Unincorporated areaSign at Pine Valley, California, United States, an unincorporated community northeast of San Diego.
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality. To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, i.e., a city or town with its own government. Thus, an unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a city government. Such regions are generally administered by default as a part of larger territorial divisions such as: township, borough, county, state, province, canton, parish, or country. It is uncommon, but not unknown, for small towns in fiscal crisis to disincorporate in order to have services provided by a higher administration.
- 1 Australia
- 2 Canada
- 3 Germany
- 4 United States
- 5 Countries without unincorporated places
- 6 See also
- 7 References
In Australia there are large unincorporated areas in the Northern Territory with 9000 km of roads in those areas. Most of South Australia is in the unincorporated Outback Areas Community Development Trust. The far west and north of New South Wales is called the Unincorporated Far West Region, which is sparsely populated and barely warrants an elected council. However a civil servant in the state capital manages such matters as are necessary. The only other state to have unincorporated areas is Victoria, which has two small unincorporated areas in Alpine Shire, and one in Shire of Mansfield (all of which are ski resorts), as well as some small off shore islands. The Australian unincorporated areas are mainly notable due to their vast size.
In Canada, depending on the province, an unincorporated settlement is one that has no town council. It is usually, but not always, part of a larger municipal government. This can range from small hamlets to larger urbanized areas. For example, Sherwood Park, a suburb of Edmonton would be the seventh largest city in Alberta if it were incorporated, but remains simply a part of the Specialized Municipality of Strathcona County. Likewise, the oil sands boomtown of Fort McMurray, Alberta is not a separate community but part of the massive Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality.
Unincorporated settlements with a population of between 100 and 1,000 residents may have the status of designated place in Canadian census data.
Some unincorporated settlements which are not part of a larger municipality — particularly those in very remote areas — may have some types of municipal services provided to them by a quasi-governmental agency such as a local service board.
As of January 1, 2004, Germany had 244 (of which 215 are located in Bavaria) uninhabited unincorporated areas, called gemeindefreie Gebiete or singular gemeindefreies Gebiet, not belonging to any municipality, consisting mostly of forested areas. There are also three inhabited unincorporated areas (Osterheide and Lohheide in Lower Saxony, and Gutsbezirk Münsingen in Baden-Württemberg).
United StatesThis article or section may contain original researchor unverified claims.
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In United States local government, an unincorporated community is one general term for a geographic area having a common social identity without benefit of municipal organization or official political designation (i.e. incorporation as a city or town). There are two main types of unincorporated communities:
- a neighborhood or other community existing within one or across multiple existing incorporated areas (i.e. cities or towns). For example, Clifton, Massachusetts lies on the border between the towns of Swampscott and Marblehead. Nike headquarters is completely surrounded by the city of Beaverton, Oregon.
- a neighborhood or other community existing outside of an incorporated municipal government, or away from a larger urbanized area. For examples, see Nutbush, Tennessee, Paradise, Michigan and Romance, Arkansas.
In the United States, unincorporated regions tend to be fairly rare in the densely populated New England and Mid-Atlantic states, but are very common in the Midwest, western and southwestern states, such as California and Nevada, and in the southeastern states, such as Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Unlike most other states, Maryland in particular grants significant home-rule powers to its counties, hence population centers comprising tens of thousands — including virtually all of suburban Baltimore — have little incentive to incorporate. In fact, there are only 156 incorporated municipalities in Maryland, far fewer than most similarly-populated states, and two counties, Howard and Baltimore County contain zero incorporated municipalities.
Michigan, Hawaii, Florida
The state of Michigan has policies that favor townships and discourage city formation, and so has many such communities. The state of Hawaii takes the concept to its logical conclusion: it has no incorporated cities as subcounty governments (the City and County of Honolulu is the state's only "city") and all its "towns" are administered at the county level. In 2006, Miami-Dade County, Florida had 52% of its 2.2 million residents residing in unincorporated areas. The South Florida metropolitan area in total had an estimated 5,463,857 persons, of which 1,671,398 live in unincorporated areas.
In New Jersey, unincorporated communities are well-defined localities that belong to, and pay property taxes to, one (or more) City, Township, Town, Borough or Village. Some of the areas have official recognition as a Census-designated place, such as Somerset, New Jersey which is part of Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. Other communities have their own ZIP Code because they have their own post office such as Deans, New Jersey, which is part of South Brunswick Township, New Jersey. Other communities were once single-owner large farms that were later incorporated into a neighboring township such as Middlebush, New Jersey. Some smaller communities are incorporated into larger urban areas, such as when Greenville was merged into Jersey City
In New York, unincorporated communities within towns are sometimes casually referred to as hamlets, though New York State does not recognize a hamlet as a municipal entity. The towns are themselves municipalities which can contain villages. Exceptions to this exist, however, such as the peculiar relationship between the Village of Mamaroneck, the Village of Larchmont, the unincorporated town of Mamaroneck, and the overarching Town of Mamaroneck. In Ohio, townships are considered unincorporated areas while only villages and cities are referred to as incorporated.
In the context of the United States insular areas, the word "unincorporated" means that the territory has not been formally and irrevocably incorporated into the United States. (See: incorporated territory.) Unincorporated insular areas are therefore potentially subject to being sold or otherwise transferred to another power, or, conversely, being granted independence. However, neither fate seems likely to occur in the foreseeable future to the five remaining major unincorporated U.S. insular areas, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
In some areas, small centers of population retain the names that they were given when they were originally settled, even though the neighborhoods later became part of other municipalities. Official signs mark those towns, with the designation, "unincorporated."
Countries without unincorporated places
Many countries, especially those with many centuries of history using multiple tiers of local government, do not use the concept of an unincorporated place.
In the United Kingdom the whole of the country, rural and urban, has been covered by a two or three-tier system of local government for many centuries (although many of the larger conurbations now have single tier or unitary local governments). In South Africa the latest constitution gave every place in the country democratically elected third-tier government.
Likewise the whole of the territories of Austria, Finland, France (except for some small overseas possessions), Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland are divided into communes.
- Census-designated place
- County island
- Unincorporated community (New Jersey)
- Unparished area, an area of England that is not within any civil parish
- ^ Loraine Braham (10am. August 25, 2004). Building Healthier Communities – Report. Full Text Transcript, Ministerial Reports, Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Retrieved on 2007-02-08.
- ^ http://www.pbcgov.com/pzb/Planning/population/countyprofile.pdf
- ^ http://www.broward.org/planningservices/bbtn47.pdf
- ^ Population Served by Local Governments
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