Special districts are the most common form of government in the United States, and their popularity continues to grow. Since 2017, the U.S. has added almost 800 new special districts, bringing the total number of independent districts to an all-time high of 39,262.
What is driving the growth of districts?
Districts provide specialized services and are smaller than other forms of government, making them nimble to evolve and maintain critical infrastructure.
They are experts in their fields, whether it be scientists, firefighters, engineers, or water and environmental professionals. Their expertise allows districts to quickly respond to a changing world and new technologies.
That's what makes districts so effective and so popular!
Much of the recent growth is driven by the second most common district type, multi-function districts, especially in Colorado and Texas.
In Colorado, the number of multi-function districts grew by over 30% in 4 years. A majority of the newly-formed multi-function districts are metropolitan districts created to support increased development in Colorado.
In Texas, the number of multiple utility districts, MUD's, is growing as MUD's are formed to provide miscellaneous utility services not otherwise offered by municipalities like cities or counties.
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*all data comes from 2012, 2017, and 2021 U.S. Census Bureau reports