There are two types of townships in the United States; a state may have one or both types. In states that have both, the boundaries often coincide in many counties.
- A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States, subordinate to a county. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. In many states, townships are organized and operate under the authority of state statutes, similar to counties. In others, townships operate as municipal corporations—chartered entities with a degree of home rule. There are exceptions, the most notable being New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where townships are a class of incorporation with fixed boundaries and equal standing to a village, town, borough, or city, analogous to a New England town or towns in New York.
When after the Treaty of Paris, the U.S. did its first census of Puerto Rico the documents called them "barrios" as they had been called when Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule. The townships or barrios as they are called in P.R. and on U.S. Census documents are subdivisions of municipalities of Puerto Rico.