With the federal government officially in the process of “shutting down” Americans might find comfort knowing that more than 90,000 local governments will still be operating, at least for now.
According to the 2012 Census of Government, there are approximately 29 local government entities per 100,000 people nationwide.
In Kansas, that number jumps to 134, more than four times the national average.
In fact, Kansas – at 134 – is higher than most neighboring states per 100,000: Missouri 63, Oklahoma 49, Arkansas 53, Illinois 54 and Iowa 64.
Only Nebraska at 141 government entities per 100,000 population is higher.
Most of the growth has occurred in special districts. Taxing entities used to fund everything from fire protection to mosquito abatement have grown from about 8,200 in 1942 to more than 38,000 in 2012. According to the Stateline report, cash strapped cities often use special taxing entities to fund services they can no longer afford.
Townships have decreased by about 2,000 and towns have increased about 3,000.
One major decrease has been in the number of school districts.
Since 1942, as the nation has moved away from one room schools houses towards consolidation, school districts nationwide have fallen from a high of 108,000 in the 40’s to a little more than 12,800 independent districts, according to a Stateline interactive graphic.
The five year census is a compilation of data from all 50 states and includes cities, counties, schools, towns, townships and special entities. It is available online at http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/interactive-local-governments-through-the-years-85899508149.