Metro

  • Written by Vasabjit Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Mississippi State University
How many states and provinces are in the world? Curious Kids[1] is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com[2]. How many states, or provinces or other divisions, are there in the world? – Noé, 8, Minneapolis The exact answer is hard to come by – for now. Your question has actually sparked scholars to start talking about compiling an official, authoritative database. Right now the best estimates land somewhere between 3,600 and 5,200, across the world’s roughly 200 nations. It depends on whether you collect data from specific nations’ own information[3], the CIA World Factbook[4] or the International Standards Organization[5]. There are 195 national governments recognized by the United Nations[6], but there are as many as nine other places[7] with nationlike governments, including Taiwan and Kosovo, though they are not recognized by the U.N. Most of these countries are divided into smaller sections, the way the U.S. is broken up into 50 states along with territories, like Puerto Rico and Guam, and a federal district, Washington, D.C. They are not all called “states,” though: Switzerland has cantons, Bangladesh has divisions, Cameroon has regions, Germany has lander, Jordan has governorates, Montserrat has parishes, Zambia has provinces, and Japan has prefectures – among many other names. Most countries have some type of major subdivision – even tiny Andorra, tucked in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, has seven parishes. Slovenia has the most, with 212[8]: 201 municipalities, called “obcine” in Slovenian, and 11 urban municipalities, called “mestne obcine.” Singapore, Monaco and Vatican City, all small city-states, are the three nations that have what are called “unitary” governments that are not divided into smaller sections. Dividing governing power between national and subnational levels is called “federalism[9].” It lets countries organize large areas of land and large numbers of people, handling different interests of diverse groups, often with different languages, religions and ethnic identities. National governments still control international relations, military power and money and banking systems – things that affect everyone in a country equally. But states, provinces, cantons and the like let more local government groups have some amount of say over health care, education, policing and other issues where needs can vary substantially from one area to another. Variations in laws and regulations benefit people in a couple of different ways. First, people can leave one area and move to another that has laws or policies that are more to their liking[10]. In addition, different regions can try different approaches[11] to solving particular problems – like educating all children or providing health care in rural areas, perhaps identifying which methods are more effective. Federal systems also make it easier for citizens to join government by running for office, including challenging the current officeholders. It is much cheaper and less complicated[12] to seek support from voters in a smaller area. Smaller government agencies can also make better use of local knowledge[13] about geography or historical traditions to govern people in ways that fit their needs. People gathered in a village in India A village council meeting in India. Shagil Kannur via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA[14][15] There are some drawbacks, too: Some regions may have laws and rules that expand business opportunities or protect the environment – while other regions may have fewer business regulations or more damaged landscapes. Problems like that can mean people who live near one another – but in different states – have unequal qualities of life[16]. And sometimes provincial governments can slow the progress of major national initiatives[17] meant to benefit everyone. But most countries seem to have decided that the positives outweigh the negatives. And in fact, they’ve gone even deeper into federalism. Beyond states and provinces, there are many even smaller units of government. In the U.S., states are made up of counties, which are in turn made up of towns, cities or other municipal governments. There are many more thousands of these – the Database of Global Administrative Areas tallies 386,735[18]. Brazil alone has 5,570 municipalities[19]. India has 250,671 village councils[20], called “gram panchayats.” But even those are divided into smaller districts[21] called “wards,” each of which votes for its own council member. If you want some more fun, try looking for the flags[22] of each of these subnational governments! Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com[23]. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live. And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.

References

  1. ^ Curious Kids (theconversation.com)
  2. ^ curiouskidsus@theconversation.com (theconversation.com)
  3. ^ data from specific nations’ own information (en.wikipedia.org)
  4. ^ CIA World Factbook (www.cia.gov)
  5. ^ International Standards Organization (en.wikipedia.org)
  6. ^ 195 national governments recognized by the United Nations (www.un.org)
  7. ^ nine other places (www.cia.gov)
  8. ^ Slovenia has the most, with 212 (www.cia.gov)
  9. ^ federalism (www.forumfed.org)
  10. ^ more to their liking (doi.org)
  11. ^ try different approaches (www.gsb.stanford.edu)
  12. ^ much cheaper and less complicated (ftw.fraserinstitute.org)
  13. ^ make better use of local knowledge (ftw.fraserinstitute.org)
  14. ^ Shagil Kannur via Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org)
  15. ^ CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org)
  16. ^ unequal qualities of life (doi.org)
  17. ^ slow the progress of major national initiatives (repository.upenn.edu)
  18. ^ Database of Global Administrative Areas tallies 386,735 (gadm.org)
  19. ^ 5,570 municipalities (www.paho.org)
  20. ^ India has 250,671 village councils (search.oecd.org)
  21. ^ divided into smaller districts (www.pria.org)
  22. ^ looking for the flags (www.crwflags.com)
  23. ^ CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com (theconversation.com)

Authors: Vasabjit Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Mississippi State University

Read more https://theconversation.com/how-many-states-and-provinces-are-in-the-world-157847

Metropolitan republishes selected articles from The Conversation USA with permission

Visit The Conversation to see more

Entertainment News

My Musical Journey – Zarbo

People call me Zarbo. I call myself an artist/producer currently focused on creating catchy electronic dance music and exploring new genres that didn’t exist at the beginning of my musical career in the ‘70’s.  I am the original founding member, fr...

Alex Zarbo - avatar Alex Zarbo

News Company asked some Music Industry “Insiders” their thoughts on the current state and future of “Real Music”

To get a feel for the current state of the music industry, NewsCo asked some insiders to share their thoughts. Here is what they had to say. Real Music, to me, means music created by real instruments where you can hear the bow go across the fiddle o...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Navigating the Gender Gap, Part 2 For Women: How to Work with Men in Music

After comparing notes with some of my female music friends, I’ve come up with some pointers for women about working with male colleagues. As I mentioned in my previous article, “How to Work with Women in Music,” these guidelines are based on per...

Angela Predhomme - avatar Angela Predhomme

The Making Of “ Birkenhead Drill”

The process of self producing a full length album in the middle of a pandemic has been an unending lesson in humility, but it’s also affirmed our love of music and more importantly the music we make together. The journey of Birkenhead Drill taught ...

The Jones Title - avatar The Jones Title

A Healing Power of Rap and Rock

What do Jay-Z, Rick Ruben, Neil Diamond, Snoop Dogg, Chago G. Williams, and Toto’s Steve Lukather have in common?  They can be combined into Six Degrees of Inclusion (not separation per-se).   They all have millions of fans and they have all hugely...

Rebecca DGD - avatar Rebecca DGD

Gold selling and Platinum Award Winning Recording Artist Ny'a, giving back to her community

Gold selling and Platinum Award Winning Recording Artist Ny'a, will be Live in concert on Sessions Livestream, Saturday April 24th at 7:00pm EST. Tickets are $5 dollars, with a donation going to Rahway Food For Friends. Ny'a believe in giving back ...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Metropolitan Business News

4 Creative suggestions for your first business card

Almost all businesses nowadays have a business card. Business cards are important to easily showcase your brand, yourself, and your business. However, not all business cards are made the same. Som...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

WHEN WORLDWIDE BUSINESS BUILDING POWERHOUSE ASHLEY ANN SPEAKS, LIVES CHANGE

Ask any of her thousands of global followers - especially the 11,000-plus who’ve learned to monetize their social media, and the 700-plus who’ve created six figure incomes – and they’ll be happy to ...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Why Creativity Is So Important In Digital Marketing

The Role of Creativity in Digital Marketing's Future  As marketers, one of the key tasks is to be creative and look for ways to generate demand and interest in our services and products. Creati...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Essential Tips for Developing Corporate Websites

The corporate industry, just like the others, is experiencing a massive technological revolution. Organizations have changed their marketing criteria by embracing the internet. Therefore, do not be ...

News Co - avatar News Co

How to Make a Personal Injury Claim for Minors

As a parent, you want to make sure your child is always safe. But as much as you want to keep him under your watch, it is impossible to be there for him all the time. When he is out there attendin...

News Co - avatar News Co

Dress for Success - Style Essentials for Every Businessmen

Did you ever glance at a person in passing and instantly think, “Wow, they must be successful”? It seems like the rich and successful people always stand out from the crowd without even trying, ...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Writers Wanted


News Co Media

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion