Owing to economic competition over fortune-telling Territory, Rom in the United States and Canada have evolved a scattered distribution roughly correlated with the density of the non-Gypsy population, especially that portion of it Perceived by the Rom to comprise the best clientele. Larger cities are divided into areas of influence in which certain families hold sway, sometimes for decades or until displaced by another family. Some smaller towns are said to be "owned" by a single family, and extended families often lay claim to a portion of a state with rural areas and a number of small towns. This is especially true in the southern states. "Ownership" may consist of informal arrangements with local law enforcement officials, possession of a fortune-telling license, influence with welfare authorities, or a patronage relationship with some influential local person.