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The
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
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 A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

city
,
town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares a ...

town
, or
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena ...

village
) or it may be a
census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical S ...
(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, 26% of the people in the United States lived outside of places.Geographic Areas Reference Manual
Chapter 9 Places, United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce


Incorporated place

An incorporated place, under the Census Bureau's definition, is a type of governmental unit
incorporated Incorporated may refer to: * Incorporated community * Incorporated (Grip Inc. album), ''Incorporated'' (Grip Inc. album), 2004, by Grip Inc. * Incorporated (Legion of Doom album), ''Incorporated'' (Legion of Doom album), 2006 * Incorporated (TV seri ...
under
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine ''State Magazine'' is a digital magazine published by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Global Talent Management. Its mission is to acquaint Department o ...
law as a city, town (except in the
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
states,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, and
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
), borough (except in
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
and New York), 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. The Census Bureau recognizes incorporated places in all U.S. states except
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
; for Hawaii, by agreement with the Office of the Governor, the Census Bureau recognizes all places as
census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical S ...
s (CDPs) rather than as incorporated places.
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
and several of the outlying areas under United States jurisdiction (such as
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousa ...

Guam
and the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
) also have no incorporated places. 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 Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
,
Montana Montana () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Montana
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
, and
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

Tennessee
have place-type governments (usually consolidated ones) that do not have any of these designations.
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
is the only state that uses all four terms for types of incorporated places. Only two other states (
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
and
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

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". 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 A minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Feder ...
(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 Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

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.


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. 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 division A minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Feder ...
s (MCDs), which are in a separate category. In 1990, over 29 million people in the United States resided in CDPs.


Specific examples

* Bostonia, a neighborhood in northeast
El Cajon, California El Cajon ( , ; Spanish language, Spanish: El Cajón, meaning "the box") is a city in San Diego County, California, San Diego County, California, United States, east of Downtown San Diego. The city takes its name from Rancho El Cajon, Rancho El Ca ...
, 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 San Diego County, officially the County of San Diego, is a county A county is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics ...
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 Greater Upper Marlboro is an area of Prince George's County ) , demonym = Prince Georgian , ZIP codes = 20607–20774 , area codes = 240, Area codes 240 and 301, 301 , founded date = April 23 , founded year = 1696 , named for = Prince ...
, 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 Statistics Canada (StatCan; french: Statistique Canada), formed in 1971, is the agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of ...
uses the term designated place (DPL) for unincorporated population centers. However the criteria for delineating a DPL are different from that for a CDP.


Geography

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 The United States Geological Survey, abbreviated USGS and formerly simply known as the Geological Survey, is a scientific government agency, agency of the Federal government of the United States, United States government. The scientists of the ...
(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. The USGS location of a
populated place Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size of the resident population within their jurisdiction by a process called a c ...
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.USGS Frequently Asked Questions About GNIS
(see question 17)


Notes


References



United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. {{USCensus Geography United States Census Bureau geography