In the United States, a county is a geographic subdivision of a state (or federal territory), usually assigned some governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states; Louisiana is divided into parishes and Alaska into boroughs. Parishes and boroughs are called "county-equivalents" by the U.S. Federal Government, as are certain independent cities which are not parts of counties. There are currently 3,143 counties and county-equivalents in the United States; 3,141 according to Wolfram|Alpha knowledgebase, 2011.
The powers of counties arise from state law and vary widely. In some states including Connecticut and Rhode Island, counties are geographic entities, but not governmental jurisdictions. At the other extreme, Maryland counties and the county-equivalent City of Baltimore handle