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A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
(PRC), ranking below a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
and above a
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...
in China's administrative structure. From 1949 to 1983, the official term was a province-administrated city (Chinese: 省辖市). Prefectural level cities form the second level of the administrative structure (alongside
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
s, leagues and
autonomous prefecture Autonomous prefectures () are one type of autonomous administrative divisions of China, existing at the prefectural level, with either ethnic minorities A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices ...
s). Administrative chiefs (
mayor In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government A governme ...

mayor
s) of prefectural level cities generally have the same rank as a division chief () of a national ministry. Since the 1980s, most former
prefectures A prefecture (from the Latin ''Praefectura'') is an administrative jurisdiction traditionally governed by an appointed prefect. This can be a regional or local government subdivision in various countries, or a subdivision in certain international ...
have been renamed into prefectural level cities. A prefectural level city is a "city" () and "prefecture" () that have been merged into one consolidated and unified jurisdiction. As such it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal entry with subordinate districts, and a prefecture with subordinate county-level cities and counties which is an administrative division of a province. A prefectural level city is often not a "city" in the usual sense of the term (i.e., a large continuous urban settlement), but instead an administrative unit comprising, typically, a main central urban area (the core city, city as in the usual sense, usually with the same name as the prefectural level city) surrounded by
rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and city, cities. The Health Resources an ...

rural
areas, which together are divided into districts, and some surrounding counties or county-level cities governed by the prefecture level city on behalf of the province, which all have their own urban areas surrounded by their own rural areas. The urban areas of the surrounding counties are usually smaller than the core urban area, and towns also form small urban areas scattered in the rural. The larger prefectural level cities span over . Prefectural level cities nearly always contain multiple
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
, county level cities, and other such sub-divisions. This results from the fact that the formerly predominant
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...

prefecture
s, which prefectural level cities have mostly replaced, were themselves large administrative units containing cities, smaller towns, and rural areas. To distinguish a prefectural level city from its actual urban area (city in the strict sense), the term 市区 shìqū ("urban area"), is used. The first prefectural level cities were created on 5 November 1983. Over the following two decades, prefectural level cities have come to replace the vast majority of Chinese
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
s; the process is still ongoing. Most provinces are composed entirely or nearly entirely of prefectural level cities. Of the 22 provinces and 5 autonomous regions of the PRC, only 9 provinces (
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kun ...

Yunnan
,
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational enti ...

Guizhou
,
Qinghai Qinghai (; alternately romanized as Tsinghai, Ch'inghai), also known Kokonor, is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdi ...

Qinghai
,
Heilongjiang Heilongjiang, formerly romanized as Heilungkiang, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and a ...

Heilongjiang
,
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; Postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China occupying most of the Sichuan Basin and the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau between ...

Sichuan
,
Gansu Gansu (, ; alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnatio ...

Gansu
,
Jilin Jilin (; alternately romanized as Kirin or Chilin) is one of the three provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative ...

Jilin
,
Hubei Hubei (; ; Hupeh) is a landlocked of the , and is part of the region. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of . The provincial capital, , serves as a major transportation hub and the political ...

Hubei
,
Hunan Hunan (, ; ) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the ...

Hunan
) and 3 autonomous regions (
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
,
Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in covering much of the spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the as well as some other ethnic groups such as , , , and s and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of and . Tibet is the ...
,
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is a landlocked of the . Its border includes most of the length of China's with the country of . Inner Mongolia also accounts for a small section of China's with (). Its capit ...

Inner Mongolia
) have at least one or more second level or prefectural level divisions that are not prefectural level cities. In the case of the
disputed Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of conflicting opinion or point of view. The word was coined from the Latin ''controversia'', as a composite of ''controversus'' – "turned in an opposite di ...
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...
, it has 6 prefectural level cities, but these are
governed
governed
separately by the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
as their special municipalities. Criteria that a
prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
must meet to become a prefectural level city: * An urban centre with a non-rural population over 250,000 * gross output of value of industry of 200,000,000 
RMB The renminbi (abbreviated RMB; ; symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy), object, or wikt:relationship, relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyo ...
(
US$ The United States dollar (symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, ...
32 million) * the output of the
tertiary sector The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic sector Image:Economic sectors and income.JPG, 250px, Percentages of a country's economy made up by different sectors. Countries with h ...
supersedes that of the
primary sector The primary sector of the economy includes any industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or se ...
, contributing over 35% of the
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is any ...
15 large prefectural level cities have been granted the status of
sub-provincial city A sub-provincial division () in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1 ...
, which gives them much greater autonomy.
Shijiazhuang Shijiazhuang (; ; Mandarin: ), formerly known as Shimen and romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by hum ...

Shijiazhuang
and
Zhengzhou Zhengzhou (; ), also spelt Zheng Zhou and alternatively romanized as Chengchow, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Zhengzhou
are the largest prefectural level cities with populations approaching or exceeding some sub-provincial cities. A
sub-prefecture-level city A sub-prefectural municipality (), sub-prefectural city, or vice-prefectural municipality, is an unofficial designation for a type of administrative division of China. A sub-prefectural city is officially considered to be a county-level city ...
is a
county-level city A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a county-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China China ( ...
with powers approaching those of prefectural level cities.


Classification

There are total of three classification of prefecture-level city: *Regular prefectural level city which consist of
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
, county level cities, and
districts A district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic na ...
subdivisions. *Consolidated district-governed prefectural level city which only consist of
districts A district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic na ...
as it subdivisions. ** Currently there are only 13 cities are under this classification:
Ezhou Ezhou () is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-level municipality ...

Ezhou
,
Foshan Foshan (, ), postal map romanization, alternately romanization of Chinese, romanized as Fatshan, is a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong province of China, Province, China. The entire prefecture covers and has an urbanization in China, ...
,
Guangzhou Guangzhou (, ; ; or ; ), also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the ...

Guangzhou
,
Haikou Haikou (; ), also spelled as Hoikow is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''ma ...

Haikou
,
Karamay Karamay is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinction, because the sign is located ''already'' within ...

Karamay
,
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, pr ...

Nanjing
,
Sansha Sansha City () is a prefecture-level city under the Hainan province of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and is the southernmost and least populated prefecture in China, with the smallest land area but the largest maritime territory. China ...

Sansha
,
Sanya Sanya (), Chinese postal romanization, also spelled as Samah is the southernmost city on Hainan Island, and one of the four prefecture-level cities of Hainan, Hainan Province, in Southeast China. According to the Sixth National Population Census ...

Sanya
,
Shenzhen Shenzhen (; ; ), also known as Sham Chun, is a major sub-provincial A sub-provincial division () (or deputy-provincial divisions) in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List ...

Shenzhen
,
Wuhai Wuhai (; mn, ''Üqai qota'', Mongolian cyrillic.Үхай хот) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the H ...

Wuhai
,
Wuhan Wuhan (, ; ; ) is the capital of Hubei Province Hubei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the Central China region. The name of t ...

Wuhan
,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...

Xiamen
,
Zhuhai Zhuhai (, ; Yale romanization of Cantonese, Yale: ''Jyūhói''), Chinese postal romanization, also known as Chuhai is a prefecture-level city located on the west bank of Pearl River (China), Pearl River estuary on the central coast of southern ...

Zhuhai
*Prefectural level city with no county-level divisions (Direct-piped city) are cities that do not govern any county-level divisions such as counties, county level cities, or legal administrative districts. ** Currently there are only 4 cities are under this classification:
Danzhou Danzhou () is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinction, because the sign is located ''already'' wi ...
,
Dongguan Dongguan (; ) is a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong Province, China. An important industrial city in the Pearl River Delta, Dongguan borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the north, Huizhou to the northeast, Shenzhen to the sou ...

Dongguan
, Jiayuguan,
Zhongshan Zhongshan (; ) is a prefecture-level city in the south of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Provinces of China, province, China. As of the 2020 census, the whole city with 4,418,060 inhabitants is now part of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen conurbatio ...

Zhongshan


Cartographic expression and statistics

In Europe and North America, cities are generally represented as points, while counties are represented as areas. Thus,
Bloomington, Indiana Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of Monroe County, Indiana, Monroe County in the central region of the U.S. state of Indiana. It is the List of cities in Indiana, seventh-largest city in Indiana and the fourth-largest outside the India ...
is indicated on the map by a point, which is distinct from, and enclosed by, the area of
Monroe County, Indiana Monroe County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is de ...
. In China, however, large cities such as
City of Xianning
City of Xianning
may, in reality, contain both urban and rural elements. Moreover, they may enclose counties or other cities. On a less detailed map, City of Xianning would be indicated by a point, more or less corresponding to the coordinates of its city government. Other populous areas may also be exhibited as points, such as County of Tongshan, with no indication that County of Tongshan is, in fact, enclosed by City of Xianning. On a more detailed map, City of Xianning would be drawn as an area, similar to a county of the United States, and County of Tongshan would be drawn as a smaller area within City of Xianning. This convention may lead to difficulty in the identification of places mentioned in older sources. For example,
Guo Moruo Guo Moruo (; November 16, 1892 – June 12, 1978), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, includi ...

Guo Moruo
writes that he was born in Town of Shawan, within Prefecture of Leshan, and attended primary school in Town of Jiading. A modern map is unlikely to show either town: Shawan, because it is too small, and Jiading, because it is the seat of City of Leshan, and is therefore indicated on the map by a point labelled "Leshan." A more detailed map would show Shawan as a district within City of Leshan, but Jiading would still be missing. Statistics of China such as population and industrial activity are generally reported along prefectural city lines. Thus, the relatively unknown
City of Huangshi
City of Huangshi
has 2.5 million residents, more than most European capitals, but upon closer inspection, the city covers an area almost 100 kilometers across. Furthermore, Huangshi contains several other cities, such as City of Daye. If a person wished to calculate the population of the urban area of Huangshi, and had a map of Huangshi, and a table of its population by district, the task might not be easy. The urban area might be split between several districts, and some of those districts may include rural elements as well.


Prefecture-level city list

As of June 2020, there are 299 prefecture-level cities total:


Dissolved Prefecture-level cities


See also

*
Administrative divisions of China Due to China's large Demographics of China, population and geographical area, the administrative divisions of China have consisted of several levels since History of the administrative divisions of China, ancient era. The constitution of Chin ...
* Provincial city *
List of prefectures in China All provincial-level divisions of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of ar ...
* Top prefecture-level cities by GDP * Top prefecture-level cities by GDP per capita *
List of cities in China by population China is the world's most populous country. According to the Demographic research group in 2017, there are 102 Chinese cities with over 1 million people in the "urban area", as defined by the group's methodology. Definition and classification Acc ...
*
List of cities in China A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname) Organizations * List College, an undergraduate division of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America * SC Germania List, German rugby union club Ot ...
*
List of twin towns and sister cities in China This is a list of places in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 ...
*
List of capitals in China The scope of this list is limited to capital city, capital cities of first-level administrative divisions such as provinces of China, provinces, autonomous regions of China, autonomous regions, direct-administered municipalities of China, municipa ...
* List of urban agglomerations in China *
Global city A global city, also called a power city, world city, alpha city or world center, is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1 ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Prefecture-Level City *Pref