An administrative division, unit, entity, area or region, also referred to as a subnational entity, statoid, constituent unit, or country subdivision, is a portion of a country or other region delineated for the purpose of administration. Administrative divisions are granted a certain degree of autonomy and are usually required to manage themselves through their own local governments. Countries are divided up into these smaller units to make managing their land and the affairs of their people easier. A country may be divided into provinces, which, in turn, may be divided in whole or in part into municipalities.
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 databases).
For clarity and convenience the standard neutral reference for the largest administrative subdivision of a country is called the "first-level administrative division" or "first administrative level". Next smaller is called "second-level administrative division" or "second administrative level".
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 subdivisions of the local regional government their exact relationship and definitions are subject to home rule considerations, tradition, as well as state statute law 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. Some of the world's larger cities culturally, if not officially, span several counties, and those crossing state or provincial boundaries have mnuch 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 and Boston, Massachusetts appear to the casual traveler as one large city, while locally they each are quite culturally different and occupy different counties.
Due to variations in their use worldwide, consistency in the translation of terms from non-English to English is sometimes difficult to maintain.
The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats (counties or districts), and these in turn are divided into gminas (communes or municipalities). Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats (including 66 cities with powiat status), and 2,478 gminas.The current system was introduced pursuant to a series of acts passed by the Polish parliament in 1998, and came into effect on 1 January 1999. Previously (in the period from 1975 to 1998) there had been 49 smaller voivodeships, and no powiats (see Administrative division of the People's Republic of Poland). The reform created 16 larger voivodeships (loosely based on and named after historical regions) and reintroduced powiats.
The boundaries of the voivodeships do not always reflect the historical borders of Polish regions. Around half of the Silesian Voivodeship belongs to the historical province of Lesser Poland. Similarly, the area around Radom, which historically is part of Lesser Poland, is located in the Masovian Voivodeship. Also, the Pomeranian Voivodeship includes only the eastern extreme of historical Pomerania, as well as areas outside it.Administrative regions of Greece
The administrative regions of Greece (Greek: περιφέρειες, peripheries) are the country's thirteen first-level administrative entities, each comprising several second-level units, originally prefectures and, since 2011, regional units.Amt (country subdivision)
Amt is a type of administrative division governing a group of municipalities, today only in Germany, but formerly also common in other countries of Northern Europe. Its size and functions differ by country and the term is roughly equivalent to a US township or county or English shire district.Autonomous administrative division
An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subdivision or dependent territory of a country that has a degree of self-governance, or autonomy, from an external authority. Typically, it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency or to defuse internal conflicts. Countries that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.Barony (county division)
A barony is an administrative division of a county in Scotland, Ireland and outlying parts of England. It has a lower rank and importance than a county.Block (district subdivision)
A block is an administrative division of some South Asian countries.Canton (country subdivision)
A canton is a type of administrative division of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared with other administrative divisions such as counties, departments, or provinces. Internationally, the best-known cantons - and the most politically important - are those of Switzerland. As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically (and historically), the Swiss cantons are semi-sovereign states.
The term is derived from the French word canton, meaning corner or district (from which "Cantonment" is also derived).Dehestan (administrative division)
Dehestan (Persian: دهستان) is a type of administrative divisions of Iran. It is above the village and under the Bakhsh. As of 2006, there were 2,400 dehestans in Iran.Dong (administrative division)
A dong or neighborhood is a submunicipal level administrative unit of a city and of those cities which are not divided into wards throughout Korea. The unit is often translated as neighborhood and has been used in both administrative divisions of North Korea and South Korea.Electoral district
An electoral district, (election) precinct, election district, or legislative district, called a voting district by the US Census (also known as a constituency, riding, ward, division, electoral area, or electorate) is a territorial subdivision for electing members to a legislative body. Generally, only voters (constituents) who reside within the district are permitted to vote in an election held there. From a single district, a single member or multiple members might be chosen. Members might be chosen by a first-past-the-post system or a proportional representative system, or another voting method entirely. Members might be chosen through a direct election under universal suffrage, an indirect election, or another form of suffrage.Han system
The han (藩, han) or domain is the Japanese historical term for the estate of a warrior after the 12th century or of a daimyō in the Edo period (1603–1868) and early Meiji period (1868–1912).Municipality
A municipality is usually a single urban administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.
The term municipality may also mean the governing or ruling body of a given municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district.
The term is derived from French municipalité and Latin municipalis. The English word municipality derives from the Latin social contract municipium (derived from a word meaning "duty holders"), referring to the Latin communities that supplied Rome with troops in exchange for their own incorporation into the Roman state (granting Roman citizenship to the inhabitants) while permitting the communities to retain their own local governments (a limited autonomy).
A municipality can be any political jurisdiction from a sovereign state, such as the Principality of Monaco, to a small village, such as West Hampton Dunes, New York.
The territory over which a municipality has jurisdiction may encompass
only one populated place such as a city, town, or village
several of such places (e.g., early jurisdictions in the U.S. state of New Jersey (1798–1899) as townships governing several villages, Municipalities of Mexico, Municipalities of Colombia)
only parts of such places, sometimes boroughs of a city such as the 34 municipalities of Santiago, Chile.OKATO
Russian Classification on Objects of Administrative Division (Russian: Общеросси́йский классифика́тор объе́ктов администрати́вно-территориа́льного деле́ния), or OKATO (Russian: ОКАТО), also called All-Russian classification on units of administrative and territorial distribution in English, is one of several Russian national registers. OKATO's purpose is organization of information about structure of the administrative divisions of the federal subjects of Russia.
The document assigns numeric codes to each administrative division of the country, which are hierarchically structured from the federal subject level down to selsoviet level; an expanded version also includes listings of individual inhabited localities within each administrative division.
OKATO is used for statistical and tax purposes. It was adopted on July 31, 1995, replacing SOATO (Designation System of Objects of Administrative Division of the Union of SSR and the Union Republics, as well as Inhabited Localities). It went into effect on January 1, 1997 and as of 2014 underwent 243 revisions. The compilation and maintenance of the OKATO data are the responsibility of the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) of Russia.Regional units of Greece
The 74 regional units (Greek: περιφερειακές ενότητες, perifereiakés enóti̱tes, sing. περιφερειακή ενότητα, perifereiakí̱ enóti̱ta) are administrative units of Greece. They are subdivisions of the country's 13 regions, further subdivided into municipalities. They were introduced as part of the "Kallikratis" administrative reform on 1 January 2011 and are comparable in area and, in the mainland, coterminous with the pre-"Kallikratis" prefectures of Greece.Sum (country subdivision)
Sum, sumu, sumon, and somon (Plural: sumd) are a type of administrative district used in China, Mongolia, and Russia.Territory
A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a state. In most countries, a territory is an organized land controlled division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed into, or incorporated into, a political unit of the country that is of equal status to other political units that may often be referred to by words such as "provinces" or "states". In international politics, a territory is usually a non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.Ward (electoral subdivision)
A ward is a local authority area, typically used for electoral purposes. Wards are usually named after neighbourhoods, thoroughfares, parishes, landmarks, geographical features and in some cases historical figures connected to the area. It is common in the United States for wards to simply be numbered.
In Swahili/Kiswahili Local Ward is called Kata.
In Australia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, they are an electoral district within a district or municipality, used in local government elections. In the United States, wards are usually subdivided into precincts for polling purposes.
In the Republic of Ireland, urban Wards and rural District Electoral Divisions were renamed Electoral Divisions in 1994. The electoral districts for local authorities are often popularly called "wards". These consist of multiple electoral divisions, and are officially called "local electoral areas".In the case of a municipal amalgamation, the former cities and towns that make up the new metropolis may be referred to as wards.
In certain cities of India, such as Mumbai and Delhi, a ward is an administrative unit of the city region; a city area is divided into Zones, which in turn contains numerous wards. The smallest administrative unit of Gram Panchayats in India is also known as a ward.
In Japan, a ward (ku or 区 in Japanese) is an administrative unit of one of the larger cities, closely equivalent to a London Borough or a New York Borough.
In Vietnam, a ward (phường) is an administrative subunit of an inner city district (quận).
A ward in Nepal is a political division. Nine wards make up a village development committee (VDC); VDCs make districts; districts makes zones; and zones (regions) make up the country.
In parts of northern England, a ward was a sub-entity of a county, equivalent to a hundred.Zhou (country subdivision)
Zhou (Chinese: 州; pinyin: zhōu; literally: 'land") were historical political divisions of China. Formally established during the Han dynasty, zhou exist continuously until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912—a period of over 2000 years. Zhou were also previously used in Korea (Hangul: 주, ju), Vietnam (Vietnamese: châu), and Japan (Hepburn: shū).