A town is a
human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with ...
. Towns are generally larger than
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellin ...

s and smaller than
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world.

Origin and use

The word "town" shares an origin with the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

word , the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
word , and the
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and th ...
. The original
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
word, *''tūnan'', is thought to be an early borrowing from
Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language of all the known Celtic languages, and a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language. It is not directly attested in writing, but has been partially Linguist ...
*''dūnom'' (cf.
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
). The original sense of the word in both Germanic and Celtic was that of a fortress or an enclosure. Cognates of "town" in many modern Germanic languages designate a fence or a hedge. In English and Dutch, the meaning of the word took on the sense of the space which these fences enclosed, and through which a track must run. In England, a town was a small community that could not afford or was not allowed to build walls or other larger fortifications, and built a
palisade A palisade, sometimes called a stakewall or a paling, is typically a fence or defensive wall A defensive wall is a fortification usually used to protect a city, town or other settlement from potential aggressors. The walls can range from ...
or stockade instead. In the Netherlands, this space was a garden, more specifically those of the wealthy, which had a high fence or a wall around them (like the garden of the palace of
Het Loo Het Loo Palace ( nl, Paleis Het Loo , meaning "The Lea") is a palace in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, built by the House of Orange-Nassau. History The symmetry, symmetrical Dutch Baroque architecture, Dutch Baroque building was designed by Jacob Roman ...
Apeldoorn Apeldoorn () is a municipality and city in the province of Gelderland in the centre of the Netherlands. It is a regional centre. The municipality of Apeldoorn, including villages like Beekbergen, Loenen (Apeldoorn), Loenen, Ugchelen and Hoenderlo ...
, which was the model for the privy garden of and
Mary II Mary II (30 April 166228 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Gr ...

Mary II
Hampton Court Hampton Court Palace is a Grade I listed royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west and upstream of central London Central London (also known less commonly as London city centre) is the innermost part of Londo ...

Hampton Court
). In Old Norse means a (grassy) place between farmhouses, and the word is still used with a similar meaning in modern Norwegian. Old English ''tūn'' became a common place-name suffix in England and southeastern Scotland during the Anglo-Saxon settlement period. In
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
and Early and Middle Scots, the words ''ton'', ''toun'', etc. could refer to diverse kinds of settlements from agricultural estates and holdings, partly picking up the Norse sense (as in the Scots word ) at one end of the scale, to fortified municipalities. Other common Anglo-Saxon suffixes included ''ham'' 'home', ''stede'' 'stead', and ''burh'' 'bury, borough, burgh'. In some cases, "town" is an alternative name for "city" or "village" (especially a larger village). Sometimes, the word "town" is short for "township". In general, today towns can be differentiated from
township A township is a kind of human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grou ...

village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellin ...

s, or
hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 words. Set in Denmark Denmark ...
s on the basis of their economic character, in that most of a town's population will tend to derive their living from manufacturing industry,
commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' has been derived from the Latin word ''commercium'', from ''com'' ("together") and ''merx'' ("merchandise"). History ...

, and
public service A public service is a service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service The civil service is a col ...

public service
s rather than
primary sector The primary sector of the economy includes any Industry (economics), industry involved in the extraction and production of raw materials, such as farming, logging, hunting, fishing, and mining. The primary sector tends to make up a larger portion ...
industries such as
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated species created food ...
or related activities. A place's population size is not a reliable determinant of urban character. In many areas of the world, e.g. in India at least until recent times, a large village might contain several times as many people as a small town. In the United Kingdom, there are historical cities that are far smaller than the larger towns. The modern phenomenon of extensive
suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
an growth, satellite urban development, and migration of city dwellers to villages has further complicated the definition of towns, creating communities urban in their economic and cultural characteristics but lacking other characteristics of urban localities. Some forms of non-rural settlement, such as temporary
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef, or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized commodity that is of economic interest to t ...

locations, may be clearly non-rural, but have at best a questionable claim to be called a town. Towns often exist as distinct governmental units, with legally defined borders and some or all of the appurtenances of local government (e.g. a
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens ...

force). In the United States these are referred to as "incorporated towns". In other cases the town lacks its own governance and is said to be "unincorporated". Note that the existence of an unincorporated town may be legally set out by other means, e.g. zoning districts. In the case of some
planned communities File:Abuja, Federal Capital Territory 3.jpg, 250px, Abuja, in Nigeria, which was built mainly in the 1980s, was the fastest growing city in the world between 2000 and 2010, with an increase of 139.7%, and still expanding rapidly A planned com ...
, the town exists legally in the form of covenants on the properties within the town. The
United States Census The United States Census (plural censuses or census) is a census A census is the procedure of systematically enumerating, and acquiring and recording information about the members of a given Statistical population, population. This term is used ...
identifies many
census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterpa ...
s (CDPs) by the names of unincorporated towns which lie within them; however, those CDPs typically include rural and suburban areas and even surrounding villages and other towns. The distinction between a town and a city similarly depends on the approach: a city may strictly be an administrative entity which has been granted that designation by law, but in informal usage, the term is also used to denote an urban locality of a particular size or importance: whereas a
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
city may have possessed as few as 10,000 inhabitants, today some consider an urban place of fewer than 100,000 as a town, even though there are many officially designated cities that are much smaller than that. In
toponymic Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of '' toponyms'' (proper names A proper noun is a noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functio ...
terminology, names of individual towns and cities are called ''astyonyms'' or ''astionyms'' (from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages () ...
'town, city', and 'name').


Çatalhöyük Çatalhöyük (; also ''Çatal Höyük'' and ''Çatal Hüyük''; from Turkish ''çatal'' "fork" + ''höyük'' "tumulus of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries; originally the site had 2,000 to 3,000 tumuli, but due to quarr ...
, an world heritage listed archaeological site near
Konya Konya () is a major city in south-central Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ...

Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the B ...

, is widely accepted as being the oldest town in the world, established in 7500 BC. Through periods of recorded history, many towns have grown into sizeable settlements within the development of properties and centres of culture.

Roman era

Roman times In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic c ...
, a villa was a rural settlement formed by a main residential building and another series of secondary buildings. It constituted the center from which an agricultural holding was administered. Subsequently, it lost its agricultural functions and reduced its activity to residential. With the consolidation of large estates during the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
, the town became the center of large farms. A distinction was created: *Rustic villas, from where the exploitation was directed, slave workers resided, livestock were kept and production was stored. *Urban villas, in which the
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peerag ...

resided and which increasingly adopted the architectural and beautification forms typical of urban mansions. When from the first century the great territorial property was divided between the area directly exploited by the lord and that ceded to tenant settlers, urban villas became the centers of the administrative power of the lords, appearing the forms of vassalage typical of feudalism of the fourth century.

Terminology for statistics

have been involved in a common effort to agree on a common statistical definition of the three categories: cities, towns and rural areas.

Age of towns scheme

Australian Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law it i ...
Thomas Griffith Taylor Thomas Griffith "Grif" Taylor (1 December 1880 – 5 November 1963) was an English-born geographer, anthropologist and world explorer. He was a survivor of Robert Falcon Scott, Captain Robert Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica (1910–191 ...
proposed a classification of towns based on their age and pattern of
land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been significantly modified by human activity or any nonur ...
. He identified five types of town: * ''Infantile towns'', with no clear
zoning Zoning is a method of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the bui ...
* ''Juvenile towns'', which have developed an area of
shop Shop or shopping refers to: Business and commerce * Shop, a slang word for a commerce , commercial establishment or for a place of business * Machine shop, a workshop for machining * Retail shop, possibly within a marketplace * Shopping, e.g.: * ...
s * ''Adolescent towns'', where
factories A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with machinery A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to per ...

have started to appear * ''Early mature towns'', with a separate area of high-class
housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford Eng ...

* ''Mature towns'', with defined
industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

and various types of residential area

By country


Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the eas ...
, towns and cities are known as ''shār'' (
Dari (, , ) or Dari Persian (, ) is the political term used for the dialect of Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivi ...
: شهر,
Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in ...

: ښار). As the country is an historically rural society with few larger settlements, with major cities never holding more than a few hundred thousand inhabitants before the 2000s, the lingual tradition of the country does not discriminate between towns and cities.

Albania and Kosovo

Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is ...
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a international recognition of Kosovo, partially recognised state in Southeastern Europe. It lies at the centre of the Balkans, occupying an area of , wi ...

"qytezë" means town, which is very similar with the word for city (''"qytet"''). Although there is no official use of the term for any settlement. In
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...
"qytezë" means "small city" or "new city", while in ancient times "small residential center within the walls of a castle".


In Australia, most rural and regional centres of population can be called towns; many small towns have populations of less than 200. The smallest may be described as townships. In addition, some local government entities are officially styled as towns in
Queensland Queensland ( ,) is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the States and territories of Australia, second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wale ...

South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Australi ...

South Australia
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding external territories. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the So ...

Western Australia
and the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. The Northern Territory shares its borders with W ...
, and formerly also (till the 1990s) in
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...


The Austrian legal system does not distinguish between villages, towns, and cities. The country is partitioned into 2098 municipalities (german: Gemeinden) of fundamentally equal rank. Larger municipalities are designated as market towns (german: Marktgemeinden) or cities (''Städte''), but these distinctions are purely symbolic and do not confer additional legal responsibilities. There is a number of smaller communities that are labelled cities because they used to be regional population centers in the distant past. The city of
Rattenberg Rattenberg ( bar, Råttnberg) 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 (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. Lo ...

for example has about 400 inhabitants. The city of
Hardegg Hardegg is a town in the district of Hollabrunn (district), Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria. It is situated in the Waldviertel region on the river Thaya, directly on the border with the Czech Republic. The Thaya valley is protected as the Thay ...

has about 1200 inhabitants, although the historic city core − Hardegg proper without what used to be the surrounding hamlets − is home to just 80 souls. There are no unincorporated areas. Of the 201 cities in Austria, 15 are statutory cities (''Statutarstädte''). A statutory city is a city that is vested, in addition to its purview as a municipality, with the duties of a district administrative authority. The status does not come with any additional autonomy: district administrative authorities are essentially just service centers that citizens use to interact with the national government, for example to apply for driver licenses or passports. The national government generally uses the provinces to run these points of contact on its behalf; in the case of statutory cities, the municipality gets to step up.


Bulgarians do not, in general, differentiate between 'city' and 'town'. However, in everyday language and media the terms "large towns" and "small towns" are in use. "Large towns" usually refers to
Sofia Sofia ( ; bg, София, Sofiya, ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the Sofia Valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country. ...

Plovdiv Plovdiv ( bg, Пловдив, ) is the List of largest cities and second largest cities by country, second-largest city in Bulgaria, standing on the banks of the Maritsa river in the historical region of Thrace. It has a population of 346,893 and ...
Varna Varna may refer to: Places Europe * Varna, Bulgaria, a large city in Bulgaria. ** Varna Province **Varna Municipality **Gulf of Varna **Lake Varna *Vahrn, or Varna, a municipality in Italy *Varniai, a city in Lithuania *Varna (Šabac), a villag ...
Burgas Burgas ( bg, Бургас, ), sometimes transliterated as ''Bourgas'', is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in the region of Northern Thrace and the fourth-largest in Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎl ...
, which have population over 200,000.
Ruse Ruse may refer to: Places *Ruse, Bulgaria, a major city of Bulgaria **Ruse Municipality **Ruse Province **19th MMC – Ruse, a constituency *Ruše, a town and municipality in north-eastern Slovenia *Ruše, Žalec, a small settlement in east-centra ...
Stara Zagora Stara Zagora ( bg, Стара Загора, ) is the sixth-largest city in Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya ...
are often included as well due to presence of relatively developed infrastructure and population over 100,000 threshold. It is difficult to call the remaining
provincial capitals A capital or capital city is the municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws ...
"large towns" as, in general, they are less developed and have shrinking population, some with as few as 30,000 inhabitants. In
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It occupies the whole eastern part of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia ...
Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. The term is usually equivalent to the word " cabinet" ( Council of State is a similar term that also may refer to a Cabinet. However, the terms ...
defines what constitutes a settlement, while the
President of Bulgaria The President of the Republic of Bulgaria is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of statebeing an embodiment of t ...
grants each settlement its title. In 2005 the requirement that villages that wish to classify themselves as town must have a social and technical infrastructure, as well as a population of no fewer than 3500 people. For resort settlements the requirements are lower with the population needing to be no fewer than 1000 people but infrastructure requirements remain.


The legal definition of a town in Canada varies by province or territory, as each has jurisdiction over defining and legislating towns, cities and other types of municipal organization within its own boundaries. The province of
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

is unique in that it makes no distinction under law between towns and cities. There is no intermediate level in French between ''village'' and ''ville'' (''municipality'' is an administrative term usually applied to a legal, not geographical entity), so both are combined under the single legal status of ''
ville ''Ville'' () is the French word nowadays meaning " city" or " town", but its meaning in the Middle Ages was "farm" (from Gallo-Romance VILLA < Latin ''villa rustica'') and then "village". The derivative suffix ''-ville'' is commonly used in nam ...

''. While an informal preference may exist among English speakers as to whether any individual ''ville'' is commonly referred to as a city or as a town, no distinction and no objective legal criteria exist to make such a distinction under law.


Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of and has a population ...
, towns (Spanish: ''pueblos'') are defined by the National Statistics Institute (INE) as an urban entity with a population from 2001 to 5000 or an area with a population from 1001 to 2000 and an established economic activity.

Czech Republic

In the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It i ...
, a municipality can obtain the title of 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 (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a pe ...
( cs, statutární město), town ( cs, město) or
market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarl ...
( cz, městys). The title is granted by law. Statutory cities (in English usually called just "cities"), which are defined by law no. 128/2000 Coll., can define their own self-governing municipal districts. There are 26 such cities, in addition to
Prague Prague (; cs, Praha , german: Prag, la, Praga) is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic The Czech Republic (; cs, Česká republika ), also known by its short-form name, Czechia (; cz, Česko ), is a landlocked countr ...

, which is a ''de facto'' statutory city. All the Czech municipalities with more than 40,000 inhabitants are cities. Town and market town are above all ceremonious honorary degrees, referring to population, history and regional significance of a municipality. shows, towns usually have between 1,000 and 35,000 inhabitants, with median around 4,000 and average around 6,500. Nowadays a municipality must have at least 3,000 inhabitants to have the right to request the town title. Market towns usually have between 500 and 4,000 inhabitants, with median and average both around 1,000.


In Denmark, in many contexts no distinction is made between "city", "town" and "village"; all three translate as "by". In more specific use, for small villages and
hamlets 300px, The hamlet at Oberwil, 3 km from Waldkirch, near St. Gallen (Switzerland) A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, a hamlet may be the size of a town, village or parish A parish is a territorial ...
the word "landsby" (meaning "country town") is used, while the Danish equivalent of English "city" is "storby" (meaning "large town"). For formal purposes,
urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cities, towns, conurbati ...
s having at least 200 inhabitants are counted as "by". Historically some towns held various privileges, the most important of which was the right to hold market. They were administered separately from the rural areas in both fiscal, military and legal matters. Such towns are known as "købstad" (roughly the same meaning as "borough" albeit deriving from a different etymology) and they retain the exclusive right to the title even after the last vestiges of their privileges vanished through the reform of the local administration carried through in 1970.


Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Swe ...

, there is no distinction between a town and a city as the word ''linn'' is used for both bigger and smaller settlements, which are bigger than villages and boroughs. There are 30 municipal towns (''omavalitsuslik linn'') in Estonia and a further 17 towns, which have merged with a municipal parish (''vallasisene linn'').


In Finland, there is no distinction between a town and a city as the word ''kaupunki'' is used for both bigger and smaller settlements, which are bigger than villages and boroughs; although in a way, when talking about the word town, it could also use the word ''pikkukaupunki'' (''pikku'' means "little" or "small"). There are almost one hundred municipal towns in Finland.


From an administrative standpoint, the smallest level of local authorities are all called . Those can have anywhere from a handful to millions of inhabitants, and France has 36000 of them. The French term for "town" is " bourg" but French laws does not really distinguish between towns and cities which are all commonly called "villes". However, some laws do treat these authorities differently based on the population and different rules apply to the three big cities
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2018, in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, ...

Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about ...

Marseille Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhône Departments of France, department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, France. Situ ...

. For historical reasons, six communes in the
Meuse The Meuse ( , , also , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean ...
département exist as independent administrative entities despite having no inhabitants at all. For statistical purposes, the national statistical institute ( INSEE) operates a distinction between urban areas with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants and bigger communes, the latter being called "villes". Smaller settlements are usually called "villages".


Germans The Germans (german: Deutsche) are a Germanic peoples, Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe.. "Germans are a Germanic (or Teutonic) people that are indigenous to Central Europe... Germanic tribes have inhabited Central Europe since a ...

do not, in general, differentiate between 'city' and 'town'. The German word for both is ''Stadt'', as it is the case in many other languages that do not differentiate between these Anglo-Saxon concepts. The word for a 'village', as a smaller settlement, is ''Dorf''. However, the International Statistics Conference of 1887 defined different sizes of ''Stadt'', based on their population size, as follows: ''Landstadt'' ("country town"; under 5,000), ''Kleinstadt'' ("small town"; 5,000 to 20,000), ''Mittelstadt'' ("middle town"; between 20,000 and 100,000) and ''Großstadt'' ("large town"; 100,000 to 1,000,000). The term ''Großstadt'' may be translated as "city". In addition, Germans may speak of a ''Millionenstadt'', a city with anywhere between one and five million inhabitants (such as
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, a ...

Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central European Time, Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central European Summer Time, Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST ...

Berlin Berlin ( , ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3.7 million inhabitants make it the European Union's List of cities in the European Union by populat ...
). Also, a city with more than five million inhabitants is often referred to as a ''Megastadt'' (commonly translated as
Megacity A megacity is a very large city, typically with a population of more than 10 million people. Precise definitions vary: the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in its 2018 "World Urbanization Prospects" report counted urban ...
). Historically, many settlements became a ''Stadt'' by being awarded a ''Stadtrecht'' in medieval times. In modern German language use, the historical importance, the existence of central functions (education, retail etc.) and the population density of an urban place might also be taken as characteristics of a ''Stadt''. The modern local government organisation is subject to the laws of each
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...

and refers to a ''Gemeinde'' (
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipali ...
), regardless of its historic title. While most ''Gemeinden'' form part of a ''Landkreis'' (
district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipali ...
) on a higher tier of local government, larger towns and cities may have the status of a ''kreisfreie Stadt'', combining both the powers of a municipality and a district. Designations in different states are as diverse as e.g. in Australian States and Territories, and differ from state to state. In some German states, the words ''Markt'' ("market"), ''Marktflecken'' (both used in southern Germany) or ''Flecken'' ("spot"; northern Germany e.g. in
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with , and fourth-largest in population (7 ...
) designate a town-like residential community between ''Gemeinde'' and ''Stadt'' with special importance to its outer conurbation area. Historically those had ''Marktrecht'' (market right) but not full town privileges; see
Market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarl ...
. The legal denomination of a specific settlement may differ from its common designation (e.g. ''Samtgemeinde'' – a legal term in
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with , and fourth-largest in population (7 ...
for a group of villages 'Dorf'', pl. ''Dörfer''with common local government created by combining municipalities 'Gemeinde'', pl. ''Gemeinden''.

Greece and Cyprus

In ordinary speech,
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation native to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, Ital ...

use the word χωριό (=village) to refer to smaller settlements and the word πόλη or πολιτεία (=city) to refer to larger ones. Careful speakers may also use the word κωμόπολη to refer to towns with a population of 2,000–9,999. In Greek administrative law there used to be a distinction between δήμοι, i.e. municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants or considered important for some other geographical (county seats), historical or ecclesiastical (bishops' seats) reason, and κοινότητες, referring to smaller self-governing units, mostly villages. A sweeping reform, carried out in two stages early in the 21st century, merged most κοινότητες with the nearest δήμοι, dividing the whole country into 325 big self-governing δήμοι. The former municipalities survive as administrative subdivisions (δημοτικά διαμερίσματα, δημοτικές ενότητες). Cyprus, including the Turkish-occupied areas, is also divided into 39 δήμοι (in principle, with at least 5,000 inhabitants, though there are exceptions) and 576 κοινότητες.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of the China, People's Repu ...

Hong Kong
started developing new towns in the 1950s, to accommodate exponential population increase. The first new towns included
Tsuen Wan Tsuen Wan (formerly also spelled Tsun Wan) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in diffe ...
Kwun Tong Kwun Tong is an area in the Kwun Tong District of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative region ...
. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, another stage of new town developments was launched. Nine new towns have been developed so far. Land use is carefully planned and development provides plenty of room for public housing projects. Rail transport is usually available at a later stage. The first towns are
Sha Tin Sha Tin, also spelt Shatin, is a neighbourhood along Shing Mun River in the eastern New Territories, Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a m ...
Tsuen Wan Tsuen Wan (formerly also spelled Tsun Wan) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in diffe ...
Tuen Mun Tuen Mun or Castle Peak is a satellite town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in what is now Hong Kong and can be dated to the Neolithic period. In t ...
Tseung Kwan O Tseung Kwan O New Town is one of the nine new towns in Hong Kong, built mainly on reclaimed land in the northern half of Junk Bay (known as Tseung Kwan O in Chinese/Cantonese language) in southeastern New Territories The New Territori ...

Tseung Kwan O
Tuen Mun Tuen Mun or Castle Peak is a satellite town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in what is now Hong Kong and can be dated to the Neolithic period. In t ...
was intended to be self-reliant, but was not successful and turned into a
bedroom community A bedroom is a room situated within a residential or accommodation unit characterised by its usage for sleeping. A typical western bedroom contains as bedroom furniture one or two beds (ranging from a crib for an infant, a single or twin bed ...
like the other new towns. More recent developments are
Tin Shui Wai Tin Shui Wai New Town is a satellite town in the northwestern New Territories of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Sp ...
and North Lantau (Tung Chung-Tai Ho).


In Hungary there is no official distinction between a city and a town (the word for both in Hungarian is: város). Nevertheless, the expressions formed by adding the adjectives "kis" (small) and "nagy" (large) to the beginning of the root word (e.g. "nagyváros") have been normalized to differentiate between cities and towns (towns being smaller, therefore bearing the name "kisváros".) In Hungary, a village can gain the status of "város" (town), if it meets a set of diverse conditions for quality of life and development of certain public services and utilities (e.g. having a local secondary school or installing full-area sewage collection pipe network). Every year the Minister of Internal Affairs selects candidates from a committee-screened list of applicants, whom the President of Republic usually affirms by issuing a bill of town's rank to them. Since being a town carries extra fiscal support from the government, many relatively small villages try to win the status of "városi rang" ("town rank") nowadays. Before the
fall of communism The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted at the end of communist rule throughout the world, including in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is often also called ...
in 1990, Hungarian villages with fewer than 10,000 residents were not allowed to become towns. Recently some settlements as small as 2,500 souls have received the rank of town (e.g. Visegrád, Zalakaros or Gönc) and meeting the conditions of development is often disregarded to quickly elevate larger villages into towns. As of middle 2013, there are 346 towns in Hungary, encompassing some 69% of the entire population. Towns of more than 50,000 people are able to gain the status of "megyei jogú város" (town with the rights of 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 ...
), which allows them to maintain a higher degree of
services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of Faculty (academic staff), university faculty * Civil service, the body of employees of a governm ...

. (There are a few exceptions, when towns of fewer than 50,000 people gained the status: Érd,
Hódmezővásárhely Hódmezővásárhely (; in sr, Вашархељ, romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...
Salgótarján Salgótarján () is the capital of Nógrád (county), Nógrád county, north-eastern Hungary, making it the third smallest county capital based on population. Location At the foot of Karancs mountain, in the Cserhát hills, 250 meters above sea ...
Szekszárd Szekszárd (, formerly also ''Szegzárd'', german: Sechshard, hr, Seksar) is a small city in southern Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romani ...
) As of middle 2013, there are only 23 such towns in Hungary.



The Local Government act 2001 provides that from January 1, 2002 (section 10 subsection (3) ''Within the county in which they are situated and of which they form part, there continue to be such other local government areas as are set out in Schedule 6 which – (a) in the case of the areas set out in Chapter 1 of Part 1 of that Schedule, shall be known as boroughs, and – (b) in the case of the areas set out in Chapter 2 of Part 1 and Part 2 of that Schedule, shall be known as towns, and in this Act a reference to a town shall include a reference to a borough.'' These provisions affect the replacement of the boroughs, Towns and urban districts which existed before then. Similar reforms in the nomenclature of local authorities ( but not their functions) are effected by section 11 part 17 of the act includes provision (section 185(2)) ''Qualified electors of a town having a population of at least 7,500 as ascertained at the last preceding census or such other figure as the Minister may from time to time prescribe by regulations, and not having a town council, may make a proposal in accordance with paragraph (b) for the establishment of such a council'' and contains provisions enabling the establishment of new town councils and provisions enabling the dissolution of existing or new town councils in certain circumstances The reference to ''town having a population of at least 7,500 as ascertained at the last preceding census'' hands much of the power relating to defining what is in fact a town over to the Central Statistics Office and their criteria are published as part of each census. ;Planning and Development Act 2000 Another reference to the Census and its role in determining what is or is not a town for some administrative purpose is in the Planning and Development act 2000 (part II chapter I which provides for Local area plans) ''A local area plan shall be made in respect of an area which —(i) is designated as a town in the most recent census of population, other than a town designated as a suburb or environs in that census, (ii) has a population in excess of 2,000, and (iii) is situated within the functional area of a planning authority which is a county council.'' ;Central Statistics Office criteria These are set out in full a
2006 Census Appendices
In short they speak of "towns with legally defined boundaries" ( i.e. those established by the Local Government Act 2001) and the remaining 664 as "census towns", defined by themselves since 1971 as ''a cluster of 50 or more occupied dwellings in which within a distance of 800 meters there is a nucleus of 30 occupied houses on both sides of the road or twenty occupied houses on one side of the road'' there is also a ''200 meter criterion'' for determining whether a house is part of a census town.


2011 Census of India The 15th Indian Census was conducted in two phases, house listing and population enumeration. House listing phase began on 1 April 2010 and involved collection of information about all buildings. Information for National Population Register (NPR ...
defines towns of two types: statutory town and
census town In India and some other countries, a census town is designated as a town that satisfies certain characteristics. India In India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countr ...
. Statutory town is defined as all places with a
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipali ...
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...
cantonment boardA cantonment board is a civic administration body in India under control of the Ministry of Defence {{unsourced, date=February 2021 A ministry of defence or defense (see spelling differences), also known as a department of defence or defense, is a ...
or notified town area committee. Census towns are defined as places that satisfy the following criteria: # Minimum population of 5,000 # At least 75% of male working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits # Density of population at least 400/km2. (1,000 per sq. mile). All the statutory towns, census towns and out growths are considered as urban settlements, as opposed to rural areas. The towns in India usually have basic infrastructure like shops,electricity, bituminised roads,
post office A post office is a public facility that provides mail services, such as accepting letter (message), letters and parcel (package), parcels, providing post office boxes, and selling postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. Post offices may offe ...

post office
, bank, telephone facility, High schools and sometimes few government offices. The human population living in these towns may be few thousands. There are some towns which can be labelled as
Main road town A main road town is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. O ...
. In state of
Karnataka Karnataka (ISO 15919, ISO: , ) is a States of India, state in the south western region of India. It is the largest state in South India and sixth largest in India. It was Unification of Karnataka, formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of ...

,Town is known as Pete or Pura in Kannada language, Sometimes term Pattana(City) or Ooru which generally means place are used for towns. The administrative council which governs these towns are known as Pura Sabhe or Nagara Sabhe in
Kannada } Kannada (; ಕನ್ನಡ, ; less commonly known as Kanarese) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in the southwestern region of India. The language is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the states ...

depending on numbers of human population living within marked area of town.


In contemporary
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
texts, no distinction is made between "city" and "town"; both translate as "Shahr" (شهر). In older Persian texts (until the first half of the 20th century), the Arabic word "Qasabeh" (قصبه) was used for a town. However, in recent 50 years, this word has become obsolete. There is a word in Persian which is used for special sort of satellite townships and city neighborhoods. It is ''Shahrak'' (شهرک), (lit.: small city). Another smaller type of town or
neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English, Hiberno-English, Hibernian English, Australian English and Canadian English) or neighborhood (American English; American and British English spelling differences, see spelling differences) is a geographically ...

in a big city is called ''Kuy'' (کوی). ''Shahrak'' and ''Kuy'' each have their different legal definitions. Large cities such as
Tehran Tehran (; fa, تهران ) is the Capital city, capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the List of largest cities of ...

Mashhad Mashhad ( fa, مشهد, Mašhad ), also spelled Mashad or Meshad, is the second-most-populous city in Iran and the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country. It has a population of 3,001,184 (2016 census ...

Isfahan Isfahan ( fa, اصفهان, Esfahān ), from its Achaemenid empire, ancient designation ''Aspadana'' and later ''Spahan'' in Sassanian Empire, middle Persian, rendered in English as ''Ispahan'', is a major city in Greater Isfahan Region, Isf ...

, Tabriz, etc. which have millions of populations are referred to as ''Kalan-shahr''کلان‌شهر (metropole). The pace in which different large villages have gained city status in Iran shows a dramatic increase in the last two decades. Bigger cities and towns usually are centers of a
township A township is a kind of human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grou ...

(in Persian: ''Shahrestan'' (شهرستان). Shahrestan itself is a subdivision of ''Ostan'' استان (Province).


the word “Jarayeh - جرَية” used to describe the village, the word “Garmat كَرمة” to describe the town, and the word "Wilaya - ولاية" to describe the city.

Isle of Man

There are four settlements which are historically and officially designated as towns (Douglas, Ramsey, Peel, Castletown); however * Peel is also sometimes referred to as a city by virtue of its cathedral. * Onchan and Port Erin are both larger in population than the smallest "town", having expanded in modern times, but are designated as villages.


Modern Hebrew does provide a word for the concept of a town: ''Ayara'' (עיירה), derived from ''Ir'' (עיר), the biblical word for "city". However, the term ''ayara'' is normally used only to describe towns in foreign countries, i.e. urban areas of limited population, particularly when the speaker is attempting to evoke nostalgic or romantic attitudes. The term is also used to describe a Shtetl, a pre-The Holocaust, Holocaust Eastern European Jewish town. Within Israel, established urban areas are always referred to as cities (with one notable exception explained below) regardless of their actual size. Israeli law does not define any nomenclature for distinction between urban areas based on size or any other factor – meaning that all urban settlements in Israel are legally referred to as "cities". The exception to the above is the term ''Ayeret Pituakh'' (עיירת פיתוח, lit. "Development Town") which is applied to certain cities in Israel based on the reasons for their establishment. These cities, created during the earlier decades of Israeli independence (1950s and 1960s, generally), were designed primarily to serve as commercial and transportation hubs, connecting smaller agricultural settlements in the northern and southern regions of the country (the "Periphery") to the major urban areas of the coastal and central regions. Some of these "development towns" have since grown to a comparatively large size, and yet are still referred to as "development towns", particularly when the speaker wishes to emphasize their (often low) socio-economic status. Nonetheless, they are rarely (if ever) referred to simply as "towns"; when referring to one directly, it will be called either a "development town" or a "city", depending on context.


Although Italian provides different words for city (''città''), town (''paese'') and village (''villaggio'', old-fashioned, or ''frazione'', most common), no legal definitions exist as to how settlements must be classified. Administratively, both towns and cities are ruled as comuni/comunes, while villages might be subdivisions of the former. Generally, in everyday's speech, a town is larger or more populated than a village and smaller than a city. Various cities and towns together may form a metropolitan area (''area metropolitana''). A city, can also be a culturally, economically or politically prominent community with respect to surrounding towns. Moreover, a city can be such by President of Italy, Presidential decree. A town, in contrast, can be an inhabited place which would elsewhere be styled a city, but has not received any official recognition. Remarkable exceptions do exist: for instance, Bassano del Grappa, was given the status of "città" in 1760 by Francesco Loredan's Doge, dogal decree and has since then carried this title. Also, the Italian word for town (''paese'' with lowercase P) must not be confused with the Italian word for country/nation (''Paese'' usually with uppercase P).


In Japan city status (''Cities of Japan, shi'') was traditionally reserved for only a few particularly large settlements. Over time however the necessary conditions to be a city have been watered down and today the only loose rules that apply are having a population over 50,000 and over 60% of the population in a "city centre". In recent times many small villages and towns have merged in order to form a city despite seeming geographically to be just a collection of villages. The distinction between towns (''Towns of Japan, machi/chō'') and villages (''Villages of Japan, mura/son'') is largely unwritten and purely one of population size when the settlement was founded with villages having under 10,000 and towns 10,000–50,000.


In both of South Korea and North Korea, towns are called ''Eup (administrative division), eup'' (''읍'').


In Latvia, towns and cities are indiscriminately called ''pilsēta'' in singular form. The name is a Contraction (grammar), contraction of two Latvian words: ''pils'' (castle) and ''sēta'' (fence), making it very obvious what is meant by the word – what is situated between the castle and the castle fence. However, a city can be called ''lielpilsēta'' in reference to its size. A village is called ''ciemats'' or ''ciems'' in Latvian.


In Lithuanian, a city is called '':lt:miestas, miestas'', a town is called '':lt:miestelis, miestelis'' (literally "small ''miestas''"). Metropolis is called '':lt:didmiestis, didmiestis'' (literally "big ''miestas''").


In Malaysia, a town is the area administered by Municipal Council ( ms, 1=Majlis Perbandaran).


Before 1848 there was a legal distinction between ''stad'' and non-''stad'' parts of the country, but the word no longer has any legal significance. About 220 places were granted ''stadsrechten'' (city rights) and are still so called for historical and traditional reasons, though the word is also used for large urban areas that never obtained such rights. Because of this, in the Netherlands, no distinction is made between "city" and "town"; both translate as ''stad''. A hamlet (''gehucht'') usually has fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, a village (''dorp'') ranges from 1,000 up to 25,000 inhabitants, and a place above 25,000 can call itself either village or city, mostly depending on historic reasons or size of the place. As an example, The Hague never gained city rights, but because of its size - more than half a million inhabitants - it is regarded as a city. Staverden, with only 40 inhabitants, would be a hamlet, but because of its city rights it may call itself a city. For statistical purposes, the Netherlands has three sorts of cities: * ''kleine stad'' (small city): 50,000–99,999 inhabitants * ''middelgrote stad'' (medium-sized city): 100,000–249,999 inhabitants * ''grote stad'' (large city): 250,000 or more Only Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are regarded as a ''grote stad''.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, a town is a built-up area that is not large enough to be considered a city. Historically, this definition corresponded to a population of between approximately 1,000 and 20,000. Towns have no independent legal existence, being administered simply as built-up parts of districts, or, in some cases, of cities. New Zealand's towns vary greatly in size and importance, ranging from small rural service centres to significant regional centres such as Blenheim, New Zealand, Blenheim and Taupo. Typically, once a town reaches a population of somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people, it will begin to be informally regarded as a city. One who regards a settlement as too small to be a town will typically call it a "township" or "village."


In Norway, "city" and "town" both translate to "By (city or town), by", even if a city may be referred to as "storby" ("large town"). They will all be part of and administered as a "Municipalities of Norway, kommune" ("
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipali ...
"). Norway has had inland the northernmost city in the world: Hammerfest. Now the record is held by New Ålesund on the Norwegian island Svalbard


In the Philippines, the local official equivalent of the town is the Philippine municipality, municipality (Filipino ''bayan''). Every municipality, or town, in the country has a mayor (Filipino ''alkalde'') and a vice mayor (Filipino ''bise alkalde'') as well as local town officials (Sangguniang Bayan). Philippine towns, otherwise called as municipalities, are composed of a number of villages and communities called ''barangays'' with one (or a few cluster of) ''barangay''(s) serving as the town center or ''poblacion''. Unique in Philippine towns is that they have fixed budget, population and land requirements to become as such, i.e. from a ''barangay'', or a cluster of such, to a town, or to become cities, i.e. from town to a city. Respectively, examples of these are the town of Braulio E. Dujali, Davao del Norte, B.E. Dujali in Davao del Norte province, which was formed in 1998 from a cluster of 5 ''barangays'', and the city of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental, El Salvador, which was converted from a town to a city in 2007. Each town in the Philippines was classified by its Municipalities of the Philippines#Income classification, annual income and budget. A sharp, hierarchical distinction exists between Philippine Philippine city, cities (Filipino ''lungsod'' or ''siyudad'') and towns, as towns in the country are juridically separate from cities, which are typically larger and more populous (some smaller and less populated) and which political and economic status are above those of towns. This was further supported and indicated by the income classification system implemented by the National Department of Finance, to which both cities and towns fell into their respective categories that indicate they are such as stated under Philippine law. However, both towns and cities equally share the status as Administrative divisions of the Philippines#Local government units, local government units (LGU's) grouped under and belong to Provinces of the Philippines, provinces and Regions of the Philippines, regions; both each are composed of ''barangays'' and are governed by a mayor and a vice mayor supplemented by their respective LGU legislative councils.


In the Polish language there is no linguistic distinction between a city and a town. The word for both is ''miasto'', as a form of settlement distinct from following: village (wieś), hamlet (przysiółek), settlement (osada), or colony (kolonia). Town status is conferred by administrative decree, new towns are announced by the Government in a separate Bill effective from the first day of the year. Some settlements tend to remain villages even though they have a larger population than many smaller towns. Town may be called in diminutive way as "miasteczko", what is colloquially used for localities with a few thousand residents. Such localities have usually a Mayor (burmistrz) as a chief of town council. Cities are the biggest localities, generally must be bigger than 100 thousand of residents, they are ruled by President (prezydent) as a chief of City Council. There are bare a few (mainly historic or political) exemptions which have allowed towns lesser than 100 thousand of people, to obtain President title for their Mayors, and to become recognized as Cities that way. Just to name a few: Bolesławiec, Gniezno, Zamość.


Like other Iberian cultures, in Portugal there is a traditional distinction between towns ('':pt:Vila, vilas'') and cities ('':pt:Cidade, cidades''). Similarly, although these areas are not defined under the constitution, and have no political function (with associated organs), they are defined by law, and a town must have: * at least 3,000 voters * at least half of these services: health unit, pharmacy, cultural centre, public transportation network, post office, commercial food and drinking establishments, primary school and/or bank office In this context, the town or city is subordinate to the local authority (freguesia, civil parish or concelho, municipality, in comparison to the North American context, where they have political functions. In special cases, some
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellin ...

s may be granted the status of town if they possess historical, cultural or architectonic importance. The Portuguese urban settlements heraldry reflects the difference between towns and cities, with the coat of arms of a town bearing a crown with 4 towers, while the coat of arms of a city bears a crown with 5 towers. This difference between towns and cities is still in use in other Portuguese speaking countries, but in Brazil is no longer in use.


In Romania there is no official distinction between a city and a town (the word for both in Romanian language, Romanian is: ''oraş''). Cities and towns in Romania can have the status either of ''oraş'' municipiu, conferred to large urban areas, or only ''oraş'' to smaller urban localities. Some settlements remain villages (Comune of Romania, comune) even though they have a larger population than other smaller towns.


Unlike English, the [Russian language does not distinguish the terms "city" and "town"—both are translated as "" (''gorod''). Occasionally the term "" is applied to urban-type settlements as well, even though the status of those is not the same as that of a city/town proper. In Russia, the criteria an inhabited locality needs to meet in order to be granted city/town (''gorod'') status vary in different federal subjects of Russia, federal subjects. In general, to qualify for this status, an inhabited locality should have more than 12,000 inhabitants and the occupation of no less than 85% of inhabitants must be other than agriculture. However, inhabited localities which were previously granted the city/town status but no longer meet the criteria can still retain the status for historical reasons.


In Singapore, towns are large scale satellite housing developments which are designed to be self contained. It includes public housing units, a town centre and other amenities. Helmed by a hierarchy of commercial developments, ranging from a town centre to precinct-level outlets, there is no need to venture out of town to meet the most common needs of residences. Employment can be found in industrial estates located within several towns. Educational, health care, and recreational needs are also taken care of with the provision of schools, hospitals, parks, sports complexes, and so on. The most populous town in the country is Bedok.

South Africa

In South Africa the Afrikaans term "Dorp" is used interchangeably with the English equivalent of "Town". A "town" is a settlement that has a size that is smaller than that of a city.


In Spain, the equivalent of town would be ''villa,'' a population unit between a village (''pueblo)'' and a city ''(ciudad)'', and is not defined by the number of inhabitants, but by some historical rights and privileges dating from the Middle Ages, such as the right to hold a market or fair. For instance, while Madrid is technically a ''villa'', Barcelona, with a smaller population, is known as a city.


The Swedish language does not differentiate between towns and cities in the English sense of the words; both words are commonly translated as ''stad'', a term which has no legal significance today. The term ''tätort'' is used for an Urban areas in Sweden, urban area or a locality, which however is a statistical rather than an administrative concept and encompasses densely settled villages with only 200 inhabitants as well as the major cities. The word ''köping'' corresponds to an English ''market town'' ''(chipping)'' or German ''wikt:Markt, Markt'' but is mainly of historical significance, as the term is not used today and only survives in some toponyms. Some towns with names ending in ''-köping'' are cities with over 100 000 inhabitants today, e.g. Linköping. Before 1971, 132 larger Municipality, municipalities in Sweden enjoyed special royal charters as ''Stad (Sweden), stad'' instead of ''kommun'' (which is similar to a US County (United States), county). However, since 1971 all municipalities are officially defined as ''kommun'', thus making no legal difference between, for instance, Stockholm and a small countryside municipality. Every urban area that was a ''stad'' before 1971 is still often referred to as a ''stad'' in daily speech. Since the 1980s, 14 of these municipalities brand themselves as ''stad'' again, although this has no legal or administrative significance, as they still have refer to themselves as ''kommun'' in all legal documentation. For statistical purposes, Statistics Sweden officially defines a ''stad'' as an Urban areas in Sweden, urban area of at least 10,000 inhabitants. Since 2017 it also defines a ''storstad'' (literally "big town") as a municipality with a population of at least 200,000 of which at least 200,000 are in its largest ''tätort''. This means that Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö are ''storstäder'', i.e. "major cities", while Uppsala, with a population of approximately 230,000 in the municipality, which covers an unusually large area, almost three times larger than the combined land area of the municipalities of Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö, isn't since the largest contiguous urban area within the municipality has a population of well below 200,000, while the population of both Malmö Municipality, with a land area only 1/14 the size of Uppsala municipality, and Malmö ''tätort'', i.e. contiguous urban area, is well over 300,000, and the population of the Metropolitan Malmö, Malmö Metropolitan Area, with a land area only slightly larger than Uppsala Municipality, is well over 700,000. A difference in the size and population of the urban area between Uppsala and the smallest ''storstad'' in Sweden, Malmö, that is the reason why Statistics Sweden changed the definition for ''storstad'' in 2017.


In Ukraine the term ''town'' (''містечко'', ''mistechko'') existed from the Medieval period until 1925, when it was replaced by the Soviet regime with ''urban type settlement''. Historically, town in the Ukrainian lands was a smaller populated place that was chartered under the German town law and had a market square (see
Market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarl ...
). Today informally, town is also referred to City of district significance (Ukraine), cities of district significance, cities with small population, and former Jewish shtetls.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales, a town traditionally was a settlement which had a charter to hold a Market (place), market or fair and therefore became a "market town". Market towns were distinguished from villages in that they were the economic hub of a surrounding area, and were usually larger and had more facilities. In parallel with popular usage, however, there are many technical and official definitions of what constitutes a town, to which various interested parties cling. In modern official usage the term ''town'' is employed either for old market towns, or for settlements which have a town council, or for settlements which elsewhere would be classed a city, but which do not have City status in the United Kingdom, the legal right to call themselves such. Any parish council can decide to describe itself as a town council, but this will usually only apply to the smallest "towns" (because larger towns will be larger than a single civil parish). Not all settlements which are commonly described as towns have a "Town Council" or "Borough Council". In fact, because of many successive changes to the structure of local government, there are now few large towns which are represented by a body closely related to their historic borough council. These days, a smaller town will usually be part of a local authority which covers several towns. And where a larger town is the seat of a local authority, the authority will usually cover a much wider area than the town itself (either a large rural hinterland, or several other, smaller towns). Additionally, there are "new towns" which were created during the 20th century, such as Basildon, Redditch and Telford. Milton Keynes was designed to be a "new city" but legally it is still a town despite its size. Some settlements which describe themselves as towns (e.g. Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire) are smaller than some large villages (e.g. Kidlington, Oxfordshire). The status of a ''city'' is reserved for places that have letters patent entitling them to the name, historically associated with the possession of a cathedral. Some large municipalities (such as Northampton and Bournemouth) are legally boroughs but not cities, whereas some cities are quite small — such as Ely, Cambridgeshire, Ely or St David's. The city of Brighton and Hove was created from the two former towns and some surrounding villages, and within the city the correct term for the former distinct entities is somewhat unclear. It appears that a city may become a town, though perhaps only through administrative error: Rochester, Kent, Rochester in Kent had been a city for centuries but, when in 1998 the Medway district was created, a bureaucratic blunder meant that Rochester lost its official City status in the United Kingdom, city status and is now technically a town. It is often thought that towns with cathedral, bishops' seats rank automatically as cities: however, Chelmsford was a town until 5 June 2012 despite being the seat of the diocese of Chelmsford, created in 1914. St Asaph, which is the seat of the diocese of St Asaph, only became a city on 1 June 2012 though the diocese was founded in the mid sixth century. In reality, the pre-qualification of having a cathedral of the established Church of England, and the formerly established Church in Wales or Church of Ireland, ceased to apply from 1888. The word ''town'' can also be used as a general term for urban areas, including cities and in a few cases, districts within cities. In this usage, a city is a type of town; a large one, with a certain status. For example, central Greater London is sometimes referred to colloquially as "London town". (The "City of London" is the historical nucleus, informally known as the "Square Mile", and is administratively separate from the rest of Greater London, while the City of Westminster is also technically a city and is also a London borough.) Camden Town and Somers Town, London, Somers Town are districts of London, as New Town, Edinburgh, New Town is a district of Edinburgh – actually the Georgian centre. In recent years the division between cities and towns has grown, leading to the establishment of groups like the Centre for Towns, who work to highlight the issues facing many towns. Towns also became a significant issue in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election (UK), 2020 Labour Party leadership election, with Lisa Nandy making significant reference to Labour needing to win back smaller towns which have swung away from the party.


A ''town'' in Scotland has no specific legal meaning and (especially in areas which were or are still Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic-speaking) can refer to a mere collection of buildings (e.g. a ''farm-town'' or in Scots ''ferm-toun''), not all of which might be inhabited, or to an inhabited area of any size which is not otherwise described in terms such as city, burgh, etc. Many locations of greatly different size will be encountered with a name ending with ''-town'', ''-ton'', ''-toun'' etc. (or beginning with the Gaelic equivalent ''baile'' etc.). A burgh (pronounced ''burruh'') is the Scots language, Scots' term for a town or a municipality. They were highly Autonomous area, autonomous units of Local government in Scotland, local government from at least the 12th century until their abolition in 1975, when a new Local government areas of Scotland 1973 to 1996, regional structure of local government was introduced across the country. Usually based upon a town, they had a municipal corporation and certain rights, such as a degree of self-governance and representation in the sovereign Parliament of Scotland adjourned in 1707. The term no longer describes units of local government although various claims are made from time to time that the legislation used was not competent to change the status of the Royal Burghs described below. The status is now chiefly ceremonial but various functions have been inherited by current Councils (e.g. the application of various endowments providing for public benefit) which might only apply within the area previously served by a burgh; in consequence a burgh can still exist (if only as a defined geographical area) and might still be signed as such by the current local authority. The word 'burgh' is generally not used as a synonym for 'town' or 'city' in everyday speech, but is reserved mostly for government and administrative purposes. Historically, the most important burghs were royal burghs, followed by burgh of regality, burghs of regality and burgh of barony, burghs of barony. Some newer settlements were only designated as police burghs from the 19th century onward, a classification which also applies to most of the older burghs.

United States

The definition of "town" varies widely from state to state and in many states there is no official definition. In some states, the term "town" refers to an area of population distinct from others in some meaningful dimension, typically population or type of government. The characteristic that distinguishes a town from another type of populated place — a city, borough, village, or Civil township, township, for example — differs from state to state. In some states, a town is an incorporated
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipali ...
; that is, one with a charter received from the state, similar to a city (see incorporated town), while in others, a town is unincorporated. In some instances, the term "town" refers to a small incorporated municipality of less than a population threshold specified by state statute, while in others a town can be significantly larger. Some states do not use the term "town" at all, while in others the term has no official meaning and is used informally to refer to a populated place, of any size, whether incorporated or unincorporated. In still other states, the words "town" and "city" are legally interchangeable. Small town life has been a major theme in American literature, especially stories of rejection by young people leaving for the metropolis. Since the use of the term varies considerably by state, individual usages are presented in the following sections:


In Alabama, the legal use of the terms "town" and "city" is based on population. A municipality with a population of 2,000 or more is a city, while less than 2,000 is a town (Code of Alabama 1975
Section 11-40-6
. For legislative purposes, municipalities are divided into eight classes based on population. Class 8 includes all towns, plus cities with populations of less than 6,000 (Code of Alabama 1975



In Arizona, the terms "town" and "city" are largely interchangeable. A community may incorporate under either a town or a city organization with no regard to population or other restrictions according to Arizona law (see Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 9). Cities may function under slightly differing governmental systems, such as the option to organize a district system for city governments, but largely retain the same powers as towns. Arizona law also allows for the consolidation of neighboring towns and the unification of a city and a town, but makes no provision for the joining of two adjacent cities.


In California, the words "town" and "city" are synonymous by law (see Cal. Govt. Code Secs. 34500–34504). There are two types of cities in California: charter and general law. Cities organized as charter cities derive their authority from a municipal charter, charter that they draft and file with the state, and which, among other things, states the municipality's name as "City of (Name)" or "Town of (Name)." Government Code Sections 34500–34504 applies to cities organized as general-law municipality, general law cities, which differ from charter cities in that they do not have charters but instead operate with the powers conferred them by the pertinent sections of the Government Code. Like charter cities, general law cities may incorporate as "City of (Name)" or "Town of (Name)." Some cities change their minds as to how they want to be called. The sign in front of the municipal offices in Los Gatos, California, for example, reads "City of Los Gatos", but the words engraved on the building above the front entrance when the city hall was built read "Town of Los Gatos." There are also signs at the municipal corporation limit, some of which welcome visitors to the "City of Los Gatos" while older, adjacent signs welcome people to the "Town of Los Gatos." Meanwhile, the village does not exist in California as a municipal corporation. Instead, the word "town" is commonly used to indicate any unincorporated community that might otherwise be known as an unincorporated village. Additionally, some people may still use the word "town" as shorthand for "township", which is not an incorporated municipality but an administrative division of a county.


The Hawaiian Island of Oahu has various communities that may be referred to as towns. However, the entire island is lumped as a single incorporated city, the City and County of Honolulu. The towns on Oahu are merely unincorporated
census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterpa ...


In Illinois, the word "town" has been used both to denote a subdivision of a county called a township, and to denote a form of municipality similar to a
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellin ...

, in that it is generally governed by a president and trustees rather than a mayor. In some areas a "Town" may be incorporated legally as a Village (meaning it has at large Trustees) or a City (meaning it has aldermen from districts) and absorb the duties of the Township it is coterminous with (maintenance of birth records, certain welfare items). Evanston, Illinois, Evanston, Berwyn, Illinois, Berwyn and Cicero, Illinois, Cicero are examples of Towns in this manner. Under the current Illinois Municipal Code, an incorporated or unincorporated town may choose to incorporate as a city or as a village, but other forms of incorporation are no longer allowed.


In Louisiana a "town" is defined as being a municipal government having a population of 1,001 to 4,999 inhabitants.


While a "town" is generally considered a smaller entity than a "city", the two terms are legally interchangeable in Maryland. The only exception may be the independent city of Baltimore, which is a special case, as it was created by the Constitution of Maryland.


In Nevada, a town has a form of government, but is not considered to be incorporated. It generally provides a limited range of services, such as land use planning and recreation, while leaving most services to the county. Many communities have found this "semi-incorporated" status attractive; the state has only 20 incorporated List of cities in Nevada, cities, and towns as large as Paradise, Nevada, Paradise (186,020 in 2000 Census), home of the Las Vegas Strip. Most county seats are also towns, not cities.

New England

In the six New England states, a New England town, town is the most prevalent minor civil division, and in most cases, are a more important form of government than the county. In Connecticut, Rhode Island and 7 out of 14 counties in Massachusetts, in fact, counties only exist as map divisions and have no legal functions. In New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, counties hold varying functions, although county governments are still not as important in northern New England as they are outside of the northeast. In all six, towns perform functions that in most states would be county functions. The defining feature of a New England town, as opposed to a city, is that a town meeting and a board of selectmen serve as the main form of government for a town, while cities are run by a mayor and a city council. For example, Brookline, Massachusetts is a town, even though it is fairly urban, because of its form of government. In the three southern New England states, the entire land area is divided into towns and cities, while the three northern states have small areas that are officially unincorporated; the population of these areas is miniscule, however. Though the U.S. Census Bureau defines New England towns as "minor civil divisions" for statistical purposes, all New England towns are municipal corporations equivalent to cities in all legal respects, except for form of government. For statistical purposes, the Census Bureau uses
census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterpa ...
s for the built-up population centers within towns, though these have no legal or social recognition for residents of those towns. Similarly, the Census Bureau uses a special designation for urban areas within New England, the New England city and town area, instead of the metropolitan statistical area it uses in the rest of the country.

New Jersey

A "town" in the context of New Jersey local government refers to one of five types and one of eleven forms of municipal government. While Town is often used as a shorthand to refer to a Township, the two are not the same. The Town Act of 1895 allowed any municipality or area with a population exceeding 5,000 to become a Town through a petition and referendum process. Under the 1895 Act, a newly incorporated town was divided into at least three wards, with two councilmen per ward serving staggered two-year terms, and one councilman at large, who also served a two-year term. The councilman at large served as chairman of the town council. The Town Act of 1988 completely revised the Town form of government and applied to all towns incorporated under the Town Act of 1895 and to those incorporated by a special charter granted by the Legislature prior to 1875. Under the 1988 Act, the mayor is also the councilman at large, serving a term of two years, unless increased to three years by a petition and referendum process. The Council under the Town Act of 1988 consists of eight members serving staggered two-year terms with two elected from each of four wards. One councilman from each ward is up for election each year. Towns with different structures predating the 1988 Act may retain those features unless changed by a petition and referendum process. Two new provisions were added in 1991 to the statutes governing towns, First, a petition and referendum process was created whereby the voters can require that the mayor and town council be elected to four-year terms of office. The second new provision defines the election procedure in towns with wards. The mayor in a town chairs the town council and heads the municipal government. The mayor may both vote on legislation before council and veto ordinances. A veto may be overridden by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of the council. The council may enact an ordinance to delegate all or a portion of the executive responsibilities of the town to a municipal administrator. Fifteen New Jersey municipalities currently have a type of Town, nine of which operate under the town form of government.

New York

In Administrative divisions of New York, New York, a town is similarly a division of the county, but with less importance than in New England. Of some importance, a town provides a closer level of governance than its enclosing county, providing almost all municipal services to unincorporated communities, called Hamlet (New York), hamlets, and selected services to incorporated areas, called Village (New York), villages. In New York, a town typically contains a number of such hamlets and villages. However, due to their independent nature, incorporated villages may exist in two towns or even two counties (example: Almond (village), New York). Everyone in New York who does not live in a city or Native Americans in the United States, Indian reservation lives in a town and possibly in one of the town's hamlets or villages. New York City and Geneva, New York, Geneva are the only two cities that span county boundaries. The only part of Geneva in Seneca County, New York, Seneca County is water; each of the Boroughs (New York City), boroughs of New York City is a county.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, all cities, towns, and villages are incorporated as List of municipalities in North Carolina, municipalities. According to the North Carolina League of Municipalities, there is no legal distinction among a city, town, or village—it is a matter of preference of the local government. Some North Carolina cities have populations as small as 1,000 residents, while some towns, such as Cary, North Carolina, Cary, have populations of greater than 100,000.


In Oklahoma, according to the state's municipal code, "City" means a municipality which has incorporated as a city in accordance with the laws of the state whereas "Town" means a municipality which has incorporated as a town in accordance with the laws of the state; and, a "Municipality" means any incorporated city or town. The term “Village” is not defined or used in the act. Any community of people residing in compact form may become incorporated as a Town; however, if the resident population is one thousand or more, a Town or community of people residing in compact form may become incorporated as a City.


In Pennsylvania, the incorporated divisions are townships, boroughs, and cities, of which boroughs are equivalent to towns (example: State College, Pennsylvania, State College is a borough). However, one borough is incorporated as a "town": Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg.


In Texas, although some municipalities refer to themselves as "towns" or "villages" (to market themselves as an attractive place to live), these names have no specific designation in Texas law; legally all incorporated places are considered List of municipalities in Texas, cities.


In Utah, the legal use of the terms "town" and "city" is based on population. A municipality with a population of 1,000 or more is a city, while less than 1,000 is a town. In addition, cities are divided into five separate classes based on the population.


In Virginia, a town is an incorporated municipality similar to a city (though with a smaller required minimum population). But while cities are by Virginia law independent of counties, towns are contained within counties.


A town in the state of Washington (state), Washington is a municipality that has a population of less than 1,500 at incorporation, however an existing town can reorganize as a code city. Town government authority is limited relative to city (Washington), cities, the other main classification of municipalities in the state. , most municipalities in Washington are cities. (See List of towns in Washington.)


Wisconsin has towns which are areas outside of incorporated cities and villages. These towns retain the name of the Civil Township from which they evolved and are often the same name as a neighboring city. Some towns, especially those in urban areas, have services similar to those of incorporated cities, such as police departments. These towns will, from time to time, incorporate into cities, such as Fox Crossing, Wisconsin, Fox Crossing in 2016 from the former town of Menasha (town), Wisconsin, Menasha. Often this is to protect against being annexed into neighboring cities and villages.


A Wyoming statute indicates towns are incorporated municipalities with populations of less than 4,000. Municipalities of 4,000 or more residents are considered "first-class cities".


In Vietnam, a District-level town (Vietnam), district-level town ( vi, thị xã) is the second subdivision, below a province (''tỉnh'') or municipality (''thành phố trực thuộc trung ương''). A Commune-level town (Vietnam), commune-level town (') a third-level (commune-level) subdivision, below a List of districts of Vietnam, district (').

See also

* Commuter town * Company town * Developed environments * List of towns * Location (geography) * Megalopolis (city type) * Proto-city * Town charter * Town Hall * Town limits * Town privileges * Town square




External links

Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2005

Open-Site Regional
— Contains information about towns in numerous countries.
: research group, university of Paris-Diderot, France — Access to Geopolis Database {{Authority control Town, Towns, Types of populated places