Minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau to designate the primary governmental and/or administrative divisions of a county, such as a civil township, precinct, or magisterial district. MCDs exist in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
In 20 states, all or many MCDs are general-purpose governmental units: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Most of these MCDs are legally designated as towns or townships.
The type of government may range from inoperative, to weak governmental authority, to incorporated municipalities. Since MCDs appear in a different category than incorporated places, this has caused some confusion in states where the MCDs have strong governments, such as in Michigan, the New England states, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In states that do not have MCDs, the Census Bureau designates Census County Divisions (CCDs). In states that use MCDs, when any portion of the state is not covered by an MCD, the Census Bureau creates additional entities as unorganized territories, that it treats as equivalent to MCDs for statistical purposes.
- Chapter 8: County Subdivisions from the Census Bureau's Geographic Areas Reference Manual (PDF)
- State/County Subdivision Outline Maps