The term is derived from French municipalité and Latin municipalis. The English word municipality derives from the Latin social contract municipium (derived from a word 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 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 U.S. state of New Jersey (1798–1899) as townships governing several villages, Municipalities of Mexico, Municipalities of Colombia)
- only parts of such places, sometimes boroughs of a city such as the 34 municipalities of Santiago, Chile.
Powers 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 some European countries, such as Germany, municipalities have the constitutional right to supply public services through municipally-owned public utility companies.
Terms in various countries
In a number of countries terms cognate with "commune" are used, referring to the community living in the area and the common interest. These include terms:
- in Romance languages, such as French commune (France, French-speaking areas of Belgium and Switzerland, French-speaking countries of Africa, e.g. Benin), Italian comune, Romanian comună, and Spanish comuna (Chile);
- in Germanic languages such as German Kommune (in political parlance), Swedish kommun, Faroese kommuna, Norwegian, Danish kommune;
- the more remote cognates Gemeente in Dutch, Gemeng in Luxembourgish and Gemeinde in German (the official term);
- and Polish gmina.
The same terms may be used for church congregations or parishes, for example in the German and Dutch Protestant churches.
In Greece, the word Δήμος (demos) is used, also meaning 'community'; the word is known in English from the compound democracy (rule of the people).
In some countries, the Spanish term ayuntamiento, referring to a municipality's administration building, is extended via synecdoche to denote the municipality itself. In Moldova and Romania, both municipalities (municipiu; urban administrative units) and communes (comună; rural units) exist, and a commune may be part of a municipality.
In many countries, comparable entities may exist with various names.
- 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, villages, and villes 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 India, a Municipality or Nagar Palika is an urban local body that administers a city of population 100,000 or more. However, there are exceptions to that, as previously Municipality were constituted in urban centers with population over 20,000, so all the urban bodies which were previously classified as Municipality were reclassified as Municipality even if their population was under 100,000. Under the Panchayati Raj system, it interacts directly with the state government, though it is administratively part of the district it is located in. Generally, smaller district cities and bigger towns have a Municipality. Municipality are also a form of local self-government entrusted with some duties and responsibilities, as enshrined in the Constitutional (74th Amendment) Act,1992.
- In the United Kingdom, the term was used until the 1972 Local Government Act came into effect in 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 Trinidad and Tobago, "municipality" is usually understood as a city, town, or other local government unit, formed by municipal charter from the state as a municipal corporation. A town may be awarded borough status and later on may be upgraded to city status. Chaguanas, San Fernando, Port of Spain, Arima and Point Fortin are the 5 current municipalities in Trinidad and Tobago.
- 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: Local government in the United States#Municipal governments).
- In the People's Republic of China, a direct-administered municipality (直辖市 in pinyin: zhíxiáshì) is a municipality with equal status to a province: Beijing Municipality, Chongqing Municipality, Shanghai Municipality, and Tianjin Municipality (see also: Direct-administered municipalities of China).
- In the Republic of China (Taiwan), a special municipality (直轄市 in pinyin: zhíxiáshì) is a municipality with equal status to a province: Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, and Taoyuan (see also: Special municipality (Taiwan)).
Municipalities by country
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|Country||Term||Example||Subdivision of||Quantity||Notes||Further reading|
|Italy||comune||a province (provincia) which is part of a region (regione).||7,982||Solely used for subdivisions of larger comuni, especially in Rome; municipio indicates the city hall; in some case, they are joined in mountain communities (comunità montane)||List of municipalities of Italy|
|Philippines||bayan, munisipyo or munisipalidad||Naic||a province (lalawigan or probinsya, except for Pateros)||1,488||A municipality is the official name for a town and is divided into barangays. Municipalities with a larger population and income may become a city through a city charter.||Municipalities of the Philippines|
|Puerto Rico||municipio||Arecibo||none||78||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|
|Sweden||kommun||Stockholm Municipality||County Councils of Sweden (Swedish: landsting) self-governing local authority, covering 21 counties, each comprising one or more of the municipalities.||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 in 2 523 districts (Swedish: distrikt) since 1 January 2016.||Municipalities of Sweden|
- 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 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. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Andersen, Uwe. "Gemeinden/Kommunale Selbstverwaltung | bpb". bpb.de (in German). Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- "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 17 July 2011.
- "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names – From January 2, 2010 to January 1, 2011" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- "List of Ontario Municipalities". Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 4 July 2011. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- "Municipal Government Act" (PDF). Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- Wikisource:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Municipality
- "Legal Dictionary: Municipal Law". FindLaw.
- "2009 Nevada Code". Justia.
- "Kansas Statues". Lesterama.
- The law provides for the possibility of overlapping of the office of President of the mountain community with that of mayor of one of the municipalities of the community: Buonomo, Giampiero (2001). "Compatibile il sindaco-dirigente della locale Comunità montana". Diritto&Giustizia Edizione Online. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Philippine Standard Geographic Code – List of Municipalities". Philippine Statistics Authority. 31 March 2017. Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- "Republic Act 7160 – Local Government Act of 1991". Official Gazette (Philippines). 11 October 1991. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- Ayuda: Divulgación de Resultados de la Comisión Estatal de Elecciones – Municipio. Archived 21 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Comision Estatal de Elecciones. Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Autonomous Municipalities Law. (in Spanish) Archived 5 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- SFS 2015:493 Archived 30 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Svensk författningssamling: Förordning om distrikt.
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