What makes a town? Here’s the Census Bureau’s definition

Mar 16, 2012

Buford, WY is famous for its population of one. And with the upcoming auction of Buford, it has drawn the interest of people who might like to own what’s marketed as “the nation’s smallest town.” So what does it take to make a town? 


Amy Bittner is senior economist at the state Economic Analysis Division, and her office is the contact for the state’s census data center program.


 “Essentially, cities and towns are incorporated places. They have an official boundary, they have a local government,” Bittner says.


By these criteria, Lost Springs is the smallest town in Wyoming, with a population of four - including the mayor.

But Bittner says the census accounts for other areas where people live, that they call Census Designated Places. Wyoming’s smallest is Table Rock, which had 17 people in 2000. As of the 2010, it now has a population of zero.