sales tax ). You can also determine which regulations apply in alcohol ( Dry County ). In addition, the specific Tax Lien control is up to each County and therefore can vary greatly.

Equivalent units

In addition to the counties that exist in 48 of the 50 states, there are still some units that are comparable with counties. Louisiana is held in counties in 64 Parishes ( originally German parishes ) divided in Alaska has 18 boroughs (districts ), which have their own organization. A 19th district, the Unorganized Borough ( unorganized district), has no own organization. He makes the most of the area from Alaska ( the size of Germany and France ), but is inhabited only by a tiny fraction of the population. The area is used by the U.S. Census Bureau (not the state of Alaska ) divided into eleven Census Areas ( survey areas) (Alaska is thus counted as consisting of 30 countyähnlichen units).

42 independent cities (independent cities ) (Baltimore, St. Louis, Carson City, and 39 cities in Virginia ) are similar to a county.

There are also some consolidated city - county, the respective city and county administrations were combined (including San Francisco, Honolulu, Denver, Los Alamos, Nantucket, etc.).

The District of Columbia, the Capital Federal district of the United States, is also its own, a county equivalent unit.


The U.S. Census Bureau counts 3,144 counties and comparable units, the average number per state is 62 Texas has 254 most, Delaware 3, the fewest counties of all states; however, comes the District of Columbia - which is counted as a separate County or County - called equivalent - only on the number of first

In 2000, the County has an average area of ​​1611 km ² had, which is about 1.5 times the size of a German district or an English county or a quarter of the area of ​​a French department.

The size of counties varies from state to state, with counties in the western U.S. are significantly larger than in the east. Thus, a county in Ohio is 1138 km ² and 888 km ² in Georgia, while ( 3977 km ²) and Utah ( 6286 km ²) are significantly larger in western states such as California.

The largest area of ​​the North Slope Borough County is in Alaska. He comes on 245,435 km ² (more than two -thirds of the area of ​​Germany ). The smallest is New York County ( Manhattan comprises only ) 87.5 km ². In the 48 core states, with an area of 52,073 km ² (greater than Niedersachsen) San Bernardino County in California is the largest. Taking into account the independent ( districts ) cities, is Falls Church 5.0 km ² the smallest administrative unit with Countyaufgaben.

A County has an average of a population of about 100,000 inhabitants, in the median, according to the population census in 2000 of 24,544 residents. 2000, only 16.1% of the county had a population of more than 100,000.

With a population of 9.82 million at the biggest Los Angeles County in California, the smallest Loving County in Texas with 82 inhabitants ( 2010).


  • The five boroughs of New York City are simultaneously counties of New York State. However, you have no administrative duties, they are executed by the city. In three cases, the names differ: Manhattan County is, as the state of New York New York County, Brooklyn called Kings County and Staten Iceland is called Richmond County.
  • In 1960, the county governments were abolished in Connecticut, the counties serve only geographical purposes. Also in Rhode Iceland they have no administrative duties.
  • Massachusetts has also abolished the county governments in eight of the 14 counties in 1999.