Municipal Incorporation Activity and the Clustering of New Municipalities in North Carolina

1990 - 2008

  • Russell M. Smith Winston-Salem State University


Between 1990 and 2008, North Carolina experienced the second greatest number of municipal incorporations of any state in the Union. Examining the spatial distribution of these newly incorporated municipalities (NIMs) within North Carolina reveals that the Piedmont Region, Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan Statistical Areas saw a greater number of incorporations than the Coastal and Mountain Regions or Non-Metropolitan Areas of North Carolina. Additionally, the clustering of new municipalities within certain counties and MSA 's reveals that a 'herd mentality' exists among incorporating entities. This so-called 'herd mentality' is characterized by multiple unincorporated areas surrounding larger municipalities defensively preventing the annexation of their community into the larger neighboring municipality by creating a new municipality of their own.