The Local Governments
Local governments range in size from those with populations of less than 10 people to those with populations of more than 10 million people. Yet they all provide many of the same services - schools, police, firefighters, recreational facilities, libraries, and the construction and maintenance of local public works like roads and sewage treatment plants.
States are subdivided into counties. Pennsylvania, for instance, is divided into 67 different counties. The 18th Congressional District is located within one of those counties - Allegheny County. Some people who live in sparsely populated areas have all of their local government services provided directly by their county; they are said to live in an "unincorporated" part of the county.
Most people, however, live in a municipality within their county, and receive some public services from that municipality and other services from the County. Allegheny County, for example, is home to 130 different municipalities, the largest of which is the City of Pittsburgh. Many of these municipalities have their own police and fire departments, for example, but all of them rely upon the county to provide certain social services to their residents. Each state establishes its own municipalities and the rules under which they operate.
The following web sites provide additional information about local governments in the United States:
The following web sites provide additional information about local governments in Pennsylvania: