Introduction to Municipal Incorporation in the USA

  • Russell M. SmithEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Municipal incorporation is one of several types of local government boundary change in the USA. Additional forms of local government boundary change include: annexation, consolidation/merger, secession, and special district formation. Municipal incorporation is the legal process by which unincorporated territory is converted into a municipality. In the USA, this process has produced over 19,000 municipalities ranging in size from a few people to several million residents. Combined these events greatly influence the urban and political landscape of where a majority of US citizens live, work, and play. The reasons for establishing a new municipality have evolved over the centuries since the first cities were created in Mesopotamia. Defense, c ommerce, and r eligion have largely given way to annexation, race, and the demand for services as principal rationales for incorporating a new municipality. Today, the USA continues to witness the incorporation of new cities, but these geographic phenomena are generally understudied. This book hopes to shed light on this underexplored topic and lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex nature of municipal incorporation proceedings in the USA.


Annexation Consolidation/merger Early cities Local government boundary change Municipal incorporation Secession 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History, Politics and Social JusticeWinston-Salem State UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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