Administrative divisions of Myanmar

Myanmar is divided into twenty-one administrative subdivisions, which include 7 regions, 7 states, 1 union territory, 1 self-administered division, and 5 self-administered zones. Following is the table of government subdivisions and its organizational structure based on different regions, states, the union territory, the self-administered division, and the self-administered zones:

TypeBurmese nameNo. of div.
IPA: [táɪɰ̃ dèθa̰ dʑí]
taìñ deithác̱ì
IPA: [pjìnɛ̀]
Union Territoryပြည်ထောင်စုနယ်မြေ
IPA: [pjìdàʊɰ̃zṵnɛ̀mjè]
ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရ တိုင်း
IPA: [kòbàɪɰ̃ ʔoʊʔtɕʰoʊʔ kʰwɪ̰ɰ̃ja̰ táɪɰ̃]
koup̱aiñ ouʔhcouʔ hkwíñyá taìñ
IPA: [kòbàɪɰ̃ ʔoʊʔtɕʰoʊʔ kʰwɪ̰ɰ̃ja̰ dèθa̰]
koup̱aiñ ouʔhcouʔ hkwíñyá deithá

Administrative divisions of Myanmar
A clickable map of Burma/Myanmar exhibiting its first-level administrative divisions.
CategoryUnitary state
Number7 regions, 7 states, 1 union territory, 1 self-administered division, and 5 self-administered zones (as of 2015)
Populations286,627 (Kayah State) - 7,360,703 (Yangon Region)
Areas7,054 km2 (2,724 sq mi) (Naypyidaw Union Territory) - 155,801 km2 (60,155 sq mi) (Shan State)

The regions were called divisions prior to August 2010,[1] and four of them are named after their capital city, the exceptions being Sagaing Region, Ayeyarwady Region and Tanintharyi Region. The regions can be described as ethnically predominantly Burman (Bamar), while the states, the zones and Wa Division are dominated by ethnic minorities.

Yangon Region has the largest population and is the most densely populated. The smallest population is Kayah State. In terms of land area, Shan State is the largest and Naypyidaw Union Territory is the smallest.

Regions and states are divided into districts (ခရိုင်; kha yaing or khayaing, IPA: [kʰəjàɪɴ]). These districts consist of townships (မြို့နယ်; myo-ne, IPA: [mjo̰nɛ̀]) that include towns (မြို့; myo, IPA: [mjo̰]), wards (ရပ်ကွက်; yatkwet, IPA: [jaʔ kwɛʔ])) and village tracts (ကျေးရွာအုပ်စု; kyayywa oksu, IPA: [tɕé jwà ʔoʊʔ sṵ]). Village tracts are groups of adjacent villages (ကျေးရွာ; kyayywa, IPA: [tɕé jwà]).

Structural hierarchy

Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Union Territory
Village tract
Self-Administered Division
Self-Administered Zone
  • Some townships are divided into Subtownships (မြို့နယ်ခွဲ), which are semi-official parts of a township administered separately. Many reports will use subtownships, especially more established subtownships used by the main townships themselves.

Administrative divisions

Regions, States and Union Territory

Flag NameBurmeseCapital ISO Region Pop.
Ayeyarwady Region ဧရာဝတီတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Pathein MM-07 South 6,184,829[2] 35,031.8
Bago Region ပဲခူးတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Bago MM-02 South, Central 4,867,373[2] 39,402.3
Chin State ချင်းပြည်နယ် Hakha MM-14 North, West 478,801[2] 36,018.8
Kachin State ကချင်ပြည်နယ် Myitkyina MM-11 North 1,689,441[2] 89,041.8
Kayah State ကယားပြည်နယ် Loikaw MM-12 East 286,627[2] 11,731.5
Kayin State ကရင်ပြည်နယ် Hpa-an MM-13 South, East 1,574,079[2] 30,383
Magway Region မကွေးတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Magwe MM-03 Central 3,917,055[2] 44,820.6
Mandalay Region မန္တလေးတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Mandalay MM-04 Central 6,165,723[2] 37,945.6
Mon State မွန်ပြည်နယ် Mawlamyine MM-15 South 2,054,393[2] 12,296.6
Naypyidaw Union Territory နေပြည်တော် ပြည်ထောင်စုနယ်မြေ Naypyidaw MM-18 Central 1,160,242[2] 7,054
Rakhine State ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ် Sittwe MM-16 West 3,188,807[2] 36,778.0
Sagaing Region စစ်ကိုင်းတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Monywa MM-01 North, West 5,325,347[2] 93,704.8
Shan State ရှမ်းပြည်နယ် Taunggyi MM-17 North, East 5,824,432[2] 155,801.3
Tanintharyi Region တနင်္သာရီတိုင်းဒေသကြီး Dawei MM-05 South 1,408,401[2] 44,344.9
Yangon Region ရန်ကုန်တိုင်းဒေသကြီး Yangon MM-06 Central 7,360,703[2] 10,276.7

Self-Administered Division and Self-Administered Zones

Self-Administered Division and Self-Administered Zones
Flag NameBurmeseCapitalState Population
Danu Self-Administered Zone ဓနုကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ Pindaya Shan State 161,835
Kokang Self-Administered Zone ကိုးကန့်ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ Laukkai Shan State 123,733
Naga Self-Administered Zone နာဂကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ Lahe Sagaing Region 116,828
Pa Laung Self-Administered Zone ပလောင်းကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ Namhsan Shan State 110,805
Pa'O Self-Administered Zone ပအိုဝ့်ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ Hopong Shan State 380,427
Wa Self-Administered Division ဝကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရတိုင်း Hopang Shan State 558,000

System of administration

  States of Myanmar
  Regions of Myanmar

The administrative structure of the states, regions and self-administering bodies is outlined in the new constitution adopted in 2008.[3]

Regions and States

Executive authority is held in each state or region by a Regional or State Government consisting of a Chief Minister, other ministers and an Advocate General.[4] The President appoints the Chief Minister from a list of qualified candidates in the regional or state legislature; the regional or state legislature must approve the President's choice unless they can prove that he or she does not meet the constitutional qualifications.[4]

Legislative authority resides with the State Hluttaw or Regional Hluttaw made up of elected civilian members and representatives of the Armed Forces. Both divisions are considered equivalent, the only distinction being that states have large ethnic minority populations and regions are mostly populated by the national majority Burmans / Bamar.[5]

Naypyidaw Union Territory

The constitution states that Naypyidaw shall be a Union Territory under the direct administration of the President. Day-to-day functions would be carried out on the President's behalf by the Naypyidaw Council led by a Chairperson. The Chairperson and members of the Naypyidaw Council are appointed by the President and shall include civilians and representatives of the Armed Forces.

Self-Administered Division and Self-Administered Zones

Self-Administered Zones and Self-Administered Divisions are administered by a Leading Body. The Leading Body consists of at least ten members and includes State or Regional Hluttaw members elected from the Zones or Divisions and other members nominated by the Armed Forces. The Leading Body has both executive and legislative powers. A Chairperson is head of each Leading Body.

Within Sagaing Region:[6]

  • Naga (Leshi, Lahe, and Namyun townships)

Within Shan State:

Districts and Townships

Districts are the second-order divisions of Myanmar and are often named after a population center within the district of the same name. Shan State has the most districts, even excluding Self-Administered Zones and Divisions. Naypyidaw Union Territory and Mon State have the least with just 2 districts. The District's role is more supervisory as the 330 townships are the basic administrative unit of local governance and are the only type of administrative division that covers the entirety of Myanmar. A District is led by a District Administrator and a Township is administered by a Township Administrator. Both are appointed civil servants through the General Administration Department (GAD) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA). The Minister of Home Affairs is to be appointed by the military according to the 2008 constitution. [7]

Most local governance services are offered at the Township level; few services are offered at the District level. The Township Administrator is the key focal point for most interactions with the government and the Township Administrator serves as a representative of the State or Region government and executes functions on behalf of the State or Region.[7] All Township governments are staffed by 34 GAD civil servants regardless of population, although larger townships may have several Township committees that coordinate with the Township and report to the District.[8] Subtownships exist for many but not all townships. They can be created for many reasons including, townships with large areas, townships with a large natural barrier or townships with a lopsided population distribution. These subtownships are unofficial, but can be used by the Township administration and national ministries for data collection and administrative ease.

Wards, Village Tracts and Municipalities

The fourth and lowest level of administration is the ward for urban areas and village tract for rural areas. Some townships include areas not part of any ward or village tract. Village Tracts may contain up to 8 distinct villages. Most townships contain at least one ward/town, and are usually named after the population center. As of reforms in 2012 and 2013, Ward and Village Tract administrators are now typically elected, but report to the appointed Township Administrator. Ward Administrators and Village Tract Administrators (also called just Village Administrators) are supported by 100-household-heads and 10-household-heads who are collectively called area leaders.

Most cities in Myanmar are contained within one township like Pathein. In some cases, the rural portions of the township may be administered semi-independently as sub-townships.[9] In larger cities, like Mandalay, the municipality may be functionally administered at a district level with townships acting de facto as subdivisions of a city.[10] In Yangon, the administrative jurisdiction of the Yangon City Development Committee overlap across 33 townships and all 4 of Yangon Region's districts.[11]


British colonisation

In 1900, Burma was a province of British India, and was divided into two subdivisions: Lower Burma, whose capital was Rangoon with four divisions (Arakan, Irrawaddy, Pegu, Tenasserim), and Upper Burma, whose capital was Mandalay with six divisions (Meiktila, Minbu, Sagaing, North Federated Shan States and South Federated Shan States).

On 10 October 1922, the Karenni States of Bawlake, Kantarawaddy, and Kyebogyi became a part of the Federated Shan States. In 1940, Minbu division's name was changed to Magwe, and Meiktila Divisions became part of Mandalay District.


Upon independence, on 4 January 1948, the Chin Hills area was split from Arakan Division to form Chin Special Division, and Kachin State was formed by carving out the Myitkyina and Bhamo districts of Mandalay Division. Karen State was also created from Amherst, Thaton, and Toungoo Districts of Tenasserim Division. Karenni State was separated from the Federated Shan States, and Shan State was formed by merging the Federated Shan States and the Wa States.

In 1952, Karenni State was renamed Kayah State. In 1964, Rangoon Division was separated from Pegu Division, whose capital shifted to Pegu. In addition, Karen State was renamed Kawthoolei State.

In 1972, the Hanthawaddy and Hmawbi districts were moved under Rangoon Division's juridstiction.

In 1974, after Ne Win introduced a constitution, Chin Special Division became a state, and its capital moved from Falam to Hakha. Kawthoolei State's name was reverted to Karen State. Mon State was created out of portions of Tenasserim Division and Pegu Division. Mon State's capital became Moulmein, and Tenasserim Division's became Tavoy. In addition, Rakhine Division was granted statehood.

In 1989, after the coup d'état by the military junta, the names of many divisions in Burma were altered in English to reflect Burmese pronunciations.[12]

After 1995, in Kachin State Mohnyin District was created out of Myitkyina District as part of the peace agreement with the Kachin Independence Army.

2008 Constitution

The 2008 Constitution stipulates the renaming of the 7 "divisions" (တိုင်း in Burmese) as "regions" (တိုင်းဒေသကြီး[13] in Burmese). It also stipulates the creation of Union territories, which include the capital of Nay Pyi Taw and ethnic self-administered zones (ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရဒေသ[13] in Burmese) and self-administered divisions (ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရတိုင်း[13] in Burmese).[14] These self-administered regions include the following:

On 20 August 2010, the renaming of the 7 divisions and the naming of the 6 self-administered zones was announced by Burmese state media.[1]

See also


  1. "တိုင်းခုနစ်တိုင်းကို တိုင်းဒေသကြီးများအဖြစ် လည်းကောင်း၊ ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရ တိုင်းနှင့် ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရ ဒေသများ ရုံးစိုက်ရာ မြို့များကို လည်းကောင်း ပြည်ထောင်စုနယ်မြေတွင် ခရိုင်နှင့်မြို့နယ်များကို လည်းကောင်း သတ်မှတ်ကြေညာ". Weekly Eleven News (in Burmese). 20 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  2. The Union Report: Census Report Volume 2. The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census. Nay Pyi Taw: Ministry of Immigration and Population. 2015. p. 12.
  3. "Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. "Constitution of the Republican of the Union of Myanmar" (PDF). Minister of Information. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. "Myanmar's States and Regions – The Asia Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  6. "Ethnic Politics in Burma: The Time for Solutions". 14 February 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  7. UNDP (June 2015). Mapping the State of Local Governance in Myanmar: Background and Methodology (Report). United Nations.
  8. Arnold, Matthew; Ye Thu Aung; Kempel, Susanne; Kyi Pyar Chit Saw (July 2015). Municipal Governance in Myanamar: An Overview of Developmental Affairs Organisations (PDF) (Report). Asia Foundation.
  9. Pathein Township. မြို့နယ်အထွေထွေအုပ်ချုပ်ရေးဦးစီးဌာန ပုသိမ်မြို့နယ် ဒေသဆိုင်ရာအချက်လက်များ (Report). Myanmar Information Management Unit.
  10. "THE CITY OF MANDALAY DEVELOPMENT LAW (1992)" (PDF). State Law and Order Restoration Council Law. 29 December 1992. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  11. "Districts in Yangon Region" (PDF). Myanmar Information Management Unit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  12. "An Introduction to the Toponymy of Burma" The Permanent Committee of Geographic Names (PCGN), United Kingdom, October 2007, accessed 18 April 2010
  13. ပြည်ထောင်စုသမ္မတမြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော် ဖွဲ့စည်းပုံအခြေခံဥပဒေ (၂၀၀၈ ခုနှစ်) (in Burmese) [0]=1|2008 Constitution PDF Archived 1 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008)
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