Administrative divisions of Poland

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The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats (counties or districts), and these in turn are divided into gminas (communes or municipalities). Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats (including 66 cities with powiat status), and 2,478 gminas. [1]


The current system was introduced pursuant to a series of acts passed by the Polish parliament in 1998, and came into effect on 1 January 1999. Previously (in the period from 1975 to 1998) there had been 49 smaller voivodeships, and no powiats (see subdivisions of the Polish People's Republic). The reform created 16 larger voivodeships (largely based on and named after historical regions) and reintroduced powiats.

The boundaries of the voivodeships do not always reflect the historical borders of Polish regions. Around half of the Silesian Voivodeship belongs to the historical province of Lesser Poland. Similarly, the area around Radom, which historically is part of Lesser Poland, is located in the Masovian Voivodeship. Also, the Pomeranian Voivodeship includes only the eastern extreme of historical Pomerania, as the western part is in Germany and the eastern border has shifted again and again.

Division of Poland into voivodeships and powiats (2007) POLSKA mapa woj z powiatami.png
Division of Poland into voivodeships and powiats (2007)


Poland is currently divided into 16 provinces known as voivodeships (Polish : województwa, singular województwo). Legally they are called "units of I rate" (jednostki I stopnia). Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a central government-appointed governor, called the voivode (usually a political appointee), an elected assembly called the sejmik, and an executive board (zarząd województwa) chosen by that assembly. The leader of that executive is called the marszałek.

#VoivodeshipPolish nameCapital city (cities)
1 Greater Poland wielkopolskie Poznań
2 Kuyavia-Pomerania kujawsko-pomorskie Bydgoszcz and Toruń
3 Lesser Poland małopolskie Kraków
4 Łódź łódzkie Łódź
5 Lower Silesia dolnośląskie Wrocław
6 Lublin lubelskie Lublin
7 Lubusz lubuskie Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zielona Góra
8 Masovia mazowieckie Warsaw
9 Opole opolskie Opole
10 Podlaskie podlaskie Białystok
11 Pomerania pomorskie Gdańsk
12 Silesia śląskie Katowice
13 Subcarpathia podkarpackie Rzeszów
14 Holy Cross Province świętokrzyskie Kielce
15 Warmia-Masuria warmińsko-mazurskie Olsztyn
16 West Pomerania zachodniopomorskie Szczecin


Each voivodeship is divided into a number of smaller entities known as powiats (counties), which are legally "units of II rate" (jednostki II stopnia). The number of powiats per voivodeship ranges from 12 (Opole Voivodeship) to 42 (Masovian Voivodeship). They include two types of administrative divisions:


The "units of III rate" (jednostki III stopnia) are 2477 gminas (also called commune or municipality). A powiat is typically divided into a number of gminas (between 3 and 19), although the city counties constitute single gminas. A gmina has an elected council as well as a directly elected mayor (known as prezydent in large towns, burmistrz in most urban and urban-rural gminas, and wójt in rural gminas). A gmina may be classed as:

Smaller units

Gminas are generally sub-divided into smaller units, called osiedle or dzielnica in towns, and sołectwo in rural areas. However, these units are of lesser importance and are subordinate in status to the gmina.

Historical subdivisions

Polish territory has been subject to significant changes over the course of Polish history. Therefore, the modern Polish administrative division, while on some levels similar to some historical ones, is quite different from others. Historical Polish administrative divisions can be divided into the following periods:

See also

Cultural and economic:

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  1. "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial division in 2017. As of December, 31" (PDF) (in Polish). Główny Urząd Statystyczny (Central Statistical Office). Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  2., ideo- (2019-04-27). "Gminy wiejskie chcą lepszej ochrony swych granic". (in Polish). Retrieved 2021-02-15.