Commune-level town (Vietnam)
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A commune-level town (Vietnamese: thị trấn), also called township, is a third-level (commune-level) administrative subdivision of Vietnam. Commune-level towns are subdivisions of districts (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 commune (Vietnamese: xã) and the ward (Vietnamese: phường); this latter being an urban sub-district. Further subdivisions (i.e. into fourth-level subdivisions) do not exist in Vietnam. Commune-level towns (townships) are mostly classified as Class V urban areas (occasionally Class IV).
The difference between a township and a commune is mainly related to their industrialization rate. Communes are dominated by the practice of agriculture (including farming, forestry, fishery, and so on), whereas townships generally have a more diversified economic base. Population density in townships is also higher than in communes. Other criteria, such as population (as opposed to density), revenue received from taxes, and land area are generally not taken into account. Townships often have higher budgets than communes, but many counter-examples exist.
The seat of government of a district is generally located in a township designated as a district capital (Vietnamese: huyện lỵ)—as opposed to a 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.