Q. What is the difference between a city, a town and a village?
A. For the most part, the distinction depends on the government structure a community adopts when incorporating, although population does play a role. The rules for incorporation vary between cities and villages.
The state's municipal code requires a minimum population of 2,500 residents to incorporate a community as a city. A key difference is villages are governed by a body of trustees, while cities are governed by aldermen.
The 2012 census recorded 980 villages, 300 cities and 19 towns in Illinois. The reason for the low number of towns is that the constitution of 1870 eliminated the town designation for future incorporated communities. Those already incorporated as towns were able to keep that designation.