Incorporated town

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An incorporated town is a town that is a municipal corporation.


Incorporated towns are a form of local government in Canada, which is a responsibility of provincial rather than federal government.

United States[edit]

An incorporated town in the United States is a municipality, that is, one with a charter received from the state, similar to a city. An incorporated town will have elected officials, as differentiated from an unincorporated community, which exists only by tradition and does not have elected officials at the town level. In some states, especially in midwestern and western states, civil townships may sometimes be called towns, but are generally not incorporated municipalities, but are administrative subdivisions and derive their authority from statute rather than from a charter. In New York and Wisconsin, "towns" are more similar in concept to townships in other states than to incorporated towns in most states (see Administrative divisions of New York, Political subdivisions of Wisconsin). In some other states, the term "town" is not used for municipalities.


Under California's Government Code Sections 34500-34504, the terms "city" and "town" are explicitly interchangeable, i.e. there is no legal distinction between an incorporated city and an incorporated town. California has 22 incorporated municipalities that are styled "Town of (Name)" instead of "City of (Name)".


In Illinois, an incorporated town is one of three types of incorporated municipalities. Incorporated towns were incorporated by a special acts of the Illinois General Assembly prior to the creation of the Illinois Municipal Code. Illinois' standard law on municipalities came into effect on July 1, 1872 and does not provide for the incorporation of municipal towns. Since the Municipal Code provides a standard way for citizens to incorporate a new city or village, but not a town, incorporated towns are far less common than city and village municipalities in Illinois.[citation needed]

Although civil townships and incorporated towns are sometimes both called towns, they are completely separate types of government in Illinois: Unlike incorporated towns, townships are subdivisions of a county and are not incorporated municipalities.[citation needed]

The oldest existing municipal town in Illinois is Astoria in Fulton County, incorporated on January 24, 1839; the newest existing town is La Prairie in Adams County, incorporated on April 15, 1869.[1]

There are 19 incorporated towns in Illinois, none of which are county seats:[1]

Existing incorporated towns in Illinois
Town County Incorporated Pop. (2010)
Annawan Henry March 31, 1869 878
Astoria Fulton January 24, 1839 1,141
Atkinson Henry March 7, 1867 972
Belle Prairie City Hamilton March 30, 1869 54
Bentley Hancock March 25, 1869 35
Chatsworth Livingston March 8, 1867 1,265
Cicero Cook February 28, 1867 83,891
Cortland DeKalb February 16, 1865 4,270
Dakota Stephenson March 11, 1869 506
La Prairie Adams April 15, 1869 47
Mason Effingham February 15, 1865 345
Naples Scott February 1, 1839 130
New Canton Pike March 31, 1869 359
Nilwood Macoupin September 3, 1867 284
Normal McLean February 2, 1867 52,497
Otterville Jersey March 7, 1867 126
Palestine Crawford February 15, 1855 1,369
Sigel Shelby July 3, 1867 373
Topeka Mason April 10, 1869 90

Despite its name, Belle Prairie City, Illinois is an incorporated town, not a city.


Municipalities in Maryland can be cities, towns, or villages.

New England[edit]

In all six New England states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine), towns are the main units of local government. Towns cover most or all land area in all six states, including rural areas. New England towns are notable for their town meeting form of government.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Illinois Regional Archives Depository System. "Name Index to Illinois Local Governments". Illinois State Archives. Illinois Secretary of State. Retrieved April 26, 2013.