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A census designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes. CDPs are delineated for each decennial census as the statistical counterparts of incorporated places, such as cities, towns, and villages. CDPs are populated areas that lack separate municipal government, but which otherwise physically resemble incorporated places.

CDPs are delineated solely to provide data for settled concentrations of population that are identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated under the laws of the state in which they are located. They include small rural communities, colonias located along the U.S. border with Mexico, and unincorporated resort and retirement communities. The boundaries of a CDP have no legal status. Thus, they may not always correspond with the local understanding of the area or community with the same name. However, criteria established for the 2010 Census require that a CDP name "be one that is recognized and used in daily communication by the residents of the community" (not "a name developed solely for planning or other purposes") and recommend that a CDP's boundaries be mapped based on the geographic extent associated with residents' use of the place name.

The U.S. Census Bureau states that census designated places are not considered incorporated places and that it includes only census designated places in its city population list for Hawaii because that state has no incorporated cities. In addition, census city lists from 2007 include Arlington County, Virginia's CDP in the list with the incorporated places.


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