Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/US Guideline

City name, State name
Flag of City name, State name
Official seal of City name, State name
Include from 1 to 3 informal nicknames (e.g. "The Big Apple", "River City")
The city's official motto, if applicable, goes here
Interactive map outlining New York City
New York is located in New York
New York
New York
Location within the state of New York
New York is located in the United States
New York
New York
Location within the United States
New York is located in North America
New York
New York
Location within North America
Coordinates: 40°42′46″N 74°00′22″W / 40.71278°N 74.00611°W / 40.71278; -74.00611Coordinates: 40°42′46″N 74°00′22″W / 40.71278°N 74.00611°W / 40.71278; -74.00611[1]
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CountyCounty name (if applicable)
TownshipTownship Name (if applicable)
FoundedDate that the city was founded (optional)
IncorporatedDate of incorporation (optional)
 • TypeStrong Mayor–Council
 • MayorMichael Bloomberg (R)
 • City468.9 sq mi (1,214.4 km2)
 • Land303.3 sq mi (785.6 km2)
 • Water165.6 sq mi (428.8 km2)
 • Urban
3,352.6 sq mi (8,683.2 km2)
 • Metro
6,720 sq mi (17,405 km2)
Elevation33 ft (10 m)
 • City8,175,133
 • Estimate 
 • Density17,000/sq mi (6,700/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code(s)
100xx–104xx, 11004–05, 111xx–114xx, 116xx
Area code212, 347, 646, 718, 917, 929
FIPS code36-51000
GNIS ID975772

The introductory section should introduce the article about the city, serving as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, and explaining why the subject is interesting or notable.

This section should follow the guidelines specified under WP:LEAD. Additionally, a couple of items should be included in the lead section for city articles, including:

  • Name of city and location in state
  • City proper population (US Census figures should be used. When appropriate, other reliable estimates may be included as a supplement to Census figures.)
  • Metro population (US Census figures should be used. When appropriate, other reliable estimates may be included as a supplement to Census figures.)
  • Brief note about historical roots/founding
  • Primary industries supporting its economy (e.g. service, manufacturing, tourism, etc ...)
  • Notable unusual characteristics and characteristics commonly associated with it

Aspects of the metropolitan area other than population should be mostly avoided here and relegated to the proper metro area articles.

Names of the city should be given in each of the city's official languages. Pronunciation of the city name should be in IPA as per Help:IPA/English, though can also be in the main local language(s) if thought helpful.

The "red dot" maps for cities (found in the infobox, if any) are being produced by a number of Wikipedians.


This section provides a narrative of the settlement's history. Topics that can be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • the origin of the name; etymology if appropriate
  • original inhabitants/pioneers
  • original settlements
  • occupying powers/transitions of power
  • population spikes
  • recessions
  • reasons for settlement/growth
  • dominant activities
  • events that shaped the community

Most libraries will have books on local history. Be wary of loose interpretations, especially when using internet or promotional sources.

Note: History sections can easily become very long with more detail than appropriate for a general overview. While there is no strict rule on how long a section may be, as a general rule of thumb, more than 10 paragraphs or the use of subsection headings might indicate that it should be accompanied by a History of _ main article (using the main template). Only describe the minimum of what is required to understand where the community has come from and let the History of _ article give the details.

Avoid using second-level headings, since they tend to encourage excessive detail and length, and can disrupt cohesion.


This section provides a description of the physical geography. Topics that can be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • the settlement's context in the region
  • topography, natural features, landscape
  • cityscape and skyline
  • wildlife and vegetation
  • neighborhoods
  • infrastructure

The purpose is to describe the settlement as a geographic entity and space. Describe how the settlement exists in the larger region (for example, port on a river, harbor on a sea, agricultural community in the prairies, village in the mountains, suburb of city). The settlement as a geographic space is illustrated best with a map but can be explained by detailing the layout of the transportation infrastructure, neighborhoods, types of residential areas in relation to commercial or industrial spaces, etc.

If a coordinate (latitude and longitude) is included in the infobox, if there is any, remove any existing article coordinate from this section. There should be only one coordinate relating to the article present. (Other coordinates for points related to the topic are acceptable, such as historic locations of a moved settlement, relocated features, etc.) In the past, standard practice was to include several coordinate instances: one in the infobox, one in Geography (often repeated in several notations), and once in the external links section using a Geolink or Mapit template. Such replication is confusing, uselessly redundant, and creates maintenance complexity. A coordinate formatted by {{coord}} or {{Infobox settlement}} links to all known map resources, so previous practice is unnecessary.

As of 2012, many places still use area figures from the imported 2000 Census data. Check the latest Census for updated land and water area figures, which can be found in the Gazetteer Files or at FactFinder in the place's G001 (Geographic Identifiers) table.


This section provides general climatic conditions that have been recorded in the community. The purpose is to describe what weather should be expected and why. Topics include average, high, and low temperatures, precipitation (rain, snow, or both), wind, etc. Numbers can sometimes be best displayed and understood using a table.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2014 (est.)42,222[4]0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

This section provides a demographic profile of the community, and usually relies on census data.

  • Do NOT include population projections past present time per WP:CRYSTAL.
  • The US Census should be the primary source of demographic data. If census estimates or other reliable sources of demographic data are included, the additional data should supplement – not replace – the most recent available data from the decennial census.
  • Do NOT be overly precise in generating numbers or percentages. Follow WP:MOSNUM#Decimal points and WP:NOT#STATS when presenting percentages with decimal places.

Suggested topics:

  • Historical population levels
  • Demographic shifts
  • Average ages
  • Ethnicities
  • Religion
  • Household size

Comparison with the larger region or state/province/county is useful.

Large quantities of numbers are best shown in graph or table form. It is important here to strike a balance between listing raw data and describing what it means. For some cities one demographic aspect, such as religion or ethnicities, can be important enough to dedicate an entire paragraph to explaining its meaning and implications for the city. To add balance to articles that can seem overly positive, a discussion of crime and homelessness can be added here. When tabulating demographic data, topics should not be mixed; e.g. a table regarding races (black, white, asian, etc.) should not include information regarding ethnicities (Hispanic, latino, Chinese, etc.).

The automated demographic information (i.e. "As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were") should be removed as more location-specific information is added in dynamic prose.


Presumably the majority of the people in the city work for a living, what do they do? What industries/sectors can support so many people? Who are the biggest employers? How did the economy take form and change over time?

It is important to maintain a professional and neutral discussion here: avoid spam. Though often unintentional promotional language and formatting slips in, be conscious of words and phrases here and use footnotes appropriately (not as an excuse for an external link). If a particular company has been crucial to the economy then discuss it but avoid listing company names for no other reason than just mentioning them.

Certain large sectors of the city's economy may have enough material to warrant subsections within the Economy section:


Include a section on tourism, particularly for cities such as Orlando or New York that have strong tourist sector.

Manufacturing / IndustryEdit

Especially for cities, such as Detroit or Cleveland, where manufacturing has been responsible for a significant number of jobs.


If the city has a particularly large military presence, the Economy section may include a subsection about significant military installations like bases and operations centers. However, aspects of the military presence may also be included in sections such as "History" and "Infrastructure", depending on the particulars of the relationship between the community and the military presence.

Arts and cultureEdit

This section should include a description of the cultural aspects of the city, such as points of interest, museums, libraries, mentions of the city in popular entertainment, etc. Don't use peacock terms, or flowery language, unless you have reliable sources that you can cite.

It is arguably the most tempting section for original research and unsourced material. Do not do it! Local festivals, food, accents, etc ... are easy to find sources for. You might consider dividing this up into several subsections, as, for example:

Annual cultural eventsEdit

Yearly events that occur in the city (state fair, art show, festivals, etc)


Talk about some of the major points of interest.


Describe any major league professional teams or major Division 1 college teams. Describe other sports that people participate in, particularly sports that are unique or particularly popular in that city (e.g., jai alai in Miami, or skiing in Aspen). It is common practice for sports sections to include discussions of teams that are within the metro area, even if the team's home venue is outside the city limits. It is also common to include a short table that outlines key facts — e.g., team name, league, and venue — regarding the most prominent teams.

Note: Sports sections can become very long, with more detail than appropriate for a general overview. If the Sports section is more than 1.5 pages on a normal full-size computer screen, the recommended practice is to:

  • Create a Sports in __ article, and copy all the detailed Sports information to that page.
  • Insert in the Cities article a link to the Sports article (using the main template).
  • Reduce the length of the sports discussion in the Cities article. Describe only the most prominent sports and teams; do not include amateur teams or semi-pro teams.

Parks and recreationEdit

Are there any major parks in the city? What do people do for fun?

Since this article is somewhat related to sports, it would be advisable to place it immediately after the sports section. In smaller cities and towns with no major league professional sports, it might actually work better to combine this section with sports, using a suggested section title of 'Sports and recreation'.


This section should include a description of the local city government, such as the mayor's office, city council or legislature, city manager (if applicable), and how these entities interact. For larger cities, you might include information on the local government politics as well.

Secondly, a brief paragraph about finance: spending for a recent year, proposed spending, or both, with footnotes to the full reports. The method of taxation: sales tax/real estate/personal property. The total number of government employees could be listed.

Include an additional paragraph on state and national representatives, their parties, and districts that cover the municipality.


Provide information on notable public and private schools in the city, as well as any colleges and universities that might be present. You might also include some information on the school board, as well as how many students and teachers are in the system. Are there any top-rated schools in the city? What about top-rated teachers (teacher of the year)? Be sure to include references for top-rated schools/teachers.

Do NOT list all the schools in a city unless this is a very short list.


What is the major daily newspaper in town? Are there any alternative weekly publications? Television and radio stations? You might also talk about the city's media market and audience demographics here. If any major motion pictures, television shows, or syndicated radio broadcasts were filmed/recorded or originated in the city, this would probably be a good place to put that information.

It is very easy to make this article a list of radio and TV stations, movies, TV shows, etc. This should be avoided, instead constructing the information as prose.




  1. Highways (federal and state), street layout (if notable)
  2. Mass transit (if applicable)
  3. Intercity transit including Amtrak, buses, major airports
  4. Rail and Ship transport
  5. Other: are bicycling or walking significant transportation modes?

Make sure if a future transit system is planned to include all present infrastructure first, placing future proposals and construction afterward.


Include information on major electric and water utilities serving the city.

Health careEdit

Include information on hospitals and clinics in the city. Some general information about the overall health of the population might be useful as well.

Notable peopleEdit

Provide information, preferably in prose form, of any famous or notable individuals that were born, or lived for a significant amount of time, in the city. A bulleted list noting the connection the person has with the city as indicated in Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Embedded lists#"Children" (i.e., Indentation) may be used if appropriate. Simple lists of names add little of value and may be subject to abuse. More developed articles, especially those which have gone through WP:GA and WP:FA, tend to have this section written out as prose. The talkpage may be used in the early stages of an article's development to simply list people who are connected with a city. If the section grows then it may be split out per WP:Summary style into a stand alone article or list (such as List of people from City, State) which can be linked to via the {{main}} template placed at the top of the section. However, it is common for a link to just be placed in the 'see also' section.

To be included in a list of notable people, individuals must still meet the notability requirements per WP:PEOPLE. A fast and easy way to establish this is if they already have an article written about them on Wikipedia, since it would have never been approved, or would have been deleted, if they did not meet notability requirements. This is not the sole rationale for inclusion, since some people who might meet notability standards may not have an article, but it is a quick reference. If challenged, additions without their own article should be removed and discussed on the talk page of the city, until a consensus is reached.

For "college towns" where students reside in the "town" only during their college years, it is preferred to list those students in the "Notable alumni" section of their respective college article, then add a {{See also}} in the city article "pointing" at the notable college section of the specific college article or separate notable college article. For example: {{See also|Tabor College (Kansas)#Notable alumni and faculty|l1=List of Tabor College notable people}} or {{See also|List of Harvard University people}}.

Other relevant guidelines are: WP:EMBED, WP:NLIST and WP:Source list, and should be consulted for up to date advice.

Topics specific to cityEdit

Additional subject headings might be added depending on the city. For example, the Louisville, Kentucky article has a section dealing with the city's nomenclature and pronunciation, since its name is often mispronounced.

It is also common for many early articles to contain trivia sections, such as generic listings of information, usually near the end of the article. This is ok in the early stages, as it enables many users to quickly add information to the article without worrying about where to place it. But keep in mind that trivia sections are discouraged in articles, and should be removed (but do not delete the information; rather, transfer it to more relevant sections) prior to nominating the article for good article or featured article status.

Sister citiesEdit

Sister city relationships may be listed in alphabetical order. A good reference for sister cities is the Sister Cities International website.

A flagicon template can be used to provide a small national flag icon next to the listing of each city. An example of how to list cities using this template is below:

See alsoEdit

A brief listing of other Wikipedia articles that might be related to this city. Links to external websites should not be placed in this section.

References / NotesEdit

List all sources used in building the article in this section. Instructions for doing this are at Wikipedia:Citing sources and Wikipedia:Verifiability. Either title is acceptable for this section, but not both together (see WP:CITE#How to present citations for details).

Some examples can be found in the following featured articles:

Further readingEdit

A brief listing of books and external sources that are not directly cited within the article (under references), but might be of interest to the reader.

External linksEdit

A link to some of the official websites should be provided here, such as the official city government, or the convention and visitors bureau. Providing links to every commercial, educational, or other entity within the city is not appropriate for this section. Information about such entities should actually be written into the article, with links to Wikipedia articles on notable entities. Remember, Wikipedia is not a linkfarm, and excessive lists of links on articles will generally be removed.

Latitude and longitude should be present only once and linked to the mapping services by using either {{Infobox settlement}} or {{Coord|lat|long|type:city(population)_region:ISO3166-code|display=title}}. For region codes, use either a two character ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code, or an ISO 3166-2 region code.

You may use {{Sister project links}}, or other individual sister project templates, to link to some of wikipedia's sister project sites that might have pertinent information on the city.

Additional guidelines on external links can be found at WP:EL.


Navigational templates (e.g., {{Geographic location}}), category links, stub templates, or interlanguage links may follow the last appendix section. Keep in mind Wikipedia recommendations about avoiding template creep.

Additional tips for authorsEdit

Official websiteEdit

Every community article should have a link to the official governing website for the community, if one exists. The link should be added in two places:

  1. The top of the "External links" section at the bottom of the article;
  2. The |website= field of the infobox at the top of the article.

For small cities and rural communities that don't have an official website, the best alternate should be used, such as a Chamber of Commerce website or a county-wide website, in these cases the links should clearly describe the links to make it obvious they are not the official government website, for example "SomeCityName Chamber of Commerce" or in the infobox something shorter such as "Chamber website" or "SomeCityName CoC".

The {{Official website}} template and link should be placed at the top of the "External links" section, and this template should exist only once in the entire article. For example:

The {{URL}} template and link should be placed in the |website= field of the infobox. For example:

The older single "square bracket" external link method, such as [http://url domain-name], is still a valid linking method though a movement has been underway by some Wikipedians to migrate towards the "Official website" and "URL" templates.


Please examine the article after adding photos to ensure they don't cause problems with the layout of the article.

Carefully consider the location of photos within the article to prevent large amounts of whitespace in the final layout of the article. If photos cause layout issues, then move the photo up/down, left/right or re-size/remove to avoid these types of problems.

Photos around tables (i.e. temperature) and floating templates (i.e. infobox, census) are common locations for layout problems within wiki articles.

If possible, check the article on various display resolution to verify if there are any layout problems, including 4:3 ratio displays and wide screen 16:9 / 16:10. Narrower width screens will layout differently than wider screens.

(References used in this guideline)Edit

  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  2. ^ "USGS detail on Detroit". Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  5. ^ U.S. Decennial Census;