Difference Between A Township And A City

A township and a city are both forms of municipalities, but differ in their size, form of government, and services offered to residents. They share similarities in their ability to provide services to their residents, but they are markedly different in important ways.

Size and Structure

A city is a larger entity than a township, and is typically defined as having more than 5,000 residents. Typically, cities are found in urban areas or in parts of the country that are experiencing rapid growth. These larger municipalities have a more complex structure of government, with a mayor or city manager, city council, and departmental administration staff.

By contrast, a township is smaller in size, typically consisting of a few thousand residents. Unlike cities, townships are typically found in rural or suburban areas where populations are less dense. Township governments are usually governed by a board of trustees, and they are responsible for coordinating services like police and fire departments, public works, and parks and recreation.

Services Offered to Residents

Cities and townships both exist to provide services to their residents, but the range of services offered often differs between the two types of municipalities. Cities typically have more extensive services than townships, with amenities like public transportation systems, libraries, hospitals and cultural centers often found within a city’s boundaries.

In contrast, townships have fewer residents and thus fewer resources to provide extensive services to their community. They often focus on fewer services, such as road maintenance and snow removal, and coordinating utilities like water and electricity. Additionally, because townships have fewer resources, residents may have to travel to neighboring cities to get access to certain amenities like healthcare.

Form of Government

Another key difference between townships and cities is the form of government in place. Cities often have a more complex form of government, with a strong mayor or city manager and a city council that oversees different departments. The City Council typically approves budgets, laws, and regulations, while the city manager or the mayor is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city.

By contrast, townships are often governed by board of trustees, which is a smaller and more streamlined governing structure. The board of trustees typically consists of three to five members who oversee the day-to-day operation of the township government. Township officials are often more accessible to residents than city officials, due to their smaller size and more local government structure.


Q: Can a township become a city?
A: Yes, a township can become a city if it meets certain criteria such as having a population over 5,000, and receiving approval from state and local authorities.

Q: Are cities always larger than townships?
A: Yes, cities are typically larger than townships, but this is not always the case. Some smaller cities may have populations just slightly larger than that of a typical township.

Q: Are taxes higher in cities or townships?
A: Tax rates vary depending on the location, but in general, taxes in larger cities are higher than those in townships. This is due to the greater number of services offered by cities and the larger number of residents they serve.


In conclusion, the differences between townships and cities are numerous, with some of the most important being size, the form of government, and the services provided to residents. While both types of municipalities exist to provide essential services, cities typically offer a wider range of services and have a more complex form of government. Townships, on the other hand, are typically smaller and more streamlined, allowing for more accessible local government. Ultimately, whether someone chooses to live in a city or a township will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preferences for culture, services, and community engagement.