New England town

The town is the basic unit of local government and local division of state authority in the six New England states. Most other U.S. states lack a direct counterpart to the New England town. New England towns overlay the entire area of a state, similar to civil townships in other states where they exist, but they are fully functioning municipal corporations, possessing powers similar to cities in other states. New Jersey's system of equally powerful townships, boroughs, towns, and cities is the system which is most similar to that of New England. New England towns are often governed by a town meeting legislative body. The great majority of municipal corporations in New England are based on the town model; there, statutory forms based on the concept of a compact populated place are uncommon, though elsewhere in the U.S. they are prevalent. County government in New England states is typically weak at best, and in some states nonexistent. Connecticut, for example, has no county governments,[1] nor does Rhode Island.[2] Both of those states retain counties only as geographic subdivisions with no governmental authority, while Massachusetts[3] has abolished eight of fourteen county governments so far. Counties serve mostly as dividing lines for the states' judicial systems in the southern New England states, while only providing limited services in the three northern New England states.

  • Also known as:
  • New England town
This map shows the six New England states and their local political subdivisions.[image reference needed]
CategoryMunicipal corporation
Location New England (United States):
Found inU.S. states in New England
Created byVarious colonial agreements followed by state constitutions
Number1,527 (as of 2016)
Populations41 (Hart's Location, New Hampshire) – 63,268 (West Hartford, Connecticut)
Areas1.2 sq mi. (Nahant, Massachusetts) – 291.2 sq mi. (Pittsburg, New Hampshire)