How many counties are in the United States?

There are 3,141 counties and county equivalents in the 50 States and the District of Columbia:

  • 3,007 entities named "County"
  • 16 Boroughs in Alaska
  • 11 Census Areas in Alaska (for areas not organized into Boroughs by the State)
  • 64 Parishes in Louisiana
  • 42 Independent Cities (1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Nevada, and the remainder in Virginia)
  • 1 District - the Federal District or District of Columbia

This does not include Commonwealths and territories and their 121 county equivalents:

  • Puerto Rico - 78 Municipios
  • U.S. Virgin Islands - 2 Districts
  • Guam - 19 Election Districts
  • Northern Mariana Islands - 17 Districts
  • American Samoa - 5 Districts

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How can I find the average elevation of a county?

Specific data for average (or mean) county elevations for the United States are not presently available from the USGS. You can use the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) query form to find an elevation on the centroid location of a county polygon by searching on a feature name, such as "County", with the "Civil" feature class. To get to...

How can I name an unnamed natural feature?

Proposals to name an unnamed natural feature can be submitted to the Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The BGN is responsible by law for standardizing geographic names throughout the Federal Government, and promulgates policies governing issues such as commemorative naming, derogatory names, and names in wilderness areas. Please note that no...

What is the difference between "mountain", "hill", and "peak"; "lake" and "pond"; or "river" and "creek?"

There are no official definitions for generic terms as applied to geographic features. Any existing definitions derive from the needs and applications of organizations using those geographic features. The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database utilizes 63 broad categories of feature types defined solely to facilitate retrieval of...

What is the most common city/town name in the United States?

There are no official definitions of city, town, village, hamlet, neighborhood, etc. All named entities with human habitation are classified as Populated Place, including incorporated places (20 percent of the Nation's communities), unincorporated places (the majority), housing developments not yet incorporated, and neighborhoods within...

What are the official definitions of regions in the United States. For example, what is "the Midwest," "the South," or the “East Coast”?

No level of government has official designations for regions. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names , which is responsible by law for standardizing geographic name usage throughout the Federal government, is often asked for official names and boundaries of regions, but does not and cannot provide them. Regions are application-driven and highly...

How are U.S. states, territories, and commonwealths designated in the Geographic Names Information System?

Several categories with different meanings and requirements fall under the jurisdiction of the United States and are contained in the Geographic Names Information Sytem (GNIS) data. States and DC 50 States plus the Federal District known as District of Columbia Commonwealths Puerto Rico (Caribbean) Northern Marianas Islands (Pacific) (former Trust...

What constitutes the United States? What are the official definitions?

Geographically (and as a general reference), the United States of America includes all areas considered to be under the sovereignty of the United States, but does not include leased areas. On May 14, 1959, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names issued the following definitions based partially on the Alaska Omnibus Bill, which defined the Continental...

What is the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)?

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) was developed by the U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), which maintains cooperative working relationships with state names authorities to standardize geographic names. GNIS contains information about the official names for places, features, and...
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Date published: February 28, 2014

The National Map and National Atlas Merge

During this year, National Atlas of the United States and The National Map will transition into a combined single source for geospatial and cartographic information. This transformation is projected to streamline access to maps, data and information from the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP). 

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Cheatham County TN
December 31, 2018

Cheatham County TN

Map of Tennessee highlighting Cheatham County 

Attribution: Water Resources
outline of NY state and counties with dot where study is located

Ground-Water Contamination Site, Cayuga County, New York

Map of Project Area location - Ground-Water Contamination Site, Cayuga County, New York