The area of New York was part of the original territory of the United States. When originally chartered in 1664, it included a much larger area. A portion was sold to create New Jersey in 1664, and title claims were ceded in 1682 to Delaware and Pennsylvania. In 1780, New York ceded area to the United States that became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787. New York ratified the U.S. Constitution on July 26, 1788; it was the 11th of the original 13 states to join the Union. In 1791, New York consented to the statehood separation of Vermont; in 1792, it sold area along Lake Erie (the Erie Triangle) to Pennsylvania, to assume generally the same boundary as the present state.
Census data for New York are available beginning with the 1790 census. The 1790 census data do not include population included in present-day Pennsylvania or Vermont. These areas were enumerated as parts of those states, although the Erie Triangle and all of the state of Vermont legally were part of New York at the time of the census.
See: Geographic Terms & Concepts
Counties & County Equivalents
There are 62 counties in New York. The five counties that comprise New York city (Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond) are governmentally consolidated with the city. The remaining 57 counties are functioning governmental units, each governed by a board of supervisors, county legislature, board of representatives, a legislative board, or a board of legislators.
There are 1,023 county subdivisions in New York known as minor civil divisions (MCDs). There are 932 towns with functioning, but not necessarily active governmental units. East Rochester, Mount Kisco, and Scarsdale towns are coextensive with a single incorporated place and have joint MCD/place governments. Green Island and Harrison towns are coextensive with a single incorporated place and have separate active township governments. Each town is governed by a town supervisor or town manager and a town council or town board.
The five boroughs that comprise New York city (one borough in each of the five counties) are not considered to be functioning governmental units. There are 61 cities in New York that are independent of MCDs and serve as 62 county subdivisions. There are 14 county subdivisions comprised of American Indian reservations. American Indian areas have a special legal status regarding their relationship to state and county government and are treated by the Census Bureau as county subdivision equivalents for the portion of the reservation within each county.
Minor civil divisions are legally incorporated municipal corporations within the state. They provide a range of services to their residents and are empowered to tax property within their boundaries to raise revenue. Villages in New York are places dependent within towns and are not treated as minor civil divisions, with the exception of the five town-village governments.
In addition, there are 10 undefined MCDs that consist entirely of water.
Places (Incorporated Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places (CDPs))
New York has 1,189 places; 617 incorporated places and 572 census designated places (CDPs). The incorporated places consist of 62 cities and 555 villages. Cities are independent of any town or American Indian reservation. Villages are dependent within county subdivision. New York city is coextensive with the five boroughs (MCDs). Green Island, East Rochester, Harrison, Mount Kisco, and Scarsdale villages are coextensive with a single town of the same name and have consolidated place/MCD governments. Pelham and Pelham Manor villages together are coextensive with a single town, Pelham, in Westchester County. City, town, and village governments have similar powers and perform similar functions.
In New York there is no set progression from village to city status. Cities independent of other county subdivisions are chartered by the state and there is no minimum population size to become a city.
Alphabetical List of Cities, Towns, CDPs and Other Populated Places
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q, R | S | T | U, V | W, X, Y, Z
New York Civil Features
New York Civil Features: Political Subdivisions, Native Areas, Land Grants, etc. - sorted by Census Class Codes.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Stastical Areas
There are 12 Metropolitan and 14 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in New York. NY Metopolitan & Micropolitan Areas
New York ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
There are 1,794 ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in New York. View New York ZIP Codes and ZIP Code Maps.
New York has 14 elementary school districts, 3 secondary school districts, and 669 unified school districts. View New York Public and Private Schools.
For the 111th Congress (January 2009-January 2011), New York had 29 congressional districts. For the 113th Congress (January 2013-January 2015), New York has 27 congressional districts as a result of reapportionment based on the 2010 Census. View Map of New York Congressional Districts.
State Legislative Districts
There are 62 state senate districts and 150 assembly districts in New York.
American Indian Areas
New York has eight federally recognized American Indian reservations. There is one tribal designated statistical area (TDSA). There are also two state recognized reservations.
Other Information Of General Geographic Interest
New York is the only state to have been among the top five most populous states since the first census in 1790.
New York city has been the nation’s most populous city each decade since 1790.
Brooklyn was once a separate city; it merged with New York in 1898.