City vs County: Difference and Comparison

A city and a county refer to the geographical demarcations of a region. A city and a county are set up with the purpose of dividing a country for political and administrative purposes.

Often confused as meaning the same, city and county are differentiable on several grounds. By definition, a city is a permanent settlement, whereas a county is established for political purposes.

A city and county initiate the division of a country on the grounds of population and land resources. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Cities are smaller, more densely populated areas, while counties are larger administrative regions that include cities and towns.
  2. City governments handle local issues, while county governments address broader concerns affecting the entire region.
  3. Cities have police departments, while counties may provide law enforcement services for unincorporated areas.

City vs County

The difference between a city and a county is that the population size of a county is larger than that of any one city in a particular country. The geographical area enclosed by a county is larger than that enclosed by a city. In fact, a county comprises one or more cities. A city is a permanent settlement, while a county is set up for administrative purposes. 

City vs County

A city is housed by a large and permanent population which has its own legal and political system. It covers a large area of land. 

A city has its own healthcare centres, education facilities, transportation services, court systems, and public welfare departments. The chief head of a city is the Mayor. 

A county is established for political and administrative purposes. It serves a government purpose. A county encloses cities, districts, and villages within its area and provides them with basic facilities.

The size of the counties varies across countries, and they serve the purpose of dividing the country into different areas. A county has a council. The chief head of a county is the Commissioner. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCityCounty 
Definition A city is a permanent area of land inhabited by people.A county is a geographical area set up for administrative and political purposes. 
Geographical AreaA city has a smaller geographical area than a county. A county has a larger geographical area than a city. A county consists of more than one city. 
Population size A city has a smaller population size than a county. A city may be a part of a county.  A county has a larger population size than a city. 
Name and Head of the Legislative Body The legislative body of a city is a municipality, headed by the Mayor. The legislative body of a county is a council, headed by the Commissioner. 
Awareness of the term The term city is widely used and understood. The term county doesn’t have a wide usage, except in the USA. 

What is a City?

A city is a permanent settlement for individuals that covers a large area of land. A city has a considerable strata of the population living within its defined area. It has its own political and legal system.

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A city has health care centres, transportation services, education facilities, court systems, fire departments and public welfare departments that can be accessed by the population of the region.

Apart from that, a city provides various kinds of rejuvenation activities. 

A city is known to be established on land with a shared historical background.  The legislative body of a city is the municipality which is headed by the Mayor.

The municipality serves the purpose of ensuring the smooth functioning of the city. It also settles the legal disputes occurring within the region.

There are a large number of cities in the world. Each city is defined by its limits or boundaries, which make a person aware that he/she is leaving one city and entering another city or county.

In terms of area, Tokyo, Japan, is the largest city in the world. 

City

What is a County? 

A county is a geographical area set up for political and administrative purposes. It encloses more than one city, village or district within its area.

The size of a county varies from country to country and serves the role of dividing the country into several areas. A county is set up for legal reasons and also to meet the needs of the population on a larger scale.

A county provides facilities such as health care, education, transport services and legal protection to the people who come within its area of jurisdiction.

The legislative body of a county is a seven-member council with the Commissioner as the chief executive. A county government is accountable to a larger geographic area than a city. 

A county serves to provide basic services to a larger section of the population. It ensures that the needs of people in cities with inadequate resources are also met. There are many counties in the world.

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However, they are mostly prominently described as counties only in the USA

county

Main Differences Between City and County 

  1. A city is a permanent and large settlement, while a county is set up for administrative and political purposes. 
  2. The population size of a county is larger than that of a city. 
  3. The geographical area covered by a county is larger than that covered by a city.  A county comprises more than one city. 
  4. The legislative body of a city is the municipality which is headed by the Mayor. The legislative body of a county is the council which is headed by the Commissioner. 
  5. A county provides facilities such as health care, education, transportation and legal protection to a larger section of a population than the one provided by a city. 
  6. The term city is widely used and accepted, whereas the term county is mostly prevalent in the USA
Difference Between City and County
References
  1. https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520205307/los-angeles-a-to-z

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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27 thoughts on “City vs County: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This is a very informative article comparing cities and counties. I appreciate that it includes a comparison table to easily understand their differences.

    Reply
  2. The article excellently captures the essential differences between cities and counties. It’s a valuable resource for understanding the role of these geographic demarcations.

    Reply
  3. This article provides a clear and concise explanation of the differences between cities and counties. Very well written and informative.

    Reply
  4. The depth of information provided in this article is impressive. It’s an excellent learning resource for understanding the concepts of cities and counties.

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  5. This article provides a thorough and comprehensive comparison of cities and counties, making it an excellent guide to understanding their roles and differences.

    Reply
  6. The article offers an insightful comparison between cities and counties, providing a clear understanding of their roles and differences.

    Reply
  7. The information presented here is enlightening and well-organized. The comparison between cities and counties becomes clear through this article.

    Reply
    • I agree, the article provides a comprehensive breakdown of the roles and distinctions which is highly beneficial for the readers.

      Reply
    • The side-by-side comparison is very helpful, and the article provides valuable insights into the characteristics of both cities and counties.

      Reply
  8. This article provides a comprehensive explanation of what cities and counties are, where they differ, and the services they offer. I found it highly enlightening.

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  9. I found the article to be detailed and very informative in its explanation of cities and counties. The comparison table is particularly helpful.

    Reply
    • I completely agree with the thoroughness of the article. It’s an excellent resource for understanding the roles of cities and counties.

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