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Northern Ireland is divided into 11 districts for local government purposes. In Northern Ireland, local councils do not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the United Kingdom; for example they have no responsibility for education, road-building or housing (although they do nominate members to the advisory Northern Ireland Housing Council). Their functions include planning, waste and recycling services, leisure and community services, building control and local economic and cultural development. The collection of rates is handled centrally by the Land and Property Services agency of the Northern Ireland Executive.
The 11 districts were established in 2015.   Basic geographical statistics are shown below; data collected for 'religion or religion brought up in' and 'national identity' by district are listed separately.[ where? ]
Previously (between 1972 and 2015) the country was divided into 26 smaller districts.
|District||Council||Meeting place||Population ||Density||Area km²||№ on map|
|Antrim and Newtownabbey||Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council||Newtownabbey and Antrim (alternately)||142,492||249||572||3|
|Ards and North Down||Ards and North Down Borough Council||Bangor||160,864||349||461||2|
|Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon||Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council||Craigavon||214,090||160||1,337||6|
|Belfast||Belfast City Council||Belfast||341,877||2,581||132||1|
|Causeway Coast and Glens||Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council||Coleraine ||144,246||73||1,980||8|
|Derry and Strabane||Derry City and Strabane District Council||Derry||150,679||122||1,238||10|
|Fermanagh and Omagh||Fermanagh and Omagh District Council||Omagh and Enniskillen ||116,835||41||2,857||11|
|Lisburn and Castlereagh||Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council||Lisburn ||144,381||286||505||4|
|Mid and East Antrim||Mid and East Antrim Borough Council||Ballymena ||138,773||133||1,046||7|
|Mid Ulster||Mid Ulster District Council||Dungannon ||147,392||81||1,827||9|
|Newry, Mourne and Down||Newry, Mourne and Down District Council||Downpatrick and Newry||180,012||110||1,633||5|
Based on the 2019 Northern Ireland local elections.
|Antrim and Newtownabbey||14||5||9||4||7||1||40|
|Ards and North Down||13||7||1||10||3||6||40|
|Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon||11||10||10||6||3||1||41|
|Causeway Coast and Glens||12||9||6||4||2||1||6||40|
|Derry City and Strabane||6||11||2||11||2||2||1||5||40|
|Fermanagh and Omagh||5||15||9||5||1||1||4||40|
|Lisburn and Castlereagh||14||2||11||3||9||1||40|
|Mid and East Antrim||16||2||6||1||7||5||3||40|
|Newry, Mourne and Down||5||16||2||11||3||1||3||41|
Last updated 14 February 2023
The current pattern of 11 local government districts was established on 1 April 2015, as a result of the reform process that started in 2005.
The previous pattern of local government in Northern Ireland, with 26 councils, was established in 1973 by the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 to replace the previous system established by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. The system was based on the recommendations of the Macrory Report, of June 1970, which presupposed the continued existence of the Government of Northern Ireland to act as a regional-level authority. 
From 1921 to 1973, Northern Ireland was divided into six administrative counties (subdivided into urban and rural districts) and two county boroughs. The counties and county boroughs continue to exist for the purposes of lieutenancy and shrievalty.  This system, with the abolition of rural districts, remains the model for local government in the Republic of Ireland. (See also List of rural and urban districts in Northern Ireland for more details)
Councillors are elected for a four-year term of office under the single transferable vote (STV) system. Elections were last held on 2 May 2019 and are next scheduled to be held on 4 May 2023. To qualify for election, a councillor candidate must be:
In addition, they must either:
The districts are combined for various purposes.
In the Eurostat Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), Northern Ireland is divided into five parts at level 3
|Name||Area||Population (2011)||% of population|
|UKN02||Outer Belfast||Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, North Down||391,560||21.6|
|UKN03||East||Antrim, Ards, Ballymena, Banbridge, Craigavon, Down, Larne||439,682||24.3|
|UKN04||North||Ballymoney, Coleraine, Derry, Limavady, Moyle, Strabane||288,138||15.9|
|UKN05||West and South||Armagh, Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Magherafelt, Newry and Mourne, Omagh||411,893||22.7|
There were five education and library boards (ELBs) in Northern Ireland.
As part of the Review of Public Administration process, the library functions of the ELBs were taken over by a new body, the Northern Ireland Library Authority (branded Libraries NI) in April 2009. 
The education and skills functions were centralised into a single Education Authority for Northern Ireland in April 2015. 
The boards were as follows:
|2.||North Eastern||Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newtownabbey|
|3.||South Eastern||Ards, Castlereagh, Down, Lisburn and North Down|
|4.||Southern||Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon and South Tyrone, Newry and Mourne|
|5.||Western||Derry, Fermanagh, Limavady, Omagh, Strabane|
There were four health and social services boards which were replaced by a single Health and Social Care Board in April 2009. 
The former health and social services boards were as follows:
|1.||Eastern||Ards, Belfast, Castlereagh, Down, Lisburn, North Down|
|2.||Northern||Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Cookstown, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newtownabbey|
|3.||Southern||Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon and South Tyrone, Newry and Mourne|
|4.||Western||Derry, Fermanagh, Limavady, Omagh, Strabane|
In June 2002, the Northern Ireland Executive established a Review of Public Administration to review the arrangements for the accountability, development, administration and delivery of public services. Among its recommendations were a reduction in the number of districts.  In 2005 Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced proposals to reduce the number of councils to seven.  The names and boundaries of the seven districts were announced in March 2007.  In March 2008 the restored Northern Executive agreed to create eleven new councils instead of the original seven.   The first elections were due to take place in May 2011. However, by May 2010 disagreements among parties in the executive over district boundaries were expected to delay the reforms until 2015.  In June 2010 the proposed reforms were abandoned following the failure of the Northern Ireland Executive to reach agreement.   However, on 12 March 2012, the Northern Ireland Executive published its programme for government, which included a commitment to reduce the number of councils in Northern Ireland to 11. 
The counties of Ireland are historic administrative divisions of the island into thirty-two units. They began as Norman structures, and as the powers exercised by the Cambro-Norman barons and the Old English nobility waned over time, new offices of political control came to be established at a county level.
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council was a local council in Northern Ireland from 1973 until 2015. It was originally named Dungannon District Council, gaining borough status and adding "South Tyrone" to its name on 25 November 1999, after petitioning the Secretary of State for the Environment. In May 2015, under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland it merged with Cookstown District Council and Magherafelt District Council to become Mid-Ulster District Council.
Castlereagh was a local government district with the status of borough in Northern Ireland. It merged with Lisburn City Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, with a small amount being transferred to Belfast City Council.
Newtownabbey Borough Council was a Local Authority in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, on the north shore of Belfast Lough just immediately north of Belfast. The Council merged with Antrim Borough Council in April 2015 under local government reform in Northern Ireland to form Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that established a system of local government in Ireland similar to that already created for England, Wales and Scotland by legislation in 1888 and 1889. The Act effectively ended landlord control of local government in Ireland.
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.
Armagh City and District Council was a district council in County Armagh in Northern Ireland. It merged with Banbridge District Council and Craigavon Borough Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council.
Coleraine Borough Council was a local council mainly in County Londonderry and partly in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It merged with Ballymoney Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and Moyle District Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Causeway Coast and Glens District Council
Cookstown District Council was a district council covering an area largely in County Tyrone and partly in County Londonderry. It merged with Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Magherafelt District Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Mid-Ulster District Council.
Craigavon Borough Council was a local council in counties Armagh, Down and Antrim, in Northern Ireland. It merged with Armagh City and District Council and Banbridge District Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council.
Larne Borough Council was a Local Council in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It merged with Ballymena Borough Council and Carrickfergus Borough Council in May 2015 under the reorganisation of local government in Northern Ireland to become Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The functions of local government in the Republic of Ireland are mostly exercised by thirty-one local authorities, termed County, City, or City and County Councils. The principal decision-making body in each of the thirty-one local authorities is composed of the members of the council, elected by universal franchise in local elections every five years from multi-seat local electoral areas using the single transferable vote. Many of the authorities' statutory functions are, however, the responsibility of ministerially appointed career officials termed Chief executives. The competencies of the city and county councils include planning, transport infrastructure, sanitary services, public safety and the provision of public libraries. Each local authority sends representatives to one of three Regional Assemblies.
The Local Government (Boundaries) Act 1971 was an Act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, passed in 1971 to replace the previous system of local authorities established by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. The system was based on the recommendations of the Macrory Report, of June 1970, which presupposed the continued existence of the Government of Northern Ireland to act as a regional-level authority.
The Northern Ireland Civil Service is the permanent bureaucracy of employees that supports the Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved government of Northern Ireland.
Antrim and Newtownabbey is a local government district in Northern Ireland. The district was created on 1 April 2015 by merging the Borough of Antrim with the Borough of Newtownabbey. The local authority is Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Reform of local government in Northern Ireland saw the replacement of the twenty-six districts created in 1973 with a smaller number of "super districts". The review process began in 2002, with proposals for either seven or eleven districts made before it was suspended in 2010. On 12 March 2012, the Northern Ireland Executive published its programme for government, which included a commitment to reduce the number of councils in Northern Ireland to 11. The first elections to these new councils were on 22 May 2014.
Antrim Borough Council was the local authority of Antrim in Northern Ireland. It merged with Newtownabbey Borough Council on 1 April 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Ballymena Borough Council was the local authority of Ballymena in Northern Ireland. It merged with Carrickfergus Borough Council and Larne Borough Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland to become Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The Local Government Reform Act 2014 is an act of the Oireachtas which provided for a major restructuring of local government in Ireland with effect from the 2014 local elections. It merged some first-tier county and city councils, abolished all second-tier town and borough councils, and created a new second tier of municipal districts covering rural as well as urban areas. It also provided for a plebiscite on whether to create a directly elected executive Mayor of the Dublin Metropolitan Area although this provision was not activated. The act was introduced as a bill on 15 October 2013 by Phil Hogan, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, and signed into law on 27 January 2014 by President Michael D. Higgins. Most of its provisions came into force on 1 June 2014.