Commune-level town (Vietnam)
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(thành phố trực thuộc trung ương)
(thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh)
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A commune-level town (Vietnamese: thị trấn), also called Townlet is a third-level (commune-level) administrative subdivision of Vietnam. Commune-level towns are subdivisions of counties (Vietnamese: huyện), which are in turn subdivisions of provinces (Vietnamese: tỉnh).
The commune-level town is one of three possible third-level subdivisions in Vietnam, along with the rural commune (Vietnamese: xã) and the ward (Vietnamese: phường, literal meaning: urban subdistrict). Further subdivisions (i.e. into fourth-level subdivisions) do not exist in Vietnam. Commune-level towns are officially classified as Class V urban areas (occasionally Class IV).
The difference between a town and a rural commune is mainly related to their industrialization rate. Rural commune areas are dominated by the practice of agriculture (including farming, forestry, fishery, and so on), whereas towns generally have a more diversified economic base. Population density in towns is also higher than in rural communes. Other criteria, such as population (as opposed to density), revenue received from taxes, and land area are generally not taken into account. Towns often have higher budgets than communes, but many counter-examples exist.
The seat of government of a county is generally located in a commune-level town designated as a county seat (Vietnamese: huyện lỵ)—as opposed to a rural commune—except when the town's geographical location is not favorable.
As of December 31, 2008, Vietnam had 617 commune-level towns. Thanh Hóa Province with 30 commune-level towns is the most of all province-level administrative units, followed by Hanoi with 22 commune-level towns. Ninh Thuận Province has only three commune-level towns and Đà Nẵng has none.