City Vs Town

A city is a larger urban area that with a high concentration of people on its land. Towns have similarities to cities but typically have a lower population density and occupy smaller land areas.

What is a City?

In the United States, a city usually has an established public transportation system. It also typically has a centralized business district, otherwise known as downtown or the city center. Most of the time, you know where a city starts and ends by the boundary lines around it and by its entrance and exit signs.

A selection of thriving religious houses of worship, nightclubs and restaurants and community centers also set roots in a city. In addition, they usually have more paved roads, managed walking paths and parks than towns. Furthermore, they normally have an established municipal court system and law enforcement.

Distinctions of Cities Worldwide (Examples)

The United States

In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau defined places with a population density of at least 500 persons per square mile as an urban area. As of 2020, the U.S. decided instead to define urban regions by 385 housing units per mile. This consistently equals about 1,000 persons per square mile, whether housing units were vacant or not.

Total population density would have to equal 4,000 housing units or 10,000 persons. These urban areas are usually cities. It’s not always as easily figured as this, such as if it’s an area that contains bodies of water. This is the general rule though.

The United Kingdom

A queen or monarch usually designates UK cities, and they do have an application process for new jurisdictions to become one. Cities in this country are usually defined as ones having a cathedral or university, a dense population and a local government.

Concerning cathedrals, it’s more of a historical than a legal criterion, however. Cities typically have an established council though.

Capital and Religious Cities

Capital cities and religious cities (a.k.a. “Ecclesiastical” or “holy” cities) typically stand out more than standard ones. They both have definite borders and either large governmental or ecclesiastical structures.

What is a Town?

A town often looks like a city with rows of houses near each other but only on a smaller land area. However, they might also have to share a postal office even if it has its own zip code.

Towns may also not have the funds for their own public transportation system. Therefore, they might sometimes share bus or train services with a nearby city.

Paved roads and pathways may occur in towns, and so do sidewalks. However, they might only occur on main roads and not neighborhood streets. Towns want to develop their areas more, they might have to seek funding from a larger nearby urban jurisdiction.

Distinctions of Towns Worldwide (Examples)

Towns often has physical boundaries, such as a fence. Sometimes, their borders aren’t as obvious as cities. Street markets, such as the ones you find on some England streets, also typically happen in towns.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, consider enclosed garden spaces communities for the wealthy. These spaces typically have township status.

By the way, not all U.S. states classify towns the same way, despite the Census Bureaus’ criteria. For instance, Louisiana classifies a town that has between 1,000 and 4,999 residents in it. Alabama, on the other hand, designates “a settlement” as one with less than 2,000 people.