Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Solving last week’s local government decentralization riddle: school districts massively consolidated, special districts exploded, and counties and city governments stayed about the same

Last week I posted about some curious U.S. Census data I found that appeared to indicate that the number of local government units had shrunk by 42 percent since 1942, a trend that would seemingly buck conventional beliefs that local governments had, in fact, radically decentralized in the post-World War II era.

I couldn’t let this go, and this week contacted several researchers at the U.S. Census who gave some color to the data.  I thought I would pass along several aspects of what we discussed because it is not readily available on the Census website (or, at least, to someone like me who couldn’t otherwise find it).  Key points: 

--The aggregate numbers of local government units do, in fact, show a decrease in the number of local government units since 1942.

--However, the overall numbers are skewed by the dramatic centralization of one very particular type of local government unit:  the school district.  For instance, in 1942, there were 108,579 school districts but by 2007 (2012 data in this set is being released in the fall) there were just 13,051 school districts in the U.S.  For this data set, there are also numbers for 1932, in which there were 128,548 school districts.  That means we have just over 10% of the school districts in 2007 that we had in 1932 and with about three times the population.  Wow. 

--If you remove school districts from the data, it turns out that the conventional wisdom is right about special districts.  In 1942 there were just 8,299 special districts while in 2007 there were 37,381 special districts.  Wow…and in line with the narrative I typically tell students about proliferation of local governments.

--The number of city and county governments in the U.S. has largely held steady since the 1940s, though with regional variation.

This is really fun data to review.  For those who want to learn more, the data is available here.  Download file “”.  Open file “1_Govt_Org_Nat_State_Counts”.  Click on the “Table 3” and “Table 4” tabs to review data in this blog post.  Unfortunately, the tables are too large to be reproduced meaningfully as a jpeg on this blog, so you’ll have to go to the source if you’d like to see the detailed numbers.

A big thank you to the great folks at the U.S. Census, Joseph Dalaker and Liz Accetta, who provided amazing research assistance and helped me solve this riddle in just a few short days!

Stephen R. Miller

May 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Professors' Corner May 8--Commercial Leasing

As many of you know, the ABA hosts a free "Professors' Corner" teleconference each month, where we have the chance to discuss recent cases and hot topics with scholars and practitioners.  Courtesy of Julie Forrester, here is the info on this month's discussion, which focuses on commercial leasing:

Professors’ Corner is a monthly free teleconference sponsored by the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section's Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group. Each month’s call features a panel of law professors who discuss recent cases or issues of interest to real estate practitioners and scholars.   Members of the AALS Real Estate Transactions Section are invited to participate in the call (as well as to join and become involved in the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

12:30 p.m. Eastern time (11:30 a.m. Central, 9:30 a.m. Pacific). Call is ONE HOUR in length.

Call-in number: 866-646-6488

Passcode: 5577419753

This month’s program, moderated by Professor Jim Durham of the University of Dayton School of Law, features a roundtable on Commercial Leasing.  Our two featured speakers will be Professors Celeste Hammond and Professor Daniel B. Bogart, who are co-authors of Commercial Leasing: A Transactional Primer, now in its Second Edition and published by Carolina Academic Press.

Professor Hammond is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Real Estate Law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Professor Hammond will be discussing “Green” issues in commercial leasing and the implications of this “greening” for landlords, tenants, and their attorneys.  Here is a copy (for your download and preview) of a Powerpoint presentation that will accompany Professor Hammond’s comments:

Professor Bogart is the Daniel and Marjorie Bollinger Chair in Real Estate Law at Chapman University School of Law, where he serves as both the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and as the Director of the Center for Land Resources.  Professor Bogart will be discussing some recent leasing decisions of note, including (click on the link for a copy of each decision):

J-Star Holdings, LLC v. The Pantry (Tenn. Ct. App. January 2013) (whether a commercial lease agreement requires the tenant to pay excise taxes imposed on the landlord):

Maida Vale, Inc. v. Abbey Road Plaza Corp., 96 So.3d 1027 (Fla. Ct. App. 2012) (whether a tenant who withheld payment of disputed CAM charges may be evicted for nonpayment of rent):

Fairfax Portfolio, LLC v. Owens Corning Insulating Systems, 2013 WL 440726 (10th Cir. 2013) (whether a tenant that surrendered the premises without repairing significant property damage as required by the lease can be deemed to have held over while landlord effects repairs so as to permit landlord to collect rent during that period):

Matt Festa

May 7, 2013 in Caselaw, Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)