divisions of Poland
The gmina (Polish pronunciation [ˈɡmina], plural gminy [ˈɡminɨ]) is the principal unit of administrative division of Poland at its lowest uniform level. It is often translated as "commune" or "municipality." As of 2010 there were 2,459 gminas throughout the country. The word gmina derives from the German word Gemeinde, meaning "community."
The gmina has been the basic unit of territorial division in Poland since 1974, when it replaced the smaller gromada (cluster). There are three types of gminas:
- urban gmina (Polish: gmina miejska) consisting of just one city or town,
- mixed urban-rural gmina (Polish: gmina miejsko-wiejska) consisting of a town and surrounding villages and countryside; and
- rural gmina (Polish: gmina wiejska) consisting only of villages and countryside (occasionally of just one village).
Some rural gminas have their seat in a town which is outside the gmina's division. For example, the rural Gmina Augustów is administered from the town of Augustów, but does not include the town, as Augustów is an urban type gmina in its own right.
The legislative and controlling body of each gmina is the elected municipal council (rada gminy), or in a town: rada miasta (town assembly). Executive power is held by the directly elected mayor of the municipality, called wójt in rural gminas, burmistrz in most urban and urban-rural gminas, or prezydent in towns with more than 400,000 inhabitants and some others which traditionally use the title. A gmina may create auxiliary units (jednostki pomocnicze), which play a subordinate administrative role. In rural areas these are called sołectwos, in towns they may be dzielnicas or osiedles and in an urban-rural gmina, the town itself may be designated as an auxiliary unit. For a complete listing of all the gminas in Poland, see List of Polish gminas.
Types of administrative tasks and objectives
Each gmina carries out two types of tasks: its own tasks and commissioned ones. Own tasks are public tasks exercised by self-government, which serve to satisfy the needs of the community. The tasks can be twofold:
- compulsory – where the commune cannot decline to carry out the tasks, and must set up a budget to carry them out in order to provide the inhabitants with the basic public benefits
- optional – where the commune can carry them out in accordance with available budgetary means, set out only to specific local needs (on the gmina's own responsibility and budget).
Own high objectives include a variety of matters such as: the spatial harmony, the real estate management, the environmental protection and nature conservation, the water management, country roads, public streets, bridges, squares and traffic systems, water supply systems and source, the sewage system, removal of urban waste, water treatment, maintenance of cleanliness and order, sanitary facilities, dumps and council waste, supply of electric and thermal energy and gas, public transport, health care, welfare, care homes, subsidised housing, public education, cultural facilities including public libraries and other cultural institutions, historic monuments conservation and protection, the sports facilities and tourism including recreational grounds and devices, marketplaces and covered markets, green spaces and public parks, communal graveyards, public order and safety, fire and flood protection with equipment maintenance and storage, maintaining objects and devices of the public utility and administrative buildings, pro-family policy including social support for pregnant women, medical and legal care, supporting and popularising the self-government initiatives and cooperation within the commune including with non-governmental organizations, interaction with regional communities from other countries etc.
Commissioned tasks cover the remaining public tasks resulting from legitimate needs of the state, commissioned by central government to be performed by self-government's units. The tasks are handed over on the basis of statutory by-laws, charters and regulations, or by way of agreements between the self-government units and central government administration.
Overall number of gminas by type
|Number of gminas by voivodeship|
|of which: rural gminas with their seat outside the gmina||14||13||17||5||15||9||15||0||12||12||13||0||1||15||11||8||160|
Abbreviations used for voivodeships:
LS: Lower Silesian Voivodeship, KP: Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, LBL: Lublin Voivodeship, LBS: Lubusz Voivodeship,
ŁD: Łódź Voivodeship, LP: Lesser Poland Voivodeship, MS: Masovian Voivodeship, OP: Opole Voivodeship,
SK: Subcarpathian Voivodeship, PL: Podlaskie Voivodeship, PM: Pomeranian Voivodeship, SL: Silesian Voivodeship,
ŚWK: Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, WM: Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, GP: Greater Poland Voivodeship, WP: West Pomeranian Voivodeship.
Largest and smallest gminas
|LARGEST||Population (2006 estimate)||Land area in km²||Population density
|Urban||Warsaw (1,697,596)||Warsaw (517.22)||Świętochłowice (4,156.80)|
|Rural||Gmina Chełmiec (24,344)||Gmina Wałcz (574.89)||Gmina Buczkowice (542.70)|
|Urban-rural||Gmina Piaseczno (61,525)||Gmina Pisz (633.69)||Gmina Wołomin (801.69)|
|Town in urban-rural gmina||Gmina Nysa: Nysa (47,545)||Gmina Szczytna: Szczytna (80.38)||Gmina Swarzędz: Swarzędz (3,469.23)|
|Rural part of urban-rural gmina||Gmina Wieliczka: rural part (28,864)||Gmina Pisz: rural part (623.61)||Gmina Świątniki Górne: rural part (407.86)|
|SMALLEST||Population (2006 estimate)||Land area in km²||Population density
|Urban||Krynica Morska (1,364)||Górowo Iławeckie (3.32)||Krynica Morska (11.74)|
|Rural||Gmina Cisna (1,663)||Gmina Jejkowice (7.59)||Gmina Lutowiska (4.63)|
|Urban-rural||Gmina Nowe Warpno (1,559)||Gmina Świątniki Górne (20.35)||Gmina Nowe Warpno (7.88)|
|Town in urban-rural gmina||Gmina Wyśmierzyce: Wyśmierzyce (892)||Gmina Stawiszyn: Stawiszyn (0.99)||Gmina Suraż: Suraż (28.94)|
|Rural part of urban-rural gmina||Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (363)||Gmina Suchedniów: rural part (15.54)||Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (2.09)|
- Central Statistical Office of Poland, January 1, 2006. (Polish)
- Official report from the Central Statistical Office of Poland dated January 1, 2006, (pages 49–151, in Polish)