In the U.S. states of Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia, an independent city is a city that is not part of any county, either because the city has merged with a county that has consequently been abolished or because the city has seceded from its county. The independent cities are Baltimore, Carson City, St. Louis, and every incorporated city in Virginia. In Virginia, an independent city can be the county seat of the county from which it was formed, despite no longer being a part of that county; an example is Fairfax.
Washington, D.C., can also be considered an independent city, as county governments in the District of Columbia have been abolished.
An independent city differs from a consolidated city and county in that in the latter case, the county still exists. However, that difference is one of name rather than substance, since states having independent cities treat them as the equivalants of counties, as does the U.S. Census Bureau.