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A subdivision of government in most American states. Most of the time, a county is a municipal level below the state government but above a city or township. Counties serve different purposes, depending on the state. In some states, they have courts and a sheriff's office. The chief prosecutor (district attorney) for an area is often employed at the county level. In Oklahoma and many other states, counties have jurisdiction over all land in their boundaries not otherwise incorporated into a city or other municipality. In some states like Maryland, counties have quite broad responsibilities, including the provision of public health services and education. On the other hand, counties have no authority in Rhode Island. In Louisiana, counties are called parishes. In Alaska, they are called boroughs. See also: ABCD Counties.


A political subdivision within a state. It is usually the largest government body within the state.In Louisiana,the equivalent is called a parish.

References in periodicals archive ?
Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, the Republican nominee for governor, realizes the importance of the collar counties and has "people reaching out to all the various groups," said Tern Hickey, a Ryan spokeswoman.
In 1990, two-thirds of the farming-dependent counties had no town with over 2,500 population (Cook & Mizer, 1994).