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A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and state laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the , which may encompass territory or numerous small communities such as , 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 municipalité and municipalis. The word municipality derives from the Latin (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 such as a , town, or village
  • several of such places (e.g., early jurisdictions in the U.S. state of (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 , Chile.


Political powers
Powers of municipalities range from virtual autonomy to complete subordination to the state. Municipalities may have the right to tax individuals and corporations with , , and corporate income tax, but may also receive substantial funding from the state.


In various countries
In various countries, municipalities are usually referred to as "", notably in Romance languages (derived from Latin) such as French (France, French-speaking areas of Belgium and Switzerland, French-speaking countries of Africa, e.g. Benin), Italian , Romanian , and Spanish (Chile), and in Germanic languages such as German (in political parlance, the official term being Gemeinde), Swedish , Faroese , and Norwegian, Danish kommune]]. However, in Moldova and Romania exists both municipalities ( municipiu; urban administrative units) and communes ( comună; rural units), and a commune may be part of a municipality (see more: communes of Moldova, communes of Romania).

Similar terms include Spanish , also called (cognate to "municipality"), Polish , Dutch/Flemish and Luxembourgish .


English-speaking
  • In , the term local government area (LGA) is used in place of the generic municipality. Here, the "LGA Structure covers only incorporated areas of Australia. Incorporated areas are legally designated parts of states and territories over which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility."
  • In , municipalities are local governments established through provincial and territorial legislation, usually within general municipal statutes. Types of municipalities within Canada include , district municipalities, municipal districts, municipalities, parishes, rural municipalities, , , , and among others. The Province of has different tiers of municipalities, including lower, upper, and single tiers. Types of upper tier municipalities in Ontario include counties and regional municipalities. also has regional municipalities, which include cities, counties, districts, or towns as municipal units.
  • In , a Municipality or Nagar Palika is an urban local body that administers a city of population 100,000 or more. However, there are exceptions to that, as previously Municipality were constituted in urban centers with population over 20,000, so all the urban bodies which were previously classified as Municipality were reclassified as Municipality even if their population was under 100,000. Under the system, it interacts directly with the state government, though it is administratively part of the district it is located in. Generally, smaller district cities and bigger towns have a Municipality. Municipality are also a form of local self-government entrusted with some duties and responsibilities, as enshrined in the Constitutional (74th Amendment) Act,1992.
  • In the United Kingdom, the term was used until the 1972 Local Government Act came into effect in 1974 in and , and until 1975 in and 1976 in , "both for a city or town which is organized for self-government under a municipal corporation, and also for the governing body itself. Such a corporation in Great Britain consists of a head as a mayor or provost, and of superior members, as aldermen and councillors". Since local government reorganisation, the unit in England, Northern Ireland and Wales is known as a district, and in Scotland as a council area. A district may be awarded borough or city status, or can retain its district title.
  • In , a municipality refers to the honorary officials elected to run each of the 12 parishes into which it is subdivided. This is the highest level of regional government in this jurisdiction.
  • In Trinidad and Tobago, "municipality" is usually understood as a city, town, or other local government unit, formed by municipal charter from the state as a municipal corporation. A town may be awarded borough status and later on may be upgraded to city status. , San Fernando, Port of Spain, and are the 5 current municipalities in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • In the , "municipality" is usually understood as a city, town, village, or other local government unit, formed by municipal charter from the state as a municipal corporation. In a state law context, some U.S. state codes define "municipality" more widely, from the state itself to any political subdivisions given jurisdiction over an area that may include multiple populated places and unpopulated places. (See also Political divisions of the United States.)


Chinese-speaking
  • In the People's Republic of China, a direct-controlled municipality (直辖市 in : zhíxiáshì) is a with equal status to a province: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing (see Municipality of China).
  • In Taiwan (Republic of China), a special municipality (直轄市 in : zhíxiáshì) is a city with equal status to a province: , , , , and (see Special municipality of Taiwan).


Municipalities by country
shārwāli Provinces of Afghanistan15434 'provincial' municipalities of provincial capitals ( shārwāli) and 120 rural or 'district' municipalities ( shārwāli uruswāli)www.km.gov.af
bashki (urban) or komunë (rural) 61 Municipalities of Albania
daïra (district), which is part of a wilaya (province)1,541 Municipalities of Algeria
parròquiaSant Julià de Lòria 7
Provinces of Argentina, in some provinces they are a subdivision of departments2,100Smallest administrative division; either a city, town, or townshipMunicipalities of Argentina
Gemeinde a state ( Bundesland).1,725The entire area of Austria is divided into municipalities, with no non-municipal gaps. This leads to some municipalities being very large despite having a small population.Municipality (Austria)
Pouroshabha / Pouroshava Upazila or subdistrict, which is in turn part of a district311 Municipalities of Bangladesh
/Montigny-le-Tilleula province ( provincie/province) or of the Brussels-Capital Region589The provinces are themselves subdivisions of the and Regions which have the authority over the municipalitiesMunicipalities in Belgium
Arani Municipality, which is part of a departamento.327 (2005) Municipalities of Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovinaopćina or opština in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina : of a canton ( kanton). In , municipality is first order of government after entity government.144 Municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina
municípioSão Paulo (most populous), Borá (least populous)states ( estados)5,570Smallest administrative subdivision. Not used in the Federal District or the Fernando de Noronha and St. Peter and St. Paul archipelagos, but encompasses all other territories nationwideMunicipalities of Brazil
bandaranBandar Seri Begawan 4Independent of subdivisions; nevertheless overlap with mukims and villagesMunicipalities of Brunei
община, obshtinaAksakovo Municipalityan 264 Municipalities of Bulgaria
Kingdom of Cambodia(ស឵ល឵ក្រុង) refers to city hall 1446
municipalidadTorres del Paineprovinces346Specifically the administrative body, while subdivisions are ; most municipalities administer one comuna each, but occasional municipalities administer more
直辖市 4Status equal to a provinceMunicipalities of China
a department ( departamento)1,102It is also subdivided into and in urban municipalities and into and in rural municipalitiesMunicipalities of Colombia
Province ( Provinces of Costa Rica) Cantones of Costa Rica
općina county ( županija)428 Municipalities of Croatia
a ( kraj)6250
kommuneAabenraa Municipalitya region98Counties ( amter) were abandoned in 2007Municipalities of Denmark
Dominican Republic province Municipalities of the Dominican Republic
departamentos262 Municipalities of El Salvador
omavalitsusAre vald ()county ( maakond)215Can be either towns ( linn) or parishes ( vald)Municipalities of Estonia
kunta/ kommunregion311Can choose whether to call itself a "city" ( kaupunki).Municipalities of Finland
commune canton, which is part of an arrondissement, which is part of a department ( département) which is part of a region ( région)36,600
Gemeinde district ( Kreis, literally "Circle"). Larger entities of the same level are called Stadt, plural Städte (Cities resp. Towns), which can be part of a Kreis (they are kreisangehörig, meaning "belonging to a Circle") or constituting a district on its own ( kreisfrei, meaning "free of a Circle"). In less populated regions, small municipalities are often put together into consolidated superior municipalities ( , or Amtsgemeinde)12,013 Municipalities of Germany
Georgiamunits'ipaliteti 76self-governing towns/cities ( k'alak'i) and communities ( t'emi)Municipalities of Georgia
demos (δήμος, pl. δήμοι) or koinoteta (κοινότητα, pl. κοινότητες) 325Demoi and koinotetes are both considered municipalities; the latter are less populousMunicipalities and communities of Greece
kommunea 4First-level administrative divisionMunicipalities of Greenland
commune an , which is part of a department ( département).
was in 1895 originally the subdivision of the district ( distrito), but as districts have fallen into disuse, it is now the subdivision of the department ( departamento).298 Municipalities of Honduras
település a county ( megye).3,168 (in 2005)
sveitarfélagReykjavíkRegions74The country's only self-governing local administrative unitsMunicipalities of Iceland
Excludes both villages and large cities; typically has more than twenty thousand residents, but cannot exceed five hundred thousandMunicipalities of India
QadhaaAl-Hamdaniya Districta district (Qadhaa) which is part of a (Region or Province, : Mouhafatha).130Second-level, below the governorateMunicipalities of Iraq
Iri'ya (עיריה, City Government), Moatsa (מועצה, Council) Includes city councils (large municipalities), local councils (small municipalities), and regional councils (a group of communities; often rural)
a province ( provincia) which is part of a region ( regione).7,982Solely used for subdivisions of larger comuni, especially in Rome; municipio indicates the city hall; in some case, they are joined in mountain communities ( comunità montane)The law provides for the possibility of overlapping of the office of President of the mountain community with that of mayor of one of the municipalities of the community: List of comuni of Italy
1,719Below the prefecture; includes shi (cities), cho (towns), and son (villages)Municipalities of Japan
a municipality is one of four types of local authorities. Nearly 50 major towns are given the municipality status.
singular: novads, plural: novadiAglonas novads (Aglona Municipality) 110A municipality normally consists of amalgamated parishes (singular: pagasts, plural: pagasti).Municipalities of Latvia
a district (Qadaa) which is part of a (Region or Province, : Mouhafazah).
the municipality level is that of the Basic People's Congress. Large cities are subdivided.Municipalities of Libya
savivaldybėKalvarijos savivaldybė (Kalvarija Municipality)a district ( ) and is subdivided into elderates ( seniūnija). Municipalities of Lithuania
commune (in French); Gemeng, plur. Gemengen (in Luxembourgish) part of a canton (Luxembourgish: Kantoun) which itself is part of a district105are the lowest divisions
MacedoniaopštinaAračinovo Municipalitythe country (top-level) or the City of Skopje84 (2004)current set established in 2004, reduced from 123 created in 1996.Municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia
Kunsill Lokali (Local Council)none68established 1993, one new council created since then ()Local councils of Malta
a municipality: The administration of all the main towns in Mauritius is done by the municipality of the respective towns.Most of the towns are found in the district of Plaines Wilhems. The capital city, Port-Louis is managed by the Municipality of Port-Louis, found in the district of Port Louis. The other seven districts are administered by are called district councils.
/ delegaciónAsientos Municipalitya state (estado) or the DF2,466a borough ( delegación) is a subdivision of the Federal DistrictMunicipalities of Mexico and boroughs of the Mexican Federal District
Municipiul Chișinău 32is a main city or town and surrounding villages ranked by law at this level.Moldova#Administrative divisions
opštinaAndrijevica Municipalitythe country (top-level) Municipalities of Montenegro
Nagarpalika 58 (after the census in 2001)a municipality is a town not large enough in population or infrastructure to qualify as a sub-metropolitan city.
gemeente a province ( provincie)388 + 3 special municipalities Municipalities in the Netherlands
a municipality is part of either a "city" (mostly urban) or a "district" (mostly rural). The term "municipality" has become rare in New Zealand since about 1979 and has no legal status. (See territorial authorities of New Zealand.)
a department ( departamento) or of one of the two Autonomous Regions, North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region and South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. Municipalities of Nicaragua
kommuneRøyken kommunea county ( fylke)430 (2009) Municipalities of Norway
Palestinian National Authority 105municipalities are localities with populations over 4,000 and have 13-15 council members.Municipality (Palestinian Authority)
of a tehsil/taluka or sub-district of a "district".149 Local government in Pakistan
municipalidad a departament ( departamento)
a province ( provincia), which is part of a department ( departamento). As of 2002 a department is now called a region (región). is another term for district ( distrito) and is the lower-level administrative subdivision.
bayan or or a province is a town with a popularly elected administration including a mayor and is part of a province ( lalawigan or probinsya) (except for the independent municipality of Pateros, Metro Manila in the ). Municipalities are not the smallest division of local government and are composed of .
county ( ).
or Oeiras308Concelho is a directly elected local area authority generally consisting of a main city or town and surrounding villages, with wide-ranging local administration powers. Apart from the municipality of Corvo, however, municípios are not the smallest administrative unit in Portugal, that being the (civil parish). For central government purposes, Portuguese municipalities are grouped into districts ( distritos). In , a municipality ( município/ concelho) is the primary local administrative unit. Although part of a district ( distrito) for certain national administrative purposes, the municipality is not subordinate to the district and decentralization is doing away with the districts. A municipality contains one or more .Municipalities of Portugal
municipality consists of an urban area (termed a city or town) plus all of its surrounding comprising the municipality. It has a popularly elected administration and a municipal mayor. The seat of the municipal government is located in such urban area and serves the entire municipal jurisdiction. Ayuda: Divulgación de Resultados de la Comisión Estatal de Elecciones – Municipio. Comision Estatal de Elecciones. Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2011. Autonomous Municipalities Law. (in Spanish) Retrieved 24 October 2011.Municipalities of Puerto Rico
/ oraș / comunăDevaCounty ( județ)103 + 217 + 2856A ( municipiu) is a special status given to cities which fulfill certain criteria related to size, influence and development, as defined by Law no. 351/2001 (on the National Territorial Management Plan). Localities which do not meet the criteria are designated "cities" ( orașe) or "communes" ( comune).Municipalities of Romania
Cities of Romania
Communes of Romania
several types of municipalities ("municipal formations") exist; see subdivisions of Russia
there are also eight minor municipalities, castelli.
opština a district ( )
( okres) which is part of a ( kraj)2,891
občina ( regija)212a municipality ( občina) is the primary local administrative unit. There are 212 of them, 11 of which have a special "Urban" status with additional autonomy.Municipalities of Slovenia
district municipalities and metropolitan municipalities are subdivisions of the provinces, and local municipalities are subdivisions of district municipalities.
/ municipi / concello / udalerria 8,122a municipality ( ) is the primary local administrative unit. It is a part of a province ( provincia) for all national administrative purposes. In the Galicia region, the municipalities are called, in Galician language, concellos, and in the Principality of Asturias region, a municipality is called a concejo (in ) or a conceyu (in Asturian language). In these two regions a municipality contains one or more parroquias (parishes).Municipalities of Spain
kommunStockholm Municipality Gothenburg Municipality Malmö Municipality County Councils of Sweden (Swedish: landsting) self-governing local authority, covering 21 counties, each comprising one or more of the municipalities.290is self-governing according to the Swedish constitution and constitutes local government. Before 1971, a municipality could be called a town ( stad), a köping or a rural municipality ( landskommun); present municipalities which used to be towns are still commonly called towns. Sweden is also divided in 2 523 districts (Swedish: distrikt) since 1 January 2016. SFS 2015:493, Svensk författningssamling: Förordning om distrikt.Municipalities of Sweden
/Gemeinde/ a canton ( canton/Kanton/cantone) and defined by cantonal law.2,596 Municipalities in Switzerland
None1,602There are three levels of municipalities, and municipalities are not self-governed except for and . Municipalities introduced in 1935, became self-governed in 1972, and became self-governed in 1978.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipalityil(province)2,920is a local government authority and there are two types of municipalities: metropolitan (büyükşehir) municipality, district (alt/ilçe) municipality.
there are two types of municipalities: urban and rural. Both are referred to after their governing body as council (i.e. miskrada, selyshchna rada or silrada). They are considered the lowest administrative division in the country and better known as the local government. Urban municipalities are more complex and divided into city municipalities (miskrada) and town municipalities (selyshchna rada). The most complex municipalities are the cities of regional significance which are referred to simply as cities and create a sort of ambiguity.
United Arab Emirates an is defined by the law of the specific emirates.
89 Municipalities of Uruguay
Anaco Municipalitya state, as well as a subdivision of the Capital District ( estado) Municipalities of Venezuela
Direct-controlled municipalityHo Chi Minh City (largest) 5A direct-controlled municipality ( Thành phố trực thuộc trung ương) is a with equal status to a provinceMunicipalities of Vietnam
  • In Portuguese language usage, there are two words to distinguish the territory and the administrative organ. When referring to the territory, the word is used, when referring to the organ of State, the word município is used. This differentiation is in use in Portugal and some of its former overseas provinces, but it’s no longer in use in Brazil.


See also
  • Council of European Municipalities and Regions
  • Council-manager government
  • Creature of statute
  • Lists of municipalities
  • Mayor-council government
  • Municipal corporation
  • Municipal government


External links
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