The Info List - Unitary State

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A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 are governed as unitary states. In a unitary state, sub-national units are created and abolished (an example being the 22 mainland regions of France
being merged into 13), and their powers may be broadened and narrowed, by the central government. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government remains supreme; it may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers. The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
is an example of a unitary state. Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
have a degree of autonomous devolved power, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution (England does not have any devolved power).[1] Many unitary states have no areas possessing a degree of autonomy.[2] In such countries, sub-national regions cannot decide their own laws. Examples are the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
and the Kingdom of Norway.[3] In federal states, the sub-national governments share powers with the central government as equal actors through a written constitution, to which the consent of both is required to make amendments. This means that the sub-national units have a right of existence and powers that cannot be unilaterally changed by the central government. Unitary states are contrasted with federations. An example of a federation is the United States. Under the U.S. Constitution, powers are shared between the federal government and the states. The Tenth Amendment to the United States
United States
reserves powers not delegated to the United States
United States
by the Constitution
to the States[4]; however, in practice, the federal government's ability to deny funding of federal programs to non-compliant states is a powerful method of persuasion.[5]


1 List of unitary states

1.1 Unitary republics 1.2 Unitary monarchies 1.3 5 largest unitary states by nominal GDP 1.4 5 largest unitary states by population 1.5 5 largest unitary states by area

2 See also 3 References 4 External links

List of unitary states[edit] Italics: States with limited recognition Unitary republics[edit]

 Afghanistan  Albania  Algeria  Angola  Armenia  Artsakh, Republic of  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Belarus  Benin  Bolivia  Botswana  Bulgaria  Burkina Faso  Burundi  Cameroon  Cape Verde  Central African Republic  Chad  Chile  China, People's Republic of[6]  Republic of China
(federation before 1949)  Colombia  Congo, Republic of  Congo, Democratic Republic of  Costa Rica  Croatia  Cuba  Cyprus  Czech Republic  Djibouti  Dominica, Commonwealth of  Dominican Republic  Donetsk People's Republic  East Timor  Ecuador  Egypt  El Salvador  Equatorial Guinea  Eritrea  Estonia  Fiji  Finland  France  Gabon  Gambia  Georgia  Ghana  Greece  Guatemala  Guinea  Guinea-Bissau  Guyana  Haiti  Honduras  Hungary  Iceland   Indonesia
(federation before 1950)  Iran  Ireland  Israel  Italy  Ivory Coast  Kazakhstan  Kenya  Kiribati  Korea, Democratic People's Republic of  Korea, Republic of (federation before 1960)  Kyrgyzstan  Laos  Latvia  Lebanon  Liberia  Libya  Lithuania  Luhansk People's Republic  Macedonia  Madagascar  Malawi  Maldives  Mali  Malta  Marshall Islands  Mauritania  Mauritius  Moldova  Mongolia  Montenegro  Mozambique  Myanmar  Namibia  Nauru  Nicaragua  Niger  Palau  Palestine  Panama  Paraguay  Peru  Philippines  Poland  Portugal  Romania  Rwanda  Samoa  San Marino  São Tomé and Príncipe  Senegal  Serbia  Seychelles  Sierra Leone  Singapore  Slovakia  Slovenia  Somaliland  South Africa  South Ossetia  Sri Lanka  Suriname  Syria  Tajikistan  Tanzania  Togo  Transnistria  Trinidad and Tobago  Tunisia  Turkey  Turkmenistan  Uganda  Ukraine  Uruguay  Uzbekistan  Vanuatu  Vietnam  Yemen  Zambia  Zimbabwe  Peru

Unitary monarchies[edit]

 Andorra  Antigua and Barbuda  Bahrain  Bahamas  Barbados  Belize  Bhutan  Brunei  Cambodia  Denmark  Grenada  Jamaica  Japan  Jordan  Kuwait  Lesotho  Liechtenstein  Luxembourg  Monaco  Morocco  Netherlands  New Zealand[7]  Norway  Oman  Papua New Guinea  Qatar  Saint Lucia  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines  Saudi Arabia  Solomon Islands  Spain  Sweden  Thailand  Tonga  Tuvalu  United Kingdom[8]   Vatican City

5 largest unitary states by nominal GDP[edit] Main article: List of countries by GDP (nominal)

 China, People's Republic of  Japan  United Kingdom  France  Italy

5 largest unitary states by population[edit] Main article: List of countries and dependencies by population

 China, People's Republic of  Indonesia  Bangladesh  Japan  Philippines

5 largest unitary states by area[edit] Main article: List of countries and dependencies by area

 China, People's Republic of  Kazakhstan  Algeria  Congo, Democratic Republic of  Iran

See also[edit]

Centralized government Constitutional economics Political economy Regional state Rule according to higher law Unitary authority


^ Devolution
within a unitary state, like federalism may be symmetrical, with all sub-national units having the same powers and status, or asymmetric, with sub-national units varying in their powers and status. ^ "unitary system government". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-11.  ^ Svalbard
has even less autonomy than the mainland. It is directly controlled by the government and has no local rule. ^ Tenth Amendment to the United States
United States
Constitution ^ Many federal states also have unitary lower levels of government; while the United States
United States
is federal, the states themselves are unitary under Dillon's Rule – counties and municipalities have only the authority granted to them by the state governments under their state constitution or by legislative acts. For example, in the state of Connecticut, county government was abolished in 1960. ^ Roy Bin Wong. China
Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience. Cornell University Press.  ^ "Story: Nation and government – From colony to nation". The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2014.  ^ "Social policy in the UK". An introduction to Social Policy. Robert Gordon University – Aberdeen Business School. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Open University – The UK model of devolution Open University – Devo