Incorporated town

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

An incorporated town or city in the United States is a municipality, that is, one with a charter received from the state.This is not to be confused with a chartered city/town with a governing system that is defined by the city's own charter document (voted in by its residents) rather than by state, provincial, regional or national laws. 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, 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. There are also different types of town/city governments (incorporated or chartered) that affect the organization administrative powers such as council-manager government that is the most popular form, townships, Villages, town meeting, etc.


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.

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.

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
TownCountyIncorporatedPop. (2010)
AnnawanHenryMarch 31, 1869878
AstoriaFultonJanuary 24, 18391,141
AtkinsonHenryMarch 7, 1867972
Belle Prairie CityHamiltonMarch 30, 186954
BentleyHancockMarch 25, 186935
ChatsworthLivingstonMarch 8, 18671,265
CiceroCookFebruary 28, 186783,891
CortlandDeKalbFebruary 16, 18654,270
DakotaStephensonMarch 11, 1869506
La PrairieAdamsApril 15, 186947
MasonEffinghamFebruary 15, 1865345
NaplesScottFebruary 1, 1839130
New CantonPikeMarch 31, 1869359
NilwoodMacoupinSeptember 3, 1867284
NormalMcLeanFebruary 2, 186752,497
OttervilleJerseyMarch 7, 1867126
PalestineCrawfordFebruary 15, 18551,369
SigelShelbyJuly 3, 1867373
TopekaMasonApril 10, 186990

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

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


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

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