Constituent state
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Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for geographical areas into which a particular, independent
sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defin ...
(country) is divided. Such a unit usually has an administrative authority with the power to take administrative or policy decisions for its area. Usually, the countries have several levels of administrative divisions. The common names for the principal (largest) administrative divisions are: states (i.e. "subnational states", rather than sovereign states),
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire ...

province
s, , oblasts, governorates, cantons, , ,
regions In geography, regions, otherwise referred to as zones, lands or territories, are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and t ...
, departments, and emirates. These, in turn, are often subdivided into smaller administrative units known by names such as circuits, counties, ''comarcas'',
raion A raion (also spelt rayon) is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet states The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad (russian: links=no, ...
s, '' județe'', or districts, which are further subdivided into the municipalities, communes or communities constituting the smallest units of subdivision (the local governments). The exact number of the levels of administrative divisions and their structure largely varies by country (and sometimes within a single country). Usually, the smaller the country is (by area or population), the fewer levels of administrative divisions it has. For example, the Vatican does not have any administrative subdivisions and
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque dialect, Ligurian: ; oc, Principat de Mónegue), is a Sovereign state, sovereign city-state and European microstates, microstate on the French Riv ...
has only one level, while such countries as
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
and
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
have five levels each. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
is composed of states, possessions, territories, and a
federal district A federal district is a type of administrative division of a federation, usually under the direct control of a federal government and organized sometimes with a single municipal body. Federal districts often include Capital districts and territo ...
, each with varying numbers of subdivisions. The principal administrative division of a country might be called the "''first-level'' (or ''first-order'') administrative division" or "first administrative level". Its next subdivision might be called "second-level administrative division" or "second administrative level" and so on. Administrative divisions are conceptually separate from dependent territories, with the former being an integral part of the state and the other being only under some lesser form of control. However, the term "administrative division" can include dependent territories as well as accepted administrative divisions (for example, in
geographical database A spatial database is a general-purpose database (usually a relational database) that has been enhanced to include spatial data that represents objects defined in a Space, geometric space, along with tools for Information retrieval, querying and a ...
s). Communities united in a
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-govern ...
under a federal government are more specifically known as federated states. A federated state may be referred to not only as a ''state'', but also as a ''province'', a ''region'', a '' canton'', a ''land'', a governorate, an ''oblast'', an emirate or a ''country''. Administrative units that are not federated or confederated but enjoy a greater degree of autonomy or self-government than other territories within the same country can be considered constituent states of that country. This relationship is by some authors called a federacy. An example is the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan within
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, italic=yes / , ; russian: Узбекистан), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi, italic=yes / ; russian: Республика Узбекистан), is a Doubly landlocked, do ...
.International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights
p 5.
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
Human Rights Committee. Accessed 2009-11-01.


Examples of administrative divisions


English terms

In many of the following terms originating from British cultural influence, areas of relatively low mean population density might bear a title of an entity one would expect to be either larger or smaller. There is no fixed rule, for " all politics is local" as is perhaps well demonstrated by their relative lack of systemic order. In the realm of self-government, any of these can and does occur along a stretch of road—which for the most part is passing through rural, unsettled countryside. Since the terms are administrative political divisions of the local regional government, their exact relationship and definitions are subject to home rule considerations, tradition, as well as state
statute law Statutory law or statute law is written law passed by a body of legislature. This is opposed to Oral law, oral or customary law; or regulatory law promulgated by the Executive (government), executive or common law of the judiciary. Statutes may or ...
and local governmental (administrative) definition and control. In British cultural legacy, some territorial entities began with fairly expansive counties which encompass an appreciably large area, but were divided over time into a number of smaller entities. Within those entities are the large and small cities or towns, which may or may not be the
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is in use in Canada, China, Hungary, Romania, Taiwan, and the United States. The equivalent te ...
. Some of the world's larger cities culturally, if not officially, span several counties, and those crossing state or provincial boundaries have much in common culturally as well, but are rarely incorporated within the same municipal government. Many sister cities share a water boundary, which quite often serves as a border of both cities and counties. For example,
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cam ...
and
Boston Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, state capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financ ...
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət'' English: , ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England ...
appear to the casual traveler as one large city, while locally they each are quite culturally different and occupy different counties.


List

*
Area Area is the quantity that expresses the extent of a region on the plane or on a curved surface. The area of a plane region or ''plane area'' refers to the area of a shape or planar lamina, while ''surface area'' refers to the area of an o ...
* Autonomous community *
Banner A banner can be a flag or another piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or another message. A flag whose design is the same as the shield in a coat of arms (but usually in a square or rectangular shape) is called a banner of arms. Also, ...
* Barangay * Barony *
Capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a city ...
* Canton *
County A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
*
Community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as place, norms, religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, text ...
* Constituency * Crown Dependency * Department *
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, municipa ...
* Division *
Duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a Middle Ages, medieval country, territory, fiefdom, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess, a ruler hierarchically second to the king or Queen regnant, queen in Western European tradition. There once exis ...
*
Governorate A governorate is an administrative division of a state. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either State (administrative division), states or province, provinces, the term ''govern ...
* Legal entity * Hundred * Federal subjects * Kingdom * Local council *
Municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are ge ...
** Regional ** Regional county **
Rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and city, cities. Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agriculture, Agricultural areas and areas with forestry ty ...
*
Oblast An oblast (; ; Cyrillic script, Cyrillic (in most languages, including Russian language, Russian and Ukrainian language, Ukrainian): , Bulgarian language, Bulgarian: ) is a type of administrative division of Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgy ...
*
Parish A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bisho ...
* Prefecture *
Principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate au ...
*
Province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire ...
* Public body *
Region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lan ...
*
Republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...
* Riding * State * Special administrative region *
Territory A territory is an area of land, sea, or space, particularly belonging or connected to a country, person, or animal. In international relations, international politics, a territory is usually either the total area from which a state may extr ...
* Theme * Voivodeship


Urban or rural regions

General terms for these incorporated places include "
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are ge ...
," " settlement," "locality," and "populated place." *
Borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for geo ...
,
burgh A burgh is an Autonomy, autonomous municipal corporation in Scotland and Northern England, usually a city, town, or toun in Scots language, Scots. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when David I of Scotland, Kin ...
or "boro" *
City A city is a human settlement of notable size.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 def ...
*
Shire Shire is a traditional term for an administrative division of land in Great Britain and some other English-speaking countries such as Australia and New Zealand. It is generally synonymous with county. It was first used in Wessex from the beginn ...
*
Town 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 minuscule number of dwellings group ...
* Township *
Village A village is a clustered human settlement or Residential community, community, larger than a hamlet (place), hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a population t ...


Indigenous

* Tribe *
Indian reservation An Indian reservation is an area of land held and governed by a federally recognized Native American tribal nation whose government is accountable to the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs and not to the state government in which ...
* Indian reserve * Band *
Ranchería The Spanish word ranchería, or rancherío, refers to a small, rural settlement. In the Americas the term was applied to Indigenous peoples of the Americas, native villages or bunkhouses. Anglo-Americans adopted the term with both these meanings ...


Non-English terms

Due to variations in their use worldwide, consistency in the translation of terms from non-English to English is sometimes difficult to maintain.


See also

* GADM, a high-resolution database of country administrative areas. * ISO 3166-2, specifically ''Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions — Part 2''. * List of administrative division name changes * List of etymologies of country subdivision names * List of administrative divisions by country


References


External links


SALB
Second Administrative Level Boundaries (SALB) programme of the United Nations.
Statoids
an international convention with standardized two-letter-based multi-level summaries of administrative divisions worldwide (e.g

represents Adansi South (AE) in the Accra Home (AH) region of Ghana (GH)). {{Authority control Types of geographical division