What is the difference between a town and a city?
I am aware historically that the difference between a town and city, was that the latter must contain a cathedral. I am interested to know if this still persists, particularly in the more modern and multicultural society, we have today. I am also interested as when studying foreign languages: Italian and German, I noted that they do not have two separate words, simply one, thus there being no differentiation. Any ideas?
Well, in Germany the equivalent of a town is called Gemeinde. It is a municipality in its own right, as any city (Stadt), btut of smaller size in population and generally lacking some services usually found in cities, i.e. hospitals, courts, etc. This same distinction between cities and towns also occurs in countries like Austria and Portugal while in Spain the distinction is only made in historical terms having no meaning in the spanish adminsitrative system today.
In the United States, an incorporated city is a legally defined government entity, with powers delegated by the state and county and created and approved by the voters of the city. It can provide local government services to its citizens. In most places in the U.S. a town, village, community, or neighborhood is simply an unincorporated community with no governmental powers. Usually, county governments provide services to these unincorporated communities. Some states do have official designations of "towns" that include limited powers.
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