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What is the Number of Cities in America???

Posted on 09/19/2003 10:20:40 AM PDT by PureSolace

I'm currently doing research about cities in America, and I need to know the number of cities that exist and that the United States Government recognizes as a city. I tried searching at Google and census.gov, but neither of them could supply me an answer I'm looking for or any contact information that I can use to call someone "In The Know" who could get me this information. Maybe an online Almanac? I dunno, I should try that too. But Please, if anyone on FreeRepublic has any idea, or can help me in my search, please do! :) Thanks.


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: america; bluezone; census; cities; city; number; of; states; united

1 posted on 09/19/2003 10:20:41 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: PureSolace
Do you have a population threshold of say 10,000 people ... or are you just looking for any incorporated city regardless of the population. Note that the "city" of Vernon, Calfornia has a population of 74.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts contains statistics on the former. I am not sure where to find the definitive number on the latter. "Cities" are created, modified, annexed, etc. somewhere almost weekly. It may be difficult to pin down.

2 posted on 09/19/2003 10:25:33 AM PDT by Stu Cohen
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To: PureSolace
I'm guessing that your best bet would be to call the governor's offices of each state and ask about the number of cities in each state.

I don't think this would be a particularly daunting task, though it might take you a few days. I do research for a living, and if I could not find a single federal government source or on-line source, and if I really needed an accurate answer, this would be my approach.

You might also find the answer for each state by going to the individual state web sites.
3 posted on 09/19/2003 10:26:13 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: Stu Cohen
Regardless of population, yes. Small and Large... I'm just looking for the number of recognized cities. :)
4 posted on 09/19/2003 10:27:00 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: PureSolace; Maceman
Go to the Statistical Abstracts of the US. They are on-line at a Census department website.
5 posted on 09/19/2003 10:27:10 AM PDT by sauropod ("Oh Brian, Let's go to the stoning")
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To: PureSolace
Try APA, American Planning Assoc. There was a list a couple years ago of the top 1000 metro centers. Anything above 50,000 would probably make the list.
6 posted on 09/19/2003 10:27:25 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: PureSolace
cant you just say "there's a whole bunch" or just make a up a number. whoever reads isnt going to know the right number either, right?
7 posted on 09/19/2003 10:29:27 AM PDT by isom35
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To: PureSolace
http://www.world-gazetteer.com/st/statd.htm
8 posted on 09/19/2003 10:29:29 AM PDT by Bobber58 (whatever it takes, for as long as it takes)
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To: PureSolace
You might run into some definition problems. For example, in Ohio an incorporated area is a city if its population is greater than 5000 but it is a village if it is less than 5000. Would you include the villages in Ohio, or just the cities?
9 posted on 09/19/2003 10:37:36 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Fight Czarism in America!)
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To: PureSolace
Minnesota data (PDF), with historical table listing "freestanding incorporated places" by population range. FYI, MN had 728 as of 2000.
10 posted on 09/19/2003 10:37:37 AM PDT by non-anonymous
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To: PureSolace
Minnesota data (PDF), with historical table listing "freestanding incorporated places" by population range. FYI, MN had 728 as of 2000.
11 posted on 09/19/2003 10:38:54 AM PDT by non-anonymous
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To: PureSolace
19,355 incorporated cities as of Census 2000.
12 posted on 09/19/2003 10:39:47 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: Bobber58
Bobber, thanks for that URL. I've come to this conclusion... The U.S. Census recognizes roughly 3,142 counties / parishes... and the World Gazzette recognizes 3,662 cities at any given time (Including low population cities... That sounds about right... Any thoughts?
13 posted on 09/19/2003 10:41:05 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: AntiGuv
AntiGuv, what's your source? 19,355??? Wow... I need a source cause that conflicts with what I'm currently working with. :) Any help would be hott!
14 posted on 09/19/2003 10:42:12 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: PureSolace
Regardless of population, yes. Small and Large... I'm just looking for the number of recognized cities. :)

Yikes. Some are called towns, townships, boroughs, or parishes ... depending on the state.

I would seach for "incorporated places".

Not every state calls all of it's governed populated areas "cities". The US Census Department doesn't even consider it a "city" unless it has more than 10,000 people. And they don't compile detailed statistics until they reach 25,000 people.

You may have to change your definition.

15 posted on 09/19/2003 10:42:49 AM PDT by Stu Cohen
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To: PureSolace
OK, try this. A city is defined as "An incorporated municipality in the United States with definite boundaries and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the state"

This is a little misleading, since an incorporated municipality can be either a city or a town, depending on population, and different states have different population requirements for incorporated municipalities, and different requirements for cities vs. towns. For example, an incorporated municipality in Arizona must have at least 2000 people to be considered a city, in Alaska it's 1500.

Check this site out, it will give you the info you need to get started. Once you know the requirements by state, you can do a Google scan for [for example] "incorporated municipalties over 2000, Alaska" for example. It's a little time consuming, having to do it state by state, but after all, I figured this all out in a few minutes of "Googling", so it's do-able!

Good luck with your project!

16 posted on 09/19/2003 10:42:53 AM PDT by Kenton
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To: PureSolace
16, give or take one or two.
17 posted on 09/19/2003 10:43:34 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Far out, man!)
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To: PureSolace
The Straight Dope

The working number of 3,662 you noted above is unquestionably too low. Texas alone had 1,194 incorporated cities as of 1998..

18 posted on 09/19/2003 10:44:28 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: PureSolace
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTGeoSearchByListServlet?ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&_lang=en&_ts=82039462500
19 posted on 09/19/2003 10:44:31 AM PDT by Grando Calrissian
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To: Stu Cohen
Good point. It's accurate to say "incorporated places" rather than incorporated cities.
20 posted on 09/19/2003 10:46:04 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: isom35
"...cant you just say "there's a whole bunch" or just make a up a number. whoever reads isnt going to know the right number either, right?"

That depends on whether or not this research will be used for conservative or liberal publication.

If it's for anything conservative, a lie, "fudged" or approximated number will nullify the research and completely debase whatever point the author is trying to convey.

On the other hand, if it's for a liberal publication or the NYT, any number that suits this author's needs is fine.

< / sarcasm >

21 posted on 09/19/2003 10:46:55 AM PDT by Lou L
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To: AntiGuv
That's a lot of cities. Just under 400 on average per state.
22 posted on 09/19/2003 10:47:31 AM PDT by xp38
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To: PureSolace
Oh, and I mentioned the Census 2000 because the Straight Dope figure was printed on February 16, 2000 - when the Census Bureau would've already established its working figure ["special groups were already getting enumerated]. However, it would be most accurate to state 19,355 "incorporated places" as of February of the year 2000.
23 posted on 09/19/2003 10:49:59 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: AntiGuv
To be clear, for enumeration purposes, "special groups" include college students, military personnel, prison populations, and transient persons, etc..
24 posted on 09/19/2003 10:51:46 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: PureSolace
http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/muscities.html
25 posted on 09/19/2003 10:51:56 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS
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To: PureSolace
... I need to know the number of cities that exist and that the United States Government recognizes as a city.

Thankfully, that's not a federal function.

26 posted on 09/19/2003 10:53:23 AM PDT by decimon
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To: AntiGuv
To be even more clear, 'transient' = homeless. Also institutional populations such as nursing homes and mental health centers were "special groups" for enumeration purposes. Dunno what you need this for, so just being thorough!

Have fun with your research.
27 posted on 09/19/2003 10:54:38 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero, something's gonna happen..)
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To: decimon
good point ;-)
28 posted on 09/19/2003 10:59:00 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: PureSolace
There must be tens of thousands of cities in America. In addition, some places set up with "city" in their name when they were first settled never really made the mark as true cities.

The government relies on MSA's -- Metropolitan Statistical Areas. That a city in the built up counties surrounding it. There are 268 of them. Some overlap, like New York and Newark. Each contains many separate cities.

In some ways the MSA is a good measure, because "Chicago" or "San Francisco" doesn't just mean what's inside the city limits. When you live in an area it makes sense what side of city limits you live on, but for those from other parts of the country it hardly matters.

29 posted on 09/19/2003 10:59:03 AM PDT by x
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To: x
"That a city in the built up counties surrounding it." = "That's a city and the built-up counties surrounding it."
30 posted on 09/19/2003 11:01:16 AM PDT by x
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To: x
Some Limey trivia: in Britain, a community has traditionally be classified as a "city" if and only if it holds a cathedral of the Church of England.
31 posted on 09/19/2003 11:32:41 AM PDT by triplejake
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To: PureSolace
Check this: http://www.fedstats.gov/

32 posted on 09/19/2003 11:49:12 AM PDT by Wolverine (A Concerned Citizen)
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To: PureSolace
Any place that has "city" in its name obviously has to be included, such as Surf City, NC (pop. 970), Center City, MN (pop. 451), or Southwest City, MO (pop. 600).
33 posted on 09/19/2003 1:07:40 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: isom35
99.4 percent of all cities are made up, anyway. Particularly those in California that are populated by people from other planets.
34 posted on 09/19/2003 1:13:47 PM PDT by js1138
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