Smallest County in the USA, Part 3

On February 21, 2008 · 1 Comments

Previous posts discussed several reasons why the three smallest counties in the United States do not function autonomously and should not be considered counties except in name only. The focus of the current post is another unusual arrangement, the situation of independent cities. They function identically to most counties but in fact they are not. This is a rather common phenomenon in the Commonwealth of Virginia where there are 39 independent cities and where every municipality that incorporates as a city becomes independent. It is much more uncommon throughout the remainder of the United States where there are only 3 more independent cities: Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; and Carson City, Nevada. The U.S. Census Bureau treats all independent cities as “county equivalents.”

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The smallest of these independent cities is Falls Church, Virginia at a minuscule 1.99 square miles and with a population of about 10,000. Even the smallest of the pseudo-counties discussed in previous posts would dwarf this locale. Nonetheless, Falls Church has its own school system, police force, library system, taxation, water department, parks, street maintenance, building inspections, permits and licensing. It does have service arrangements in place with neighboring Fairfax and Arlington Counties in some instances but only for reasons of efficiency. It receives its authority directly from the State government and is not subordinate to any county.Falls Church serves its citizens in the same manner as any county. If it were a county it would be by far the smallest. However, by definition, an independent city is not a county so the search for the “smallest county” continues.Other Posts in this Series:

On February 21, 2008 · 1 Comments

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