Thursday, July 14, 2005

Where are we?

CNN and Money magazine rank the best places to live every year. This year, No. 28 on that list -- Wexford, Pa., -- isn't a town. It's a post office designation for four towns in the Pittsburgh suburbs of North Hills: Pine, Franklin Park, McCandless and Marshall.

Is this a colossal screw-up? Probably not. (Let's hope the editors at Money magazine knew that going in, considering all their research.) But there are a lot of areas that come up like this.

In Kansas, we have Shawnee Mission, which is a post office designation, a historic site and a school district. But it's not a town.

And Bill Walsh points out a few more famous examples:
Jackson Hole sure sounds cool, but there is no "Jackson Hole, Wyo." -- the city that gives the area its name is simply Jackson. There's also no "La Jolla, Calif." -- La Jolla is a section of San Diego. I hope we all know that the Pentagon isn't in Washington, but what about all those casinos on the Las Vegas Strip? Not in Las Vegas; try unincorporated Clark County.
Have any other examples that bug you?


At 5:32 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Don said...

Tampa Bay, Fla. Unless you're a fish, you don't really reside in that great body of water. There's the city of Tampa, and the city of St. Petersburg; ain't no city of Tampa Bay.

At 6:36 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Nuclear Redaction said...

I mentioned some things over at Bill's place, but here's another thing I've been running across: I often see wire-service stories datelined from military bases and Indian reservations (both of which the Census Bureau officially considers "places") and from national parks and wildlife refuges (which it assuredly does not). Apparently, if you can find it on a map, the wires consider it worthy of a dateline.

At 6:38 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Phillip Blanchard said...

The list, of course, is of no news value.

At 10:24 PM, July 17, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

This footnote appears at the bottom of the list on the Money site:

*The data represent the zip codes associated with the town name. The listed populations often include areas outside an incorporated municipality. For instance, the town of Vienna has a population of 14,900, but 61,700 residents have a Vienna postal address.

At 2:12 PM, July 20, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

Good work, Nick. But still interesting: Would this count as an "incorporated municipality" in the first place?

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At 6:47 AM, September 26, 2005, Blogger Lorna said...

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