In 2006 the Indian government named Garhwa one of the country's 250 most forward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 21 districts in Jharkhand currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Garhwa district comprises two subdivisions, Garhwa and Nagar-Untari, which are further divided into 14 blocks. At the time of creation, this district comprised only eight blocks: Bhandaria, Bhawanathpur, Dhuraki, Garhwa, Majhiyaon, Meral, Nagar-Untari and Ranka. Later, six more blocks were added by reorganizing the existing blocks. These are: Chiniya, Dandai, Kandi, Kharaundhi, Ramkanda and Ramuna. This district comprises 156 Gram-Panchayat and 916 villages. It has two police sub-divisions: Garhwa and Nagar-Untari with eight police stations as Bhandaria, Bhawnathpur, Dhurki, Garhwa, Majhiyaon, Meral, Nagar-Untari, and Ranka.
The district consists mostly forests and has only one town, Garhwa, which is also the district headquarters.
There are two Vidhan Sabha constituencies in this district: Garhwa and Bhawanathpur. Both are part of Palamau Lok Sabha constituency.
Garhwa is well connected with roads and railway. Daily bus services are available from Ranchi and major districts of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhatisgarh. Road communication of this district is not at par with the other districts of the state. There are no National Highways in this district. There are 210 km of State Highway and 96.95 km of district roads. Link road and corridors are altogether of 190 km.
After the Jharkhand state was formed the conditions of the roads in the state improved as compared to Bihar. The road between Garhwa and Nagar Untari is remarkable but the road connecting to Nagar Untari and Bhavnathpur is the worst . The road going through the mines is very bad and it takes hours to travel only 8 kilometers.
Nearest airport is at Varanasi (140 km). Garhwa Railway Station is a major railhead of the Eastern Railways. National Highway 75 has its route through Garhwa.