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Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.


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In Austria, a district or Bezirk is an administrative division normally encompassing several municipalities, roughly equivalent to the Landkreis in Germany. The administrative office of a district, the Bezirkshauptmannschaft is headed by the Bezirkshauptmann. It is in charge of the administration of all matters of federal and state administrative law and subject to orders from the higher instances, usually the Landeshauptmann (governor) in matters of federal law and the Landesregierung (state government) in state law. While there are matters of administrative law the municipalities themselves are in charge of, or where there are special bodies, the district is the basic unit of general administration in Austria. Officials on the district level are not elected, but appointed by the state government. There are also independent cities in Austria. They are called Statutarstadt in Austrian administrative law. These urban districts do have the same tasks as a normal district.


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The State of Vienna, which is at the same time a municipality, is also subdivided in twenty-three districts, which, however, have a somewhat different function than in the rest of the country. Legally, the Magistratisches Bezirksamt (district office) is a local offices of the municipality's administration. However, representatives (Bezirksräte) on the district level are elected, and they in turn elect the head of the district, the Bezirksvorsteher. Those representative bodies are supposed to serve as immediate contacts for the locals on the political and administrative level. In practice, they have some power, e.g. concerning matters of traffic.


Main articles: State Electoral Districts, Cadastral divisions of Australia

Electoral districts are used in state elections. Districts were also used in several states as cadastral units for land titles. Some were used as squatting districts. New South Wales had several different types of districts used in the 19th century.


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Bangladeshi districts are local administrative units. In all, there are 64 districts in Bangladesh. Originally, there were 21 greater districts with several subdivisions in each district. In 1984, the government made all these subdivisions into districts. Each district has several sub districts called Upazila in Bengali.


In Belgian municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, on initiative of the local council, sub-municipal administrative entities with elected councils may be created. As such, only Antwerp, having over 460,000 inhabitants, became subdivided into nine districts (Dutch: [districten] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)).

The Belgian arrondissements (also in French as well as in Dutch), an administrative level between province (or the capital region) and municipality, or the lowest judicial level, are in English sometimes called districts as well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina district is a neutral, self-governing administrative unit, under the sovereignty of the Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Brčko District

Brčko District in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina is formally part of both entities, the Republika Srpska, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are 29 seats in the Assembly of the Brčko District.


Brazilian municipalities are subdivided into districts. Smalls municipalities usually have only one urban district, which contains the city itself, consisting of the seat of the local government, where the municipality's prefeitura and câmara de vereadores (City Hall and City Council, respectively, the Executive and Legislative local bodies) are located. The rural districts and groups of urban districts (mainly in larges cities) may also present a sublocal Executive body, named subprefeitura.



In Alberta, the district (known as municipal districts) acts like a county or a city but not like the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, all districts and counties are part of census subdivisions of their respective census divisions.

British Columbia

In the province of British Columbia, there are several kinds of administrative districts by that name. The usual usage is a reference to district municipalities, which are a class of municipality in the same hierarchy as city, town, or village. Most are styled "District of Mission" or "District of Wells", though some are styled "Corporation of Delta" or "Township of Langley".

Within the area of municipal powers, regional districts, which are somewhat analogous to counties in other jurisdictions a number of municipalities, and unincorporated areas and to distinguish them from district municipalities and other kinds of district are always referred to as "regional districts".

Other kinds of districts in British Columbia are:


In Ontario, a district is a statutory subdivision of the province, but, unlike a county, a district is not incorporated. Most districts are composed of unincorporated lands, mostly Crown land. Originally present-day Southern Ontario (then part of the Province of Quebec and after 1791, Upper Canada) was divided into districts in 1788 [1]. Districts continued to operation until 1849 when they were replaced by counties by the Province of Canada.

The current Ontario districts such as Algoma and Nipissing were first created by the Province of Canada in 1858 prior to Confederation for the delivery of judicial and provincial government services to sparsely populated areas from the district seat (e.g. Sault Ste. Marie). Some districts may have District Social Service Administration Boards, which are designed to provide certain social services. The boundaries of a federal census division may correspond to those of a district.

Northwest Territories

In western and northern Canada, the federal government created districts as subdivisions of the Northwest Territories 1870-1905, partly on the model of the districts created in the Province of Canada[citation needed]. The first district created was the District of Keewatin in 1876 followed by four more districts in 1882. Gradually, these districts became separate territories (such as Yukon, separate provinces (such as Alberta and Saskatchewan) or were absorbed into other provinces.


In Quebec, districts are municipal electoral subdivisions of boroughs, which are subdivisions of cities. They function in a similar manner to what is elsewhere known as a ward.

People's Republic of China

Script error: No such module "main". In China, the district or (市辖区, pinyin: shì xiá qū) is a subdivision of any of various city administrative units, including municipalities, sub-provincial cities and prefecture-level cities. Districts have county level status.

Modern districts are a recent innovation. In the context of pre-modern China, the English translation "district" is typically associated with xian, another Chinese administrative division. The xian is translated as "county" in the context of modern China.


  • In Colombia a district is a special administrative unit. 10 areas within Colombia are designated as districts.

Barranquilla is designated a Special Industrial Port District; Cartagena is a Tourism and Cultural District; Bogotá is the Capital District and Santa Marta Historical, Tourism and Cultural District. There are also the Historical and Cultural District of Tunja; Special, Ecotouristic, Historical and Universitarian District of Popayán; Special Portuarial District of Turbo; Special Industrial, Portuarial, Biodiverse and Ecotouristic District of Tumaco; Special Border and Touristic District of Cúcuta and Special Industrial, Portuarial, Biodiverse and Ecotouristic District of Buenaventura.


Then, in the 20th century, districts were a type of intercommunality, they've been replaced by communauté de communes and communautés d'agglomération after 1999.


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  • In Germany, a district ("Kreis") is an administrative unit between the "Länder" (German federal states) and the local / municipal levels (Gemeinden). Most of the 429 German districts are "Landkreise", rural districts. 116 larger cities (usually with more than 100,000 inhabitants) that do not belong to a district are considered as urban districts ("Kreisfreie Städte" or "Stadtkreise").
  • In some states, there is additional level of administration between the Länder and the Landkreise called Regierungsbezirk (government district).
  • District (Bezirk) was also the name of administrative subdivisions of the German Democratic Republic since 1952. See Administrative division of the German Democratic Republic

Hong Kong

Script error: No such module "main". Hong Kong is divided into eighteen districts, each with a district council.


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India's districts (Hindi: ज़िला [zɪlaː] or जनपद [dʒənpəd̪]; also mavattam Tamil: மாவட்டம் Bengali: জেলা) Malayalam ( മലയാളം-ജില്ല) are local administrative units inherited from the British Raj. They generally form the tier of local government immediately below that of India's subnational states and territories. Where warranted, districts may further be grouped into administrative divisions, which form an intermediate level between the district and the subnational state (or union territory).

A district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner/ Collector, who is responsible for the overall administration and the maintenance of law and order. The district collector may belong to IAS (Indian Administrative Service). Other key responsibilities include the collection of revenue, and criminal prosecution in the district and sessional courts. Usually, the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector is conferred with magisterial powers under section 20 of Criminal Procedure Code, and designated as the District Magistrate. The official designations are, "Collector and District Magistrate" or "Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate".

Districts are most frequently further sub-divided into smaller administrative units, called either tehsils or talukas or mavattams, depending on the region. These units have specific local responsibilities, including in particular coordinating revenue collection. An intermediate level (the sub-division) between district and tehsil/taluka may be formed by grouping these units under the oversight of Assistant Commissioners or sub-collectors. Each district includes one or two cities (or large towns), a few smaller towns and dozens of villages. Most of the Indian districts have the same name as their main town or city.

As of June 2008, a total of 610 districts are defined in India, more than the number of paliamentary constituencies(545). In A.P.districts (23) are less than M.P.seats (42).

District revenue administration in A.P.

  1. District headed by collector
  2. A district is composed of four or five revenue divisions administered by R.D.O./sub collector,
  3. Revenue Divisions divided into taluks/mandals headed by tahsildars,
  4. Mandals composed of a ten or more villages administered by village revenue officers and village servants.

Panchayati Raj

Tiers of administration

  1. Grama panchayath: sarpanch
  2. village clusters: M.P.T.C.
  3. Mandal/Taluk: M.P.P./Z.P.T.C.
  4. District: Z.P.Chairperson.


In Papua (province) and West Papua, two of 33 provinces of Indonesia, a district is subdivision of a regency or a city. Formerly it was called as kecamatan, which translates into English as subdistrict. However, even though both taking each places on the same level as before, the translation is ambiguous. In many newer translation of official documents kecamatan itself is translated into English as district, while some other still translate it to subdistrict. Districts or subdistricts in Indonesian context do not have legal autonomy to govern themselves, because they are only administration extensions of a regency or a city.


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In Iraq, they use the word qadaa for districts. There are over a hundred districts, each district being within one of 18 Iraqi governorates, sometimes known as provinces. The district generally (but not always) bears the name of a city within that district, usually the capital of that district.


A district (gun in Japanese) is a local administrative unit comprising towns and villages but not cities. See districts of Japan for more complete description. In 1923, its administrative role was abolished although it is still in use for addressing purposes. "District" is also a translation of chiku, defined by Japan's planning law.


In Kenya, a district (wilayah) is a subdivision of a Province and is headed by a District Officer (DO).

Korea (South)

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A district (gu) is a subdivision of larger cities in South Korea. Smaller cities have no districts, whereas districts in Seoul and six Metropolitan Cities are treated as a city in its own right.


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A district is known as Daerah in Malay. A district governed directly by the federal government is known as a Federal Territory, and they are Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan.

In Peninsular Malaysia, a district is a division of a state. A mukim is a subdivision of a district. The mukim is however of less importance with respect to the administration of local government.

In East Malaysia, a district is a subdivision within a division of a state. For example, Tuaran is a district within the West Coast Division of Sabah. A district is usually named after the main town or its administrative capital, for example, Sandakan town is the capital of the district of Sandakan, as well the capital of Sandakan Division. (Note: Sandakan district is a sub-division of Sandakan Division.)

In Malaysia, each district will have a District Office, headed by a district officer, and is administered by a local government either being a District Council, Municipal Council, or a City Council. In some highly urbanised districts, there may be further subdivisions. For example, the district of Petaling in Selangor is administered by 3 local governments: Shah Alam City Council, Petaling Jaya City Council, and Subang Jaya Municipal Council. Another example is the district of Kinta in Perak, which has 3 subdivisions: Ipoh City Council, West Kinta District Council, and South Kinta District Council. Conversely, there may be one local government administering more than one district, for example, Seberang Perai Municipal Council administers the districts of Central Seberang Perai, North Seberang Perai, and South Seberang Perai.

An administrative district border and an electoral district border (constituency) transcends each other and does not correspond with each other in most instances.


The districts of Nauru are the only subdivisions of the whole state.


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Nepal is divided into 75 districts. Each district acts as an independent administrative unit. A district consists of various smaller units like Village Development Committees (VDC) and Municipalities. Official documents like citizenship cards and passports are issued by the Chief of District Office (CDO). Constituencies for elections are also constructed according to the population distribution within the district.

New Zealand

Script error: No such module "main". A district in New Zealand is a territorial authority (second-tier local government unit) that has not gained the distinction of being proclaimed a city. Districts tend to be less urbanised, tend to cover more than one population centre and a larger amount of rural area, and tend to have a smaller population than cities. While cities and districts are generally considered to be two different types of territorial authority, the area covered by a city is often known as its district—for example the term district plan is used equally in districts and cities. The Chatham Islands Territory is neither a district nor a city.

A district is not always a simple division of a region: several district lie within two regions, and the Taupo District lies in four.


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Script error: No such module "main". Pakistan's districts are local administrative units inherited from the British Raj. Districts were generally grouped into administrative divisions, which in turn formed provinces. Pakistan has 130 districts (including ten in Azad Jammu and Kashmir). They comprise villages, towns and cities. A district is headed by a district nazim (mayor), who is an elected official and the local controller of the district level officers of all the departments under provincial government. The district nazim heads an elected district council composed of councilors, who represent various district-level constituencies. The councils have a constitutional requirement to be composed of a minimum of 33% women, there is no upper limit to that; so women can comprise 100% of these councils but men cannot.


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The usage of the term 'district' (distrito) in the Philippines has similarities to that in the United States.



Script error: No such module "main". A constituency with a representative in the lower house of Congress is a congressional district. However, the term congressional district has become synonymous in local parlance as 'representative district,' because, just like in the US, the word 'congress' (konggreso) has come to refer especially just to the lower house (the House of Representatives).

A legislative district, which has an average population of about 250,000 to 500,000 may be composed of: (a.) an entire province, (b.) within a province, a group of municipalities and cities (sometimes even including independent and highly urbanized cities geographically located in the province), (c.) a single city, (d.) a group of geographically adjacent independent cities and independent municipalities (currently the only example is the Pateros-Taguig, or (e.) a group of barangays within a city.

Each province is guaranteed at least one representative to the lower house, even though it may not come close to having the same population as that of other more populated legislative districts. Only voters within each district are allowed to vote in the election for the member of the House of Representatives from that district.

From 1916 to 1935, the Philippines was divided into 12 senatorial districts, of which 11 elected two members each, for a total of 22 out of the 24 members of the upper house of Congress (the Senate). Since 1935 senators have been elected at large.


In addition, each congressional district that falls under the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (a total of 8) elects three members each to the country's only subnational legislative assembly.


There are provincial districts for the purpose of electing Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) members, which follow the congressional district arrangement, except that independent and highly urbanized cities whose charters prevent them from electing provincial officials are excluded. Also, provinces that comprise a lone congressional district are divided into at least two provincial districts.


There are also city councilor districts for the purpose of electing Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) members, which follow the congressional district arrangement. In cases where the city does not form two or more congressional districts by itself, it is divided into at least two city council districts.



Districts exist as an administrative entity only in local government, with limited powers or responsibilities. Certain cities, such as Manila, Iloilo and Davao, for administrative purposes, formally divide their jurisdictions into city districts composed of several barangays, but the extent of these district-level administrative powers vary. Several barangays (the lowest level of government) also have the word 'district' in their names — examples are those in Jala-jala and Zamboanga City. However, this is solely for the purpose of nomenclature, and does not imply a higher level of local government.


During Spanish and early American colonial rule, certain areas of the Philippines were designated as 'districts,' mainly those that have not been formally organized into provinces or incorporated into existing ones. In the American era, cities and municipalities were divided into city and municipal districts, which served as the lowest level of government before the creation of the barangay.

Special-purpose districts

Special-purpose districts also exist in the Philippines, created for government departments and agencies. Examples are school districts for the Department of Education (DepEd), engineering districts for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and coast guard districts for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Informal districts

Some cities and municipalities also extend the usage of the word 'district' to refer to certain areas, even without having any formal administrative purposes. Examples are the central business districts in Naga City and Makati City.


Script error: No such module "main". The second-level unit of local government and administration in Poland, equivalent to a county, district or prefecture (LAU-1) in other countries is called a powiat. As of 2008 there are 379 powiat-level entities in Poland: 314 land counties and 65 city counties. For a complete alphabetical listing, see list of counties in Poland.


Districts (distritos) are administrative divisions of Portugal. They do not have an elected government; they are governed by a "civil governor" appointed by the central government. See Districts of Portugal.


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In the Russian Federation, districts (raions) are administrative and municipal divisions of the federal subjects, as well as administrative divisions of larger cities ("city districts").

The term "district" is also used to refer to the type of administrative division of the Sakha Republiculus (Russian: улус; Sakha: улуус). The Sakha Republic is administratively divided into five cities under the Republic's jurisdiction and 33 uluses. The law of the Sakha Republic establishes that the terms "ulus" and "district" are equivalent.[1]

In historical context (for the Russian Empire), the term "district" is often used to refer to uyezds.


Script error: No such module "main". In Scotland, local government districts were used from 1975 to 1996.


Script error: No such module "main". Serbia is divided into twenty-nine districts (okrug) and the city of Belgrade, each of which is further divided into municipalities (opština)


Script error: No such module "main". In Slovakia, a district (okres) is a local administrative unit.

South Africa

Districts of South Africa

Script error: No such module "main". In South Africa, the district municipality forms the layer of government below the provinces. A district municipality is in turn divided into several local municipalities. This structure varies in the six largest urban areas (Cape Town, Durban, East Rand, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria), where a metropolitan municipality is both a district and a local municipality.

Sri Lanka

Script error: No such module "main". For purposes of local government, the country of Sri Lanka is divided into nine provinces: Western, Central, Southern, Northern, Eastern, North Western, North Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa. (The Northern and Eastern Provinces have however, technically been jointly administered since 1988.)

Each of the districts is divided into divisions. These were originally based on the feudal counties, the korales and ratas. They were formerly known as 'D.R.O. Divisions' after the 'Divisional Revenue Officer'. Later the D.R.O.s became 'Assistant Government Agents' and the Divisions were known as 'A.G.A. Divisions'. Currently, the Divisions are administered by a 'Divisional Secretary', and are known as a 'D.S. Divisions'. Rural D.S. Divisions are also administered by a 'Pradeshiya Sabha' (Sinhala for 'Regional Council'), which is elected.


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Some municipalities in the Kingdom of Sweden have divided their territory into smaller areas, which often are assigned an administrative board responsible for certain elements of municipal governance within their district. These areas take a variety of different Swedish names, however "district" is usually the official English term for them. The term "borough" is sometimes used in unofficial contexts.


Script error: No such module "main". In Switzerland, some cantons organise themselves into districts, while others dispense with districts and govern themselves at the [Wahlkreise] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) (constituency or electoral district) level.


A district ("amphoe") is a subdivision of a province ("changwat") in Thailand. Some provinces also contain minor districts ("king amphoe"), which are smaller than the average district.


In Turkey, a district (Turkish: [ilçe] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is an administrative subdivision of a province (Turkish: [il] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)). See also Districts of Turkey.

United Kingdom


Script error: No such module "main". Districts are the most recognisable form of local government in large parts of England. For those areas that retain two-tier local government, districts usually form the lower tier of that arrangement, with counties forming the upper tier. Districts tend to have responsibility for a number of areas including:

Each district raises taxes from residents on behalf of itself, and the upper tier authority through the Council Tax. It also raises income from business through the Non-Domestic Rates system, which is co-ordinated nationally.


There is no official use of the word 'district' in Wales. The country is broken up into 22 unitary authorities. The term district may be used informally to describe a whole or unofficial part of a ward in a city.


Script error: No such module "main". In Scotland, local government districts were use from 1975 to 1996.

Northern Ireland

Script error: No such module "main". Northern Ireland is divided into twenty-six districts for local government purposes. The councils do not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the United Kingdom, e.g. they have no responsibility for education, for road building or for housing (though they do nominate members to the advisory Northern Ireland Housing Council).

Their functions do include waste and recycling services, leisure and community services, building control and local economic and cultural development. They are not planning authorities, but are consulted on some planning applications. Collection of rates (local tax) is handled by the Rate Collection Agency.

United States

Satellite photograph of the District of Columbia.

There are several types of district in the United States.

A constituency with a representative in Congress is a congressional district. Each state is organized into one or more such districts; the exact number within each state is based on the most recent census. Only voters within each district are allowed to vote in the election for the member of the House of Representatives from that district. Overall, there are 435 congressional districts in the United States; each has roughly 630,000 people, with some variance.

A constituency with a representative in a state legislature is a legislative district; the territory over which a federal court has jurisdiction is a federal judicial district.

The District of Columbia is the only part of the United States, excluding territories, that is not located within any of the fifty states.

The United States also has many types of special-purpose districts with limited powers of local government. School districts are the most common, but other types of districts include college districts, hospital districts, utility districts, irrigation districts, port districts, and public transit districts. In some parts of the United States, some of these districts are given the name "authority", so that an entity to manage bus service in the western US would be called a "transit district" and in the eastern US the same type of entity is called a "transit authority."

Many cities in the late 20th century adopted names for non-governmental districts as a way of increasing recognition and identity of these distinct areas. Perhaps most apparently in Los Angeles, various areas and neighborhoods within the city are specified as districts. For instance, Hollywood is a district of Los Angeles, whereas Beverly Hills is an independent city, with its own government and police department. This can often lead to confusion among foreigners and natives alike, as the difference between districts, suburbs and neighboring cities is often quite ambiguous, for they all make up the greater LA area. As with any city, the important distinction is that areas classified as districts are still part of the parent city.

Various federal, regional and local agencies such as the National Register of Historic Places recognize historic districts.

Prior to the Act of Consolidation in 1854, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania had some districts acting like cities or towns.


A district (quận) is an administrative unit lying between a province (or lower province) and higher village.

See also


  1. Law Z#77-I of July 6, 1995 "On Administrative and Territorial Structure of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic", with amendments

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