County

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For other uses, see County (disambiguation). County_sentence_0

Not to be confused with Country. County_sentence_1

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes in certain modern nations. County_sentence_2

The term is derived from the Old French or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. County_sentence_3

Literal equivalents in other languages, derived from the equivalent of "count", are now seldom used officially, including , contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, and zhupa in Slavic languages; terms equivalent to English language administrative terms like municipality, district, circuit and commune/community are now often instead used. County_sentence_4

When the Normans conquered England, they brought the term with them. County_sentence_5

The Saxons had already established the districts that became the historic counties of England, calling them shires; many county names derive from the name of the county town (county seat) with the word shire added on: for example, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. County_sentence_6

The Anglo-Saxon terms earl and earldom were taken as equivalent to the continental terms "count" and "county" under the conquering Normans, and over time the two blended and became equivalent. County_sentence_7

Further, the later-imported term became a synonym for the native Old English word ([ʃiːr) or, in Modern English, shire – an equivalent administrative division of the kingdom. County_sentence_8

The term "county" evolved, consequently, to designate a level of local administration that was immediately beneath a national government, within a unitary (non-federal) system of government. County_sentence_9

County later also became used differently in some federal systems of government, for a local administrative division subordinate to a primary subnational entity, such as a Province (e.g. Canada) or a State (e.g. the United States); in these countries, a county is a level 3 territorial unit (NUTS 3). County_sentence_10

In the US and Canada, founded 600 years later on the British traditions, counties are usually an administrative division set by convenient geographical demarcations, which in governance have certain officeholders (for example sheriffs and their departments) as a part of the state and provincial mechanisms, including geographically common court systems. County_sentence_11

A county may be further subdivided into districts, hundreds, townships or other administrative jurisdictions within the county. County_sentence_12

A county usually, but not always, contains cities, towns, townships, villages, or other municipal corporations, which in most cases are somewhat subordinate or dependent upon county governments. County_sentence_13

Depending on the nation, municipality, and local geography, municipalities may or may not be subject to direct or indirect county control — the functions of both levels are often consolidated into a city government when the area is densely populated. County_sentence_14

Outside English-speaking countries, an equivalent of the term county is often used to describe subnational jurisdictions that are structurally equivalent to counties in the relationship they have with their national government; but which may not be administratively equivalent to counties in predominantly English-speaking countries. County_sentence_15

Africa County_section_0

Kenya County_section_1

Main article: Counties of Kenya County_sentence_16

Counties are the current second-level political division in Kenya. County_sentence_17

Each county has an assembly where members of the county assembly (MCAs) sit. County_sentence_18

This assembly is headed by a Governor. County_sentence_19

Each county is also represented in the Senate of Kenya by a senator. County_sentence_20

Additionally, a Women's Representative is elected from each county to the Parliament of Kenya to represent women's interests. County_sentence_21

Counties replaced provinces as the second-level division after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. County_sentence_22

Liberia County_section_2

Main article: Counties of Liberia County_sentence_23

Liberia has 15 counties, each of which elects two senators to the Senate of Liberia. County_sentence_24

The Americas County_section_3

Argentina County_section_4

Provinces in Argentina are divided into departments (Spanish: departamentos), except in the Buenos Aires Province, where they are called partidos. County_sentence_25

The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes (comunas). County_sentence_26

Canada County_section_5

Five of Canada's provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island – are divided into counties. County_sentence_27

In those older provinces that have a two-tier system of municipal government, the counties constitute the upper tier and local municipalities form the lower tier. County_sentence_28

In addition to counties, Ontario is also subdivided (depending on population densities) into districts, one district municipality, and regional municipalities (the latter being restructurings of former counties). County_sentence_29

which are also part of the upper tier. County_sentence_30

British Columbia has counties for the purposes of its justice system, but these counties otherwise have no governmental function. County_sentence_31

For the provision of all other governmental services, the province is divided into regional districts that form the upper tier. County_sentence_32

They are subdivided into local municipalities that are partly autonomous, and unincorporated electoral areas that are governed directly by the regional districts. County_sentence_33

In Alberta, the term county is synonymous with the term municipal district – it is not its own incorporated municipal status that is different from that of a municipal district. County_sentence_34

As such, Alberta Municipal Affairs provides municipal districts with the opportunity to brand themselves either as municipal districts or counties in their official names. County_sentence_35

A county in Alberta used to be a type of designation in a single-tier municipal system; but this was changed to "municipal district" under the Municipal Government Act, when the County Act was repealed in the mid-1990s, at which time they were also permitted to retain the usage of county in their official names. County_sentence_36

The rest of Canada has only one level of municipal government. County_sentence_37

Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Yukon use their municipalities as regional and local subdivisions without any real differentiation between the two. County_sentence_38

Jamaica County_section_6

Jamaica is divided into 14 parishes which are grouped together into 3 historic counties: Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey. County_sentence_39

United States County_section_7

Main article: County (United States) County_sentence_40

See also: List of United States counties and county equivalents County_sentence_41

Counties in U.S. County_sentence_42 states are administrative or political subdivision of the state in which their boundaries are drawn. County_sentence_43

In addition, the United States Census Bureau uses the term "county equivalent" to describe places that are comparable to counties, but called by different names. County_sentence_44

Today, 3,142 counties and county equivalents carve up the United States, ranging in number from 3 for Delaware to 254 for Texas. County_sentence_45

Forty-eight of the 50 U.S. states use the term "county", while Alaska and Louisiana use the terms "borough" and "parish", respectively, for analogous jurisdictions. County_sentence_46

A consolidated city-county such as Philadelphia and San Francisco is formed when a city and county merges into one unified jurisdiction. County_sentence_47

Conversely, an independent city like Baltimore and St. County_sentence_48 Louis legally belongs to no county, i.e. no county even nominally exists in those places compared to a consolidated city-county where a county does legally exist in some form. County_sentence_49

The District of Columbia, outside the jurisdiction of any state, is viewed by the U.S. Census Bureau as a single county equivalent. County_sentence_50

The specific governmental powers of counties vary widely between the states. County_sentence_51

They are generally the intermediate tier of state government, between the statewide tier and the immediately local government tier (typically a city, town/borough or village/township). County_sentence_52

Some of the governmental functions that a county may offer include judiciary, county prisons, land registration, enforcement of building codes, federally mandated services programs. County_sentence_53

Depending on the individual state, counties or their equivalents may be administratively subdivided into townships, boroughs or boros, or towns (in the New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). County_sentence_54

For independent cities and consolidated city-counties, those places report directly to the state. County_sentence_55

New York City is a special case where the city is made up of five boroughs, each of which is territorially coterminous with a county of New York State. County_sentence_56

In the context of city government, the boroughs are subdivisions of the city but are still called "county" where state function is involved, e.g., "New York County Courthouse". County_sentence_57

County governments in Rhode Island and Connecticut have been completely abolished but the entities remain for administrative or statistical purposes. County_sentence_58

Alaska's 323,440-square-mile (837,700 km) Unorganized Borough also has no county equivalent government, but the U.S. Census Bureau further divides it into statistical county equivalent subdivisions called census areas. County_sentence_59

The areas of each county also vary widely between the states. County_sentence_60

For example, the territorially medium-sized state of Pennsylvania has 67 counties delineated in geographically convenient ways. County_sentence_61

By way of contrast, Massachusetts, with far less territory, has massively sized counties in comparison even to Pennsylvania's largest, yet each organizes their judicial and incarceration officials similarly. County_sentence_62

Most counties have a county seat: a city, town, or other named place where its administrative functions are centered. County_sentence_63

Some New England states use the term shire town to mean "county seat". County_sentence_64

A handful of counties like Harrison County, Mississippi have two or more county seats, usually located on opposite sides of the county, dating back from the days when travel was difficult. County_sentence_65

Asia–Pacific County_section_8

Australia County_section_9

In the eastern states of Australia, counties are used in the administration of land titles. County_sentence_66

They do not generally correspond to a level of government, but are used in the identification of parcels of land. County_sentence_67

People's Republic of China County_section_10

Main article: Counties of the People's Republic of China County_sentence_68

The word county is used to translate the Chinese term xiàn ( or ). County_sentence_69

In Mainland China, governed by the People's Republic of China (PRC), counties are the third level of local government, coming under both the province level and the prefecture level. County_sentence_70

There are 1,464 counties in the PRC out of 2,862 county-level divisions. County_sentence_71

The number of counties has remained more or less constant since the Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). County_sentence_72

The county remains one of the oldest levels of government in China and significantly predates the establishment of provinces in the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). County_sentence_73

The county government was particularly important in imperial China because this was the lowest layer at which the imperial government functioned. County_sentence_74

The head of a county during imperial times was the magistrate. County_sentence_75

In older context, district was an older English translation of xiàn before the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC). County_sentence_76

The English nomenclature county was adopted following the establishment of the ROC. County_sentence_77

During most of the imperial era, there were no concepts like municipalities in China. County_sentence_78

All cities existed within counties, commanderies, prefectures, etc., and had no governments of their own. County_sentence_79

Large cities (must be imperial capitals or seats of prefectures) could be divided and administered by two or three counties. County_sentence_80

Such counties are called 倚郭縣 (yǐguō xiàn, 'county leaning on the city walls') or 附郭縣 (fùguō xiàn, 'county attached to the city walls'). County_sentence_81

The yamen or governmental houses of these counties exist in the same city. County_sentence_82

In other words, they share one county town. County_sentence_83

In this sense, a yǐguō xiàn or fùguō xiàn is similar to a district of a city. County_sentence_84

For example, the city of Guangzhou (seat of the eponymous prefecture, also known as Canton in the Western world) was historically divided by Nanhai County (南海縣) and Panyu County (番禺縣). County_sentence_85

When the first modern city government in China was established in Guangzhou, the urban area was separated from these two counties, with the rural areas left in the remaining parts of them. County_sentence_86

However, the county governments remained in the city for years, before moving into the respective counties. County_sentence_87

Similar processes happened in many Chinese cities. County_sentence_88

Nowadays, most counties in mainland China are administered by prefecture-level cities. County_sentence_89

However, they are all rural areas, and no longer serve as urban districts. County_sentence_90

Iran County_section_11

Main article: Counties of Iran County_sentence_91

The ostans (provinces) of Iran are further subdivided into counties called shahrestān (Persian: شهرستان‎). County_sentence_92

County consists of a city centre, a few bakhsh (Persian: بخش‎), and many villages around them. County_sentence_93

There are usually a few cities (Persian: شهر‎, shahar) and rural agglomerations (Persian: دهستان‎, dehestān) in each county. County_sentence_94

Rural agglomerations are a collection of a number of villages. County_sentence_95

One of the cities of the county is appointed as the capital of the county. County_sentence_96

Each shahrestān has a government office known as farmândâri (فرمانداری‎), which coordinates different events and government offices. County_sentence_97

The farmândâr فرماندار‎, or the head of farmândâri, is the governor of the shahrestān. County_sentence_98

Fars Province has the highest number of shahrestāns, with 23, while Semnān and South Khorasan have only 4 shahrestāns each; Qom uniquely has one, being with its namesake county. County_sentence_99

Iran had 324 shahrestāns in 2005. County_sentence_100

Korea County_section_12

Main articles: Administrative divisions of North Korea and Administrative divisions of South Korea County_sentence_101

County is the common English translation for the character 군 (gun or kun) that denotes the current second level political division in South Korea and one type of municipal-level division in North Korea. County_sentence_102

New Zealand County_section_13

Main article: Counties in New Zealand County_sentence_103

After New Zealand abolished its provinces in 1876, a system of counties similar to other countries' systems was instituted, lasting until 1989. County_sentence_104

They had chairmen, not mayors as boroughs and cities had; many legislative provisions (such as burial and land subdivision control) were different for the counties. County_sentence_105

During the second half of the 20th century, many counties received overflow population from nearby cities. County_sentence_106

The result was often a merger of the two into a district (e.g. Rotorua) or a change of name to either district (e.g. Waimairi) or city (e.g. Manukau City). County_sentence_107

The Local Government Act 1974 began the process of bringing urban, mixed, and rural councils into the same legislative framework. County_sentence_108

Substantial reorganisations under that Act resulted in the 1989 shake-up, which covered the country in (non-overlapping) cities and districts and abolished all the counties except for the Chatham Islands County, which survived under that name for a further 6 years but then became a "Territory" under the "Chatham Islands Council". County_sentence_109

Taiwan County_section_14

See also: County (Taiwan) County_sentence_110

County is the common English translation for the character 縣 (Wade–Giles: hsien) that denotes the current first level political division in Taiwan and surrounding islands. County_sentence_111

However, provincial cities have the same level of authority as counties. County_sentence_112

Above county, there are special municipalities (in effect) and province (suspended due to economical and political reasons). County_sentence_113

There are currently 14 counties in Taiwan. County_sentence_114

Europe County_section_15

Denmark County_section_16

Main article: Counties of Denmark County_sentence_115

Denmark was divided into counties (Danish: amter) from 1662 to 2006. County_sentence_116

On 1 January 2007 the counties were replaced by five Regions. County_sentence_117

At the same time, the number of municipalities was slashed to 98. County_sentence_118

The counties were first introduced in 1662, replacing the 49 fiefs (len) in Denmark–Norway with the same number of counties. County_sentence_119

This number does not include the subdivisions of the Duchy of Schleswig, which was only under partial Danish control. County_sentence_120

The number of counties in Denmark (excluding Norway) had dropped to around 20 by 1793. County_sentence_121

Following the reunification of South Jutland with Denmark in 1920, four counties replaced the Prussian Kreise. County_sentence_122

Aabenraa and Sønderborg County merged in 1932 and Skanderborg and Aarhus were separated in 1942. County_sentence_123

From 1942 to 1970, the number stayed at 22. County_sentence_124

The number was further decreased by the 1970 Danish municipal reform, leaving 14 counties plus two cities unconnected to the county structure; Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. County_sentence_125

In 2003, Bornholm County merged with the local five municipalities, forming the Bornholm Regional Municipality. County_sentence_126

The remaining 13 counties were abolished on 1 January 2007 where they were replaced by five new regions. County_sentence_127

In the same reform, the number of municipalities was slashed from 270 to 98 and all municipalities now belong to a region. County_sentence_128

France County_section_17

A comté was a territory ruled by a count (comte) in medieval France. County_sentence_129

In modern France, the rough equivalent of a county as used in many English-speaking countries is a department (département). County_sentence_130

Germany County_section_18

For the situation in Germany compare Kreise. County_sentence_131

Each administrative district consists of an elected council and an executive, and whose duties are comparable to those of a county executive in the United States, supervising local government administration. County_sentence_132

Historically, counties in the Holy Roman Empire were called Grafschaften. County_sentence_133

Hungary County_section_19

Main articles: Counties of Hungary and Administrative divisions of the Kingdom of Hungary County_sentence_134

The administrative unit of Hungary is called megye (historically, they were also called vármegye; comitatus in Latin), which can be translated with the word county. County_sentence_135

The 19 counties constitute the highest level of the administrative subdivisions of the country together with the capital city Budapest, although counties and the capital are grouped into seven statistical regions. County_sentence_136

Counties are subdivided to municipalities, the two types of which are towns and villages, each one having their own elected mayor and council. County_sentence_137

23 of the towns have the rights of a county although they do not form independent territorial units equal to counties. County_sentence_138

Municipalities are grouped within counties into subregions (kistérség), which have statistical and organizational functions only. County_sentence_139

The vármegye was also the historic administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary, which included areas of present-day neighbouring countries of Hungary. County_sentence_140

Its Latin name (comitatus) is the equivalent of the French comté. County_sentence_141

Actual political and administrative role of counties changed much through history. County_sentence_142

Originally they were subdivisions of the royal administration, but from the 13th century they became self-governments of the nobles and kept this character until the 19th century when in turn they became modern local governments. County_sentence_143

Ireland County_section_20

Main articles: Counties of Ireland and Counties of the United Kingdom County_sentence_144

The island of Ireland was historically divided into 32 counties, of which 26 later formed the Republic of Ireland and 6 made up Northern Ireland. County_sentence_145

These counties are traditionally grouped into four provinces: Leinster (12 counties), Munster (6), Connacht (5) and Ulster (9). County_sentence_146

Historically, the counties of Meath and Westmeath and small parts of surrounding counties constituted the province of Mide, which was one of the "Five Fifths" of Ireland (in the Irish language the word for province, cúige, means 'a fifth': from cúig, 'five'); however, these have long since become the three northernmost counties of Leinster province. County_sentence_147

In the Republic each county is administered by an elected "county council", and the old provincial divisions are merely traditional names with no political significance. County_sentence_148

The number and boundaries of administrative counties in the Republic of Ireland were reformed in the 1990s. County_sentence_149

For example, County Dublin was divided into three: Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin; the City of Dublin had existed for centuries before. County_sentence_150

The cities of Cork and Galway have been separated from the town and rural areas of their counties. County_sentence_151

The cities of Limerick and Waterford were merged with their respective counties in 2014. County_sentence_152

Thus, the Republic of Ireland now has 31 'county-level' authorities, although the borders of the original twenty-six counties are still officially in place. County_sentence_153

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils and the smaller town councils were abolished in 1973 and replaced by a single tier of local government. County_sentence_154

However, in the north as well as in the south, the traditional 32 counties and 4 provinces remain in common usage for many sporting, cultural and other purposes. County_sentence_155

County identity is heavily reinforced in the local culture by allegiances to county teams in hurling and Gaelic football. County_sentence_156

Each Gaelic Athletic Association county has its own flag/colours (and often a nickname), and county allegiances are taken quite seriously. County_sentence_157

See the counties of Ireland and the Gaelic Athletic Association. County_sentence_158

Italy County_section_21

In Italy the word county is not used; the administrative sub-division of a region is called provincia. County_sentence_159

Italian provinces are mainly named after their principal town and comprise several administrative subdivisions called comuni ('communes'). County_sentence_160

There are currently 110 provinces in Italy. County_sentence_161

In the context of pre-modern Italy, the Italian word contado generally refers to the countryside surrounding, and controlled by, the city state. County_sentence_162

The contado provided natural resources and agricultural products to sustain the urban population. County_sentence_163

In contemporary usage, contado can refer to a metropolitan area, and in some cases large rural/suburban regions providing resources to distant cities. County_sentence_164

Lithuania County_section_22

Main article: Counties of Lithuania County_sentence_165

Apskritis (plural apskritys) is the Lithuanian word for county. County_sentence_166

Since 1994 Lithuania has 10 counties; before 1950 it had 20. County_sentence_167

The only purpose with the county is an office of a state governor who shall conduct law and order in the county. County_sentence_168

Norway County_section_23

Main article: Counties of Norway County_sentence_169

Norway has been divided into 11 counties (Bokmål: fylker, Nynorsk: fylke; singular: fylke) since 2020; they previously numbered 19 following a local government reform in 1972. County_sentence_170

Until that year Bergen was a separate county, but today it is a municipality within the county of Vestland. County_sentence_171

All counties form administrative entities called county municipalities (fylkeskommuner or fylkeskommunar; singular: fylkeskommune), further subdivided into municipalities (kommuner or kommunar; singular: kommune). County_sentence_172

One county, Oslo, is not divided into municipalities, rather it is equivalent to the municipality of Oslo. County_sentence_173

Each county has its own county council (fylkesting) whose representatives are elected every four years together with representatives to the municipal councils. County_sentence_174

The counties handle matters such as high schools and local roads, and until 1 January 2002 hospitals as well. County_sentence_175

This last responsibility was transferred to the state-run health authorities and health trusts, and there is a debate on the future of the county municipality as an administrative entity. County_sentence_176

Some people, and parties, such as the Conservative and Progress Party, call for the abolition of the county municipalities once and for all, while others, including the Labour Party, merely want to merge some of them into larger regions. County_sentence_177

Poland County_section_24

See also: List of counties in Poland County_sentence_178

A second-level administrative division in Poland is called a powiat. County_sentence_179

This is a subdivision of a voivodeship, or province, and is further subdivided into gminas. The term is often translated into English as county (or sometimes district). County_sentence_180

Romania County_section_25

See also: Counties of Romania County_sentence_181

Romania is divided into 42 jurisdictions; a jurisdiction is called a județ. County_sentence_182

The Romanian word for county, comitat, is not currently used for any Romanian administrative divisions. County_sentence_183

Sweden County_section_26

The Swedish division into counties was established in 1634, and was based on an earlier division into provinces; Sweden is today divided into 21 counties. County_sentence_184

At the county level there is a county administrative board led by a governor appointed by the central government of Sweden, as well as an elected county council that handles a separate set of issues, notably hospitals and public transportation for the municipalities within its borders. County_sentence_185

The Swedish term used is län, which literally means 'fief'. County_sentence_186

United Kingdom County_section_27

Main article: Counties of the United Kingdom County_sentence_187

The United Kingdom is divided into a number of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. County_sentence_188

There are also ceremonial counties which group small non-metropolitan counties into geographical areas broadly based on the historic counties of England. County_sentence_189

In 1974, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties replaced the system of administrative counties and county boroughs which was introduced in 1889. County_sentence_190

The counties generally belong to level 3 of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS 3). County_sentence_191

Most non-metropolitan counties in England are run by county councils and are divided into non-metropolitan districts, each with its own council. County_sentence_192

Local authorities in the UK are usually responsible for education, emergency services, planning, transport, social services, and a number of other functions. County_sentence_193

In England, in the Anglo-Saxon period, shires were established as areas used for the raising of taxes, and usually had a fortified town at their centre. County_sentence_194

This became known as the shire town or later the county town. County_sentence_195

In many cases, the shires were named after their shire town (for example Bedfordshire), but there are several exceptions, such as Cumberland, Norfolk and Suffolk. County_sentence_196

In several other cases, such as Buckinghamshire, the modern county town is different from the town after which the shire is named. County_sentence_197

(See Toponymical list of counties of the United Kingdom) County_sentence_198

The name "county" was introduced by the Normans, and was derived from a Norman term for an area administered by a Count (lord). County_sentence_199

These Norman "counties" were simply the Saxon shires, and kept their Saxon names. County_sentence_200

Several traditional counties, including Essex, Sussex and Kent, predate the unification of England by Alfred the Great, and were originally more or less independent kingdoms. County_sentence_201

In Northern Ireland, the six county councils, if not their counties, were abolished in 1973 and replaced by 26 local government districts. County_sentence_202

The traditional six counties remain in common everyday use for many cultural and other purposes. County_sentence_203

The thirteen historic counties of Wales were fixed by statute in 1539 (although counties such as Pembrokeshire date from 1138) and most of the shires of Scotland are of at least this age. County_sentence_204

In the Gaelic form, Scottish traditional county names are generally distinguished by the designation siorramachd—literally "sheriffdom", e.g. Siorramachd Earra-ghaidheal (Argyllshire). County_sentence_205

This term corresponds to the jurisdiction of the sheriff in the Scottish legal system. County_sentence_206

Until 1974, the county boundaries of England changed little over time. County_sentence_207

In the medieval period, a number of important cities were granted the status of counties in their own right, such as London, Bristol and Coventry, and numerous small exclaves such as Islandshire were created. County_sentence_208

In 1844, most of these exclaves were transferred to their surrounding counties. County_sentence_209

In 1965 and 1974–1975, major reorganisations of local government in England and Wales created several new administrative counties such as Hereford and Worcester and also created several new metropolitan counties based on large urban areas as a single administrative unit. County_sentence_210

In Scotland, county-level local government was replaced by larger regions, which lasted until 1996. County_sentence_211

Modern local government in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a large part of England is trending towards smaller unitary authorities: a system similar to that proposed in the 1960s by the Redcliffe-Maud Report for most of Britain. County_sentence_212


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County.