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in the United States is generally structured in accordance with the laws of the various individual states. Typically each state has at least two separate tiers: counties (known in Louisiana
as parishes and as boroughs in Alaska
), and municipalities. Some states have their counties divided into townships. In turn there are several different types of municipal government, generally reflecting the needs of different levels of population densities; although the types and nature of these municipal entities varies from state to state, typical examples include the city, town, borough,and village. Many rural areas and even some suburban areas of many states have no municipal government below the county level. In a few states, there is only one level of local government: Hawaii
has no legal municipalities below the county level; while Connecticut
and Rhode Island's
counties serve no legal function—these being filled by city and town governments.
In addition to the above, there are also often local or regional special districts that exist for specific purposes, such as to provide fire protection, sewer service, transit service or to manage water resources. In many states, school districts manage the schools. Such special purpose districts often encompass areas in multiple municipalities.
Finally, in some places the different tiers are merged together, for example as a consolidated city-county.
Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia.