Additional Math Pages & Resources

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Geographical Math, Part III

This is the third of a series illustrating the use of math with geography.

Today we will tackle the subject of sub-divisions of the country that are within the US. As I am not a political scientist, geographer or history teacher - the only reason for discussing these items is to demonstrate the importance of knowing basic math (as taught in our Excel Math curriculum).

Here are some of the "administrative divisions" of the United States:

Commonwealth (covered in a previous blog)
Territory (covered in a previous blog)

County, Parish, Borough
Consolidated City-County
Independent City

City, Town

I invite you to visit this Wikipedia page, choose any state and select a list of settlements or towns. Or, if you prefer your data closer to the source (and harder to parse), go to this Census page. Here is a map of my state, California, showing the population distribution. [click on map to enlarge]

Our population was roughly 37,350,000 in 2010, and the subdivisions are shown below:


California is divided into 58 COUNTIES, which are responsible for all elections, property-tax collection, maintenance of public records, and local courts plus the job of enforcing the law within all areas NOT inside an incorporated city. There is one CONSOLIDATED CITY-COUNTY in the state, San Francisco. Two counties have been consolidated into others, five areas have tried to split out from existing counties and failed, and at least a half-dozen proposals are pending to change county status. [click map to enlarge]


California has 482 incorporated cities and towns; 460 call themselves CITIES and 22 call themselves TOWNS. The term TOWNSHIP is obsolete and neither VILLAGE or BOROUGH have ever been used in California. Only currently incorporated places are counted. Ghost towns and previously incorporated cities that have merged into others are not counted. Seventeen cities in California have dis-incorporated themselves and are not counted.

There is no end of applications for math when studying people that live within a certain area of the world. Imagine the complexity of analyzing all the communities in all 182 regions that have visited this blog!