How Many Counties are in The U.S., and Which Has the Most and Least?
A county in the United States is the seat of local government that falls directly below the state government. There are only two states in the U.S. that don’t have counties; Louisiana has parishes (a territory under the jurisdiction of a priest) while Alaska has boroughs (a region that self-governs). Some counties in the northeastern section of the U.S. have no governing function at all, but serve the U.S. in times of statistics for the Census bureau and some governing business on a state level. There is a total of 3,143 county-functioning governing parts all together, with 136 of those acting as equals to a county.
There are independent cities that function as counties as well in the United States, but aren’t considered a true county themselves except when used as a census statistic. Out of the 42 total independent cities in the country, the state of Virginia has most of them, 39, while the other three reside in three separate states and are the cities: Baltimore, St. Louis, and Carson City in Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada, respectively. Most of the counties were established in the 1800’s, with one county, Broomfield County in the state of Colorado, being the exception; it was established in the year 2001.
The state of Texas has the most counties — a whopping 95 more counties than the second largest county-holding state, with 254 counties. Georgia comes in second with 159, and Virginia, with its 39 independent cities, comes in third at 134 counties. Technically, Delaware has the least amount of counties, 3. But when it comes to counting counties for statistics sake, the District of Columbia has the least, because it’s considered both a county-seat and state-seat.