A municipality is usually an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government or jurisdiction. The term municipality is also used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district. The term is derived from French "municipalité" and Latin "municipalis".
The English word "Municipality" derives from the Latin social contract "Municipium", 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).
The term "municipality" is a generic term, and can describe any political jurisdiction from a sovereign state, such as the Principality of Monaco, or a small village, such as West Hampton Dunes, New York.
The territory over which a municipality has jurisdiction may encompass
- only one populated place such as a city, town, or village
- several of such places (e.g., early jurisdictions in the state of New Jersey (1798-1899) as townships governing several villages, Municipalities of Mexico)
- only parts of such places, sometimes boroughs of a city such as the 34 municipalities of Santiago, Chile.
The power of municipalities range from virtual autonomy to complete subordination to the state. Municipalities may have the right to tax individuals and corporations with income tax, property tax, and corporate income tax, but may also receive substantial funding from the state.
In various countries
In various countries, municipalities are sometimes referred to as "communes", from Latin, notably in Romance languages such as French commune (Benin, France), Italian comune, Romanian comună, and Spanish comuna (Chile), and in Germanic languages such as German Kommune, Swedish kommun, and Norwegian/Danish kommune. Other terms include Spanish ayuntamiento, and municipalidad (cognate to "municipality") and Polish gmina.
- In Australia, 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 Canada, municipalities are local governments established through provincial and territorial legislation, usually within general municipal statutes. Types of municipalities within Canada include cities, district municipalities, municipal districts, municipalities, parishes, rural municipalities, towns, townships, villes, and villages among others. The Province of Ontario has different tiers of municipalities, including lower, upper, and single tiers. Types of upper tier municipalities in Ontario include counties and regional municipalities. Nova Scotia also has regional municipalities, which include cities, counties, districts, or towns as municipal units.
- In the United Kingdom, the term was used until 1974 in England and Wales, and until 1975 in Scotland and 1976 in Northern Ireland, "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 Jersey, 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 the United States, "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.)
- In the People's Republic of China, a direct-controlled municipality (直辖市 in pinyin: zhíxiáshì) is a city 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 pinyin: zhíxiáshì) is a city with equal status to a province: Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Taipei (see Special municipality of Taiwan).
Municipalities by country
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|Country||Term||Example||Subdivision of||Quantity||Notes||Further reading|
|Albania||bashki (urban) or komunë (rural)||Municipalities of Albania|
|Algeria||baladiyah||daïra (district), which is part of a wilaya (province)||1,541||Municipalities of Algeria|
|Argentina||municipalidad||is the institution in charge of local administration. The provinces organize the municipalities for each city in their territories according to their own municipal regime.|
|Austria||Gemeinde||district (Bezirk), which is in turn part of a state (Bundesland).||Municipalities of Austria|
|Bangladesh||Pouroshabha / Pouroshava||upazila or subdistrict, which is in turn part of a district||311||Municipalities of Bangladesh|
|Belgium||gemeente/commune||a province (provincie/province) or of the Brussels-Capital Region||589||Municipalities in Belgium|
|Bolivia||municipio||Arani Municipality||province, which is part of a departamento.||327 (2005)||Municipalities of Bolivia|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||općina or opština||in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina : of a canton (kanton). In Republika Srpska, municipality is first order of government after entity government.||Municipalities of Republika Srpska|
|Brazil||municípios||São Paulo (largest), Borá (smallest)||states (estados)||5,564||is the smallest political-administrative division; there is no equivalent to a county level. A city (cidade) is defined in Brazilian law as the urban seat of a municipality, and a municipality always has the same name as the corresponding city. Brazilian law establishes no difference between cities and towns; all it takes for an urban settlement to be called a "city" is to be the seat of a municipality, and some are very small. Other settlements have no form of local government and are under the authority of the municipality they are in, although in some cases the municipal government may set up local administrative offices there. The Federal District (the area of the national capital city, Brasília) has special status and is not divided into municipalities. The Fernando de Noronha and St. Peter and St. Paul archipelagos together comprise a unique case of a "state district" under the direct administration of the state government of Pernambuco. Apart from these two exceptions, all land in Brazil, even the remotest wilderness areas, belongs to the territory of some municipality, and therefore is technically under the jurisdiction of a "city." No point in the country lies in a non-incorporated area, and that explains why some municipalities in sparsely populated areas such as the Amazon region can be larger than many sovereign countries.||Municipalities of Brazil|
|Bulgaria||Bulgarian: община, obshtina||Aksakovo Municipality||an oblast||264||Municipalities of Bulgaria|
|Kingdom of Cambodia||(ស឵ល឵ក្រុង) refers to city hall||Example, if they say Phnom Penh Municipality it means Phnom Penh City Hall, but sometimes a municipality refers to the capital city, which is Phnom Penh City.|
|Chile||municipalidad||provinces||is a legal entity which administers one or more communes (comuna) which are the third-level division of the country. The first division are regions which a next divided into provinces (provincia). These provinces are next divided into comunas which are assigned to a municipality for administration. In almost most cases the municipality and the comuna have the same name, but the constitution permits a single municipality to be responsible for more than one commune.|
|Colombia||municipio||a department (departamento)||1119||It is also subdivided into Corregimientos and Veredas.||Municipalities of Colombia|
|Costa Rica||Municipalidad||Province (Provinces of Costa Rica)||Cantones of Costa Rica|
|Croatia||općina||county (županija)||Municipalities of Croatia|
|Czech Republic||obec||a kraj (kraj)|
|Denmark||kommune||Aabenraa Municipality||a region||98||Counties (amter) were abandoned in Denmark on January 1, 2007.||Municipalities of Denmark|
|Dominican Republic||municipio||province||Municipalities of the Dominican Republic|
|Estonia||omavalitsus||Are vald (Are Parish)||county (maakond)||215||is the smallest division of local government. Municipalities can be both towns (linn) and parishes (vald).||Municipalities of Estonia|
|Finland||kunta||is independent and constitutes local government; each co-operates with municipalities nearby in a sub-region (seutukunta) and region (maakunta). A municipality can freely call itself a "city" (kaupunki).||Municipalities of Finland|
|France||commune||department (département) which is part of a region (région)||36,600|
|Germany||Gemeinde||district (Kreis). Larger entities of the same level are called towns (Stadt). In less populated regions, municipalities are often put together into collective municipalities (Verbandsgemeinde)||12013||Municipalities of Germany|
|Greece||demos (δήμος, pl. δήμοι) or kinotita (κοινότητα, pl. κοινότητες) with lesser population||a municipality is either, which are then part of a prefecture (nomos, νομός) and then a larger region known as a periphery (περιφέρεια, pl. περιφέρειες). Municipalities are third-level administrative divisions and their heads (mayors in demi, presidents in kinotites) are appointed via popular vote held every four years.|
|Greenland||kommunea||Kujalleq||is the first-level administrative division of country.||Municipalities of Greenland|
|Haiti||commune||an arrondissement, which is part of a department (département).|
|Honduras||municipio||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|
|Hungary||település||a county (megye).||3,168 (in 2005)|
|Iceland||sveitarfélag||Reykjavík||Regions||74||Municipalities in Iceland are the only self-governing local administrative units.||Municipalities of Iceland|
|India||nagar palika||A municipality is often referred to as a town. It is neither a village nor a big city. Usually, a municipality would have 20,000 or more people, but if it exceeds 500,000 it becomes a municipal corporation (Mahanagar Nigam). Ward councillors of municipal corporations are nominated by the subdivisional officers and elected by the people. The chairman is also a nominee of the subdivisional officer who is a government officer in India.||Municipalities of India|
|Israel||a municipality generally takes one of three forms: city councils, which govern a large municipality, local councils, which govern a small municipality, and regional councils, which govern a group of communities, often but not necessarily of a rural nature.|
|Italy||comune||a province (provincia) which is part of a region (regione).||8058||The term "municipality" is reserved for subdivisions of larger comuni (in particular, the comune of Rome), while municipio indicates the city hall palace.||List of comuni of Italy|
|Japan||a municipality is the sphere of government within the prefectures, the sub-division of the state. Municipalities of Japan include shi (cities), cho (towns), and son (villages).|
|Kenya||a municipality is one of four types of local authorities. Nearly 50 major towns are given the municipality status.|
|Latvia||sing.:novads, plur.:novadi)||Aglona novads (Aglona Municipality)||A municipality normally consists of amalgamated parishes (sing.:pagasts, plur.:pagasti).||Municipalities of Latvia|
|Lebanon||a district (Arabic: Qadaa) which is part of a Governorate (Region or Province, Arabic: Mouhafazah).|
|Libya||the municipality level is that of the Basic People's Congress. Large cities are subdivided.||Municipalities of Libya|
|Lithuania||savivaldybė||Kalvarijos savivaldybė (Kalvarija Municipality)||a district (apskritis) and is subdivided into elderates (seniūnija).||Municipalities of Lithuania|
|Luxembourg||communes||are the lowest divisions|
|Macedonia||opština||Aračinovo Municipality||the country (top-level) or the City of Skopje||84 (2004)||current set established in 2004, reduced from 123 created in 1996.||Municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia|
|Malta||Kunsill Lokali (Local Council)||Valletta Local Council||none||68||established 1993, one new council created since then (Mtarfa)||Local councils of Malta|
|Mexico||municipio / delegación||Asientos Municipality||a state (estado) or the DF||a borough (delegación) is a subdivision of the Federal District||Municipalities of Mexico and boroughs of the Mexican Federal District|
|Moldova||municipiu||Municipiului Chişinău||is a main city or town and surrounding villages ranked by law at this level.||Moldova#Administrative_divisions|
|Montenegro||opština||Andrijevica Municipality||the country (top-level)||Municipalities of Montenegro|
|Nepal||Nagarpalika||58 (after the census in 2001)+33 new municipalities were in 2012||a municipality is a town not large enough in population or infrastructure to qualify as a sub-metropolitan city.|
|Netherlands||gemeente||a province (provincie)||408 + 3 special municipalities||Municipalities in the Netherlands|
|New Zealand||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.)|
|Nicaragua||municipio||a department (departamento) or of one of the two Autonomous Regions, Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte and Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur.||Municipalities of Nicaragua|
|Norway||kommune||Røyken kommune||a county (fylke)||430 (2009)||Municipalities of Norway|
|Palestinian National Authority||105||municipalities are localities with populations over 4,000 and have 13-15 council members.||Municipality (Palestinian Authority)|
|Pakistan||of a tehsil/taluka or sub-district of a "district".||Local government in Pakistan|
|Paraguay||municipalidad||a departament (departamento)|
|Peru||municipio||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.|
|Philippines||bayan or munisipyo||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 National Capital Region). Municipalities are not the smallest division of local government and are composed of barangays.|
|Poland||gmina||Gmina Annopol||county (powiat).|
|Portugal||município||Aveiro Municipality||municipality 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 freguesia (civil parish). For central government purposes, Portuguese municipalities are grouped into districts (distritos). In Portugal, 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 freguesias.||Municipalities of Portugal|
|Puerto Rico||municipio||municipality consists of an urban area (termed a city or town) plus all of its surrounding barrios 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.||Municipalities of Puerto Rico|
|Romania||municipiu||is a town or a city ranked by law at this level. A commune is the lowest subdivision of a judeţ.||Municipalities in Romania|
|Russia||several types of municipalities ("municipal formations") exist; see subdivisions of Russia|
|San Marino||there are also eight minor municipalities, castelli.|
|Serbia||opština||a district (okrug)|
|Slovenia||občina||region (regija)||212||a 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|
|South Africa||district municipalities and metropolitan municipalities are subdivisions of the provinces, and local municipalities are subdivisions of district municipalities.|
|Spain||municipio||a municipality (municipio) 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 Spanish language) or a conceyu (in Asturian language). In these two regions a municipality contains one or more parroquias (parishes).||Municipalities of Spain|
|Sweden||kommun||Ale Municipality||290||is 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 into 21 counties (län), each containing one or more of the municipalities.||Municipalities of Sweden|
|Switzerland||commune/Gemeinde/comune||a canton (canton/Kanton/cantone) and defined by cantonal law.||Municipalities in Switzerland|
|Thailand||thesaban||None||1,602||There are three levels of municipalities, and municipalities are not self-governed except for Bangkok and Pattaya. Municipalities introduced in 1935, Bangkok became self-governed in 1972, and Pattaya became self-governed in 1978.||Thesaban|
|Ukraine||there are two types of municipalities (or rada — council): urban and rural. Both are types of lower administrative division in the country. Urban municipalities could be city or settlement (town). Cities always carry special status: national (two), oblast (at least one in each region), and raion (the rest). Urban municipalities often consist of several other smaller ones. Bigger cities are divided into number of city raions (districts). Rural municipalities are much smaller and may combine several villages and rural settlements (smaller villages). Two cities Kiev and Sevastopol are organized as special municipalities that are independent from their regional government (oblast / republic) within they are located.|
|United Arab Emirates||an emirate||is defined by the law of the specific emirates.|
|Turkey||belediye||is a local government authority and there are two types of municipalities: metropolitan (büyükşehir) municipality, district (alt/ilçe) municipality.|
|Uruguay||municipio||89||Municipalities of Uruguay|
|Venezuela||municipio||Anaco Municipality||a state, as well as a subdivision of the Capital District (estado)||Municipalities of Venezuela|
|Vietnam||Direct-controlled municipality||Ho Chi Minh City (largest)||5||In the Vietnam, a direct-controlled municipality (Thành phố trực thuộc trung ương in Vietnamese) is a city with equal status to a province: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho||Municipalities 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 concelho is used, when referring to the organ of State, the word município is used. This differentiation is still in use in Portugal and some of its former overseas provinces, but it’s no longer in use in Brazil.
- Council of European Municipalities and Regions
- Council-manager government
- Creature of statute
- Lists of municipalities
- Mayor-council government
- Municipal corporation
- Municipal government
- "Municipality". Merriam-Webster.
- "municipality definition". Yourdictionary.com.
- "Santiago de Chile - Comunas". Mapas de Chile, Castor y Polux Ltda.
- "Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)". Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- "Municipal Government". The Canadian Encyclopedia > Government > Government, General > Municipal Government. Historica Foundation of Canada. 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names – From January 2, 2010 to January 1, 2011". Statistics Canada. April 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- "List of Ontario Municipalities". Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- "Municipal Government Act". Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- "1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Municipality". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "Legal Dictionary: Municipal Law". FindLaw.
- "2009 Nevada Code". Justia.
- "Kansas Statues". Lesterama.
- 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.
|Look up municipality in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|