|Counties of Nova Scotia|
|Location||Province of Nova Scotia|
|Populations||7,089 (Victoria) – 403,390 (Halifax)|
|Areas||1,244.24 km² (Richmond) – 5,495.71 km² (Halifax)|
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has a historical system of 18 counties that originally had appointed court systems to administer local governance prior to the establishment of elected local governments in 1879. The historical counties continue as census divisions used by Statistics Canada for statistical purposes in administering the Canadian census.
Prior to the establishment of rural municipalities in the form of county municipalities and district municipalities in 1879, local government within these historical counties was administered by appointed courts of sessions including justices appointed by the Crown with support from local proprietors selected to grand juries.  These courts of sessions met "in the counties to hear cases, make regulations, authorize assessments, and appoint local officers."  On April 17, 1879, the original non-elected courts of sessions were abolished in favour of elected councils when The County Incorporation Act came into force, which stated
The Inhabitants of every County and Sessional District in this Province ... shall be a body corporate under the name of the Municipality of the respective county or district, as the case may (be), ... 
As a result, 12 county municipalities were established, while the remaining 6 counties, which were previously divided into districts for court sessional purposes, were established as district municipalities.  Today, 9 of the original 12 remain incorporated as county municipalities, with 3 eventually becoming regional municipalities in 1995 and 1996,  while Statistics Canada uses all 18 historical counties as census divisions for statistical purposes in the Canadian census.  County municipalities and district municipalities provide local government to the residents of the historical counties living outside of incorporated towns and regional municipalities.  
|County ||County seat ||Established||Organization of county||Population|
|Annapolis||Annapolis Royal||1759||County municipality||20,591||20,756||−0.8%||3,188.48||6.5/km2|
|Cape Breton a||Sydney||1765||Regional municipality||98,722||101,619||−2.9%||2,470.60||40.0/km2|
|Halifax b||Halifax||1759||Regional municipality||465,721||448,544||+3.8%||5,495.71||73.4/km2|
|Inverness||Port Hood||1835||County municipality||17,235||17,947||−4.0%||3,830.40||4.5/km2|
|Queens c||Liverpool||1762||Regional municipality||10,351||10,960||−5.6%||2,398.63||4.3/km2|
a county boundaries coincident with those of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
b county boundaries coincident with those of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
c county boundaries coincident with those of the Region of Queens Municipality.
A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate.
Hants County is an historical county and census division of Nova Scotia, Canada. Local government is provided by the West Hants Regional Municipality, and the Municipality of the District of East Hants.
Cape Breton County is one of eighteen counties in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located on Cape Breton Island.
Guysborough County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Halifax County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The Municipality of the County of Halifax was the municipal government of Halifax County, apart from the separately incorporated towns and cities therein. The Municipality was dissolved in 1996, together with those town and city governments, in their amalgamation into Halifax Regional Municipality.
Lunenburg County is an historical county and census division on the South Shore of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Major settlements include Bridgewater, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay.
Richmond County is an historical county and census division of Nova Scotia, Canada. Local government is provided by the Municipality of the County of Richmond.
Shelburne County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Yarmouth County is a rural county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It has both traditional Anglo-Scottish and Acadian French culture as well as significant inland wilderness areas, including over 365 lakes and several major rivers. It comprises three municipalities: the Town of Yarmouth, the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, and the Municipality of the District of Argyle.
The census geographic units of Canada are the census subdivisions defined and used by Canada's federal government statistics bureau Statistics Canada to conduct the country's quinquennial census. These areas exist solely for the purposes of statistical analysis and presentation; they have no government of their own. They exist on four levels: the top-level (first-level) divisions are Canada's provinces and territories; these are divided into second-level census divisions, which in turn are divided into third-level census subdivisions and fourth-level dissemination areas.
A district municipality is a designation for a class of municipalities found in several locations, including Canada, Lithuania, and South Africa.
A municipal district is an administrative entity comprising a clearly-defined territory and its population. It can refer to a city, a town, a village, a small grouping of them, or a rural area.
The Municipality of the District of Chester is a Nova Scotia district municipality occupying the northeastern half of Lunenburg County, Canada.
The Municipality of the County of Antigonish is a county municipality in Nova Scotia, Canada. It provides local government to the eponymous historical county, except for the Town of Antigonish, and two reserves: Pomquet and Afton 23, and Summerside 38. In the Canada 2016 Census the county had a population of 19,301, a change of -1.5% from its 2011 population of 19,589.
Canada has a total of 3,573 municipalities among its 10 provinces and 3 territories that are subject to some form of local government.
A rural municipality is a classification of municipality, a type of local government, found in several countries.
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia is divided into 49 municipalities, of which there are three types: regional (4), town (25), and county or district municipality (20).