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United States Geography

Geography is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a science that deals with the description, distribution, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological and cultural features of the earth's surface.”
The United States is comprised of 50 States. Each State is an independent unit of a nation having a federal democratic government. Within each of these United States are cities, towns, boroughs and villages. The following is an excellent site for viewing and learning more about each state on an individual basis: http://www.50states.com/


When you think of a city within the U.S., think big. Most of the cities are very large in population and industry; they are measured in square mileage, and can be a wealth of education, entertainment and enjoyment.

Within cities there are municipalities, which are primarily urban political units, having corporate status and usually powers of self-government, especially in dealings with financial affairs and legislation.

The larger cities have a more metropolitan flavor; meaning they are more sophisticated, where fine dining restaurants, museums, and theater highlight the locale.

You may hear the term “inner city” neighborhood, which is usually an older, poorer, and more densely populated central section of a city. Other words that describe city atmosphere are urban and municipal.

In our immediate area, the most famous City is New York City. “The City”, as it is often referred, includes the five boroughs of Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. New York City has always been a mecca for immigrants entering the US, as the Status of Liberty greets them at the mouth of the Hudson River. It is known for its museums, renowned theatre district, restaurants of all nationalities and the heart of the financial world, Wall Street.

For more information on the different types and forms of the Municipal government, particularly for the State of New Jersey, please go to: http://www.njslom.com/


A County is the largest territorial division for local government within a state. To best understand a County, think of Freehold, NJ as a town in the County of Monmouth. Monmouth County is the government seat of county administration, including jurisdiction in both civil and criminal courts.

Some of the more rural areas have an annual “county fair” where everyone from around the county gathers for food, amusement rides, contests, and exhibits of local agricultural products and livestock.


Town – Township – Rural Area
A town is smaller than a city and is in a more rural area. It is still heavily populated but is best described as “larger than a village but smaller than a city”. The local government usually having a chief administrative officer or board governs a town.

A “rural area” is more of a country type setting. The life style and people are more laid-back, and the area is more associated with farms and agriculture.

This is the basic original meaning of these terms, but especially in the Northeast, towns and townships have changed within the last decade. They have become very populated. Industry has moved to these more rural areas and schools are becoming crowded. Large home developments, malls and strip-malls have taken over what used to be farms.

Slang “out on the town” means you are going out for the evening to have a good time, usually in a carefree pursuit of entertainment, as city nightlife, especially as a relief from routine daily living.


A borough is a municipality that is incorporated in a town. As with a town, a borough is in a rural area, usually surrounded by farm areas. In our immediate area, there are two distinct and very different examples of a borough.

Our Corporate office is in South Plainfield and we have two boroughs right next to South Plainfield (Metuchen and Highland Park). Going from Township to the Borough can be a matter of crossing a street and being either in the Town or the Borough (as it is sometimes called). Each maintains separate elective officials, school systems, property tax structure, police and fire departments.

As previously mentioned, New York City is made up of 5 boroughs, each maintaining its own elective officials, educational systems, police and fire departments. The five boroughs of New York are the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Going from one borough to another involves traveling either by car, bus, taxi cab, train, or subway, either over a bridge, through a tunnel or within the subway system, and lets not forget by ferry from Manhattan (Island) to Staten Island.


The United States of America is governed by a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules a country. This rule takes place by voting and electing officials, usually with similar views to represent the majority.

Each city, municipality, town/township and borough is governed by local electives, having their own self-government, in addition to the governing laws of their State and the United States Federal government.

Each State elects a Governor, who governs under the laws and statues of that State.

A Mayor is an elected official of a City, Town or Borough. The Mayor governs according to the laws, practices and customs of the community. Often a Mayor, including a Board of Council governs a Township and/or Borough.
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