A total of 41 counties (Romanian: județe), along with the municipality of Bucharest, constitute the official administrative divisions of Romania. They represent the country's NUTS-3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics – Level 3) statistical subdivisions within the European Union and each of them serves as the local level of government within its borders. Most counties are named after a major river, while some are named after notable cities within them, such as the county seat.
|Counties of Romania |
Romanian: Județele României
|Number||41 (as of 1995)|
|Populations||193,355 (TL) – 760,774 (IS)/1,716,983 (B)|
|Areas||228 km2 (88 sq mi) (B)/1,583 km2 (611 sq mi) (IF) – 8,697 km2 (3,358 sq mi) (TM)|
The earliest organization into județe of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia (where they were termed ținuturi) dates back to at least the late 14th century. For most of the time since modern Romania was formed in 1859, the administrative division system has been similar to that of the French departments. The system has since changed several times and the number of counties has varied over time, from the 71 județe that existed before World War II to only 39 after 1968. The current format has largely been in place since 1968 as only small changes have been made since then, the last of which was in 1997.
According to the 2021 census data from the National Institute of Statistics, the average population of Romania's 41 counties is about 423,000, with Iași County as the most populous (760,000) and Tulcea County (193,000) the least. The average county's land area is 5,809 square kilometres (2,243 sq mi), with Timiș County (8,697 square kilometres (3,358 sq mi)) the largest and Ilfov County (1,583 square kilometres (611 sq mi)) the smallest. The municipality of Bucharest, which has the same administrative level as that of a county, is both more populous and much smaller than any county, with 1,716,983 people and 228 square kilometres (88 sq mi).
The earliest organization into județe (for Wallachia), and ținuturi (for Moldavia), dates back at least to the late 14th century.[note 1] Inspired from the organization of the late Byzantine Empire, each județ was ruled by a jude (or pârcălab for a ținut), a person officially appointed with administrative and judicial functions. Transylvania was divided into royal counties headed by comes (royal counts) with administrative and judicial functions.
After modern Romania was formed in 1859 through the union of Wallachia and the rump of Moldavia, the administrative division was modernized using the French administrative system as a model, with județ as the basic administrative unit. Aside from the 1950–1968 period, this system has remained in place until today. Since 1864, for each județ there exists a prefect, a subordinate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and representative of the government inside the county; he is also the head of local administration for areas not delegated to local authorities. Until 1948, each județ was further divided into several plăși, each administered by a pretor.
After the adoption of a new Constitution in 1923, the traditional local administrative systems of the newly acquired regions of Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia were made uniform in 1925 with that of the Romanian Old Kingdom. County borders were kept largely intact, with few adjustments, and the total number of counties was raised to 71; this lasted until the beginning of World War II.
In 1938, King Carol II modified the law on the administration of the Romanian territory according to the fascist model. Ten ținuturi (approx. translation "lands") were created, ruled by Rezidenți Regali (Royal Residents), appointed directly by the Monarch. The ținuturi represented another layer of administration between counties and the country, as the county borders were not erased.
Due to the territorial changes during World War II, this style of administration did not last, and the administration at the județ level was reintroduced after the war. Between 1941 and 1944, Romania administered the territory between the Dniester and Southern Bug rivers known as Transnistria, which consisted of 13 separate counties.
After taking over the administration of the country in 1945, the Communist Party changed the administrative model to that of the Soviet Union (regions and raions) in 1950, but changed it back in 1968. Nevertheless, the county borders set then were quite different from those present during the interbellum, as only 39 counties were formed from the 56 remaining after the war.
In 1981, Giurgiu and Călărași were split from Ialomița and the former county of Ilfov, while in 1997, Ilfov County, which had been a dependency of the municipality of Bucharest for nearly two decades, was reinstated. The county borders set in 1968 are still largely in place today, but the functions of different authorities have changed due to administrative reforms in the 1990s.
At present, Romania is divided into 41 counties and one municipality (Bucharest); these are assigned as the NUTS-3 geocode statistical subdivision scheme of Romania within the European Union. Each of the counties is further divided into cities (some of which have municipality status) and communes. The prefect and his administration have executive prerogatives within the county limits, while limited legislative powers are assigned to a County Council elected every four years during local elections. The territorial districts of the Romanian judicial system overlap with county borders, thus avoiding further complication in the separation of powers on the government.
Current list edit
|CoA||County||County seat||Name origin
(December 1, 2021)
||Alba Iulia||Alba Iulia||Center||AB||51||58||RO121||325,941||6,250 km2 (2,410 sq mi)|
|Arad||Arad||county seat||West||AR||31||57||RO421||410,143||7,746 km2 (2,991 sq mi)|
|Argeș||Pitești||Argeș River||South-Muntenia||AG||11||48||RO311||569,932||6,822 km2 (2,634 sq mi)|
|Bacău||Bacău||county seat||North-East||BC||60||34||RO211||601,387||6,622 km2 (2,557 sq mi)|
|Bihor||Oradea||Biharia commune||North-West||BH||41||59||RO111||551,297||7,539 km2 (2,911 sq mi)|
|Bistrița-Năsăud||Bistrița||Bistrița River and Năsăud city||North-West||BN||42||63||RO112||295,988||5,358 km2 (2,069 sq mi)|
|Botoșani||Botoșani||county seat||North-East||BT||71||31||RO212||392,821||4,987 km2 (1,925 sq mi)|
|Brașov||Brașov||county seat||Center||BV||50||68||RO122||546,615||5,361 km2 (2,070 sq mi)|
|Brăila||Brăila||county seat||South-East||BR||81||39||RO221||281,452||4,766 km2 (1,840 sq mi)|
|Bucharest[note 7]||last name Bucur||Bucharest-Ilfov||B||01–06
|RO321||1,716,983||240 km2 (93 sq mi)|
|Buzău||Buzău||Buzău River||South-East||BZ||12||38||RO222||404,979||6,101 km2 (2,356 sq mi)|
|Caraș-Severin||Reșița||defunct Caraș and Severin Counties||West||CS||32||55||RO422||246,588||8,532 km2 (3,294 sq mi)|
|Călărași||Călărași||county seat||South-Muntenia||CL||91||42||RO312||283,458||5,087 km2 (1,964 sq mi)|
|Cluj||Cluj-Napoca||county seat||North-West||CJ||40||64||RO113||679,141||6,672 km2 (2,576 sq mi)|
|Constanța||Constanța||county seat||South-East||CT||90||41||RO223||655,997||7,104 km2 (2,743 sq mi)|
|Covasna||Sfântu Gheorghe||Covasna River||Center||CV||52||67||RO123||200,042||3,707 km2 (1,431 sq mi)|
|Dâmbovița||Târgoviște||Dâmbovița River||South-Muntenia||DB||13||45||RO313||479,404||4,056 km2 (1,566 sq mi)|
|Dolj||Craiova||Jiu River[note 10]||South-West Oltenia||DJ||20||51||RO411||599,442||7,425 km2 (2,867 sq mi)|
|Galați||Galați||county seat||South-East||GL||80||36||RO224||496,892||4,465 km2 (1,724 sq mi)|
|Giurgiu||Giurgiu||county seat||South-Muntenia||GR||08||46||RO314||262,066||3,544 km2 (1,368 sq mi)|
|Gorj||Târgu Jiu||Jiu River[note 11]||South-West Oltenia||GJ||21||53||RO412||314,684||5,572 km2 (2,151 sq mi)|
|Harghita||Miercurea Ciuc||Harghita Mountains||Center||HR||53||66||RO124||291,950||6,637 km2 (2,563 sq mi)|
|Hunedoara||Deva||Hunedoara city||West||HD||33||54||RO423||361,657||7,072 km2 (2,731 sq mi)|
|Ialomița||Slobozia||Ialomița River||South-Muntenia||IL||92||43||RO315||250,816||4,455 km2 (1,720 sq mi)|
|Iași||Iași||county seat||North-East||IS||70||32||RO213||760,774||5,477 km2 (2,115 sq mi)|
|RO322||542,686||1,564 km2 (604 sq mi)|
|Maramureș||Baia Mare||Maramureș historical region||North-West||MM||43||62||RO114||452,475||6,303 km2 (2,434 sq mi)|
|Mehedinți||Drobeta-Turnu Severin||Mehadia commune||South-West Oltenia||MH||22||52||RO413||234,339||4,942 km2 (1,908 sq mi)|
|Mureș||Târgu Mureș||Mureș River||Center||MS||54||65||RO125||518,193||6,705 km2 (2,589 sq mi)|
|Neamț||Piatra Neamț||Neamț River||North-East||NT||61||33||RO214||454,203||5,897 km2 (2,277 sq mi)|
|Olt||Slatina||Olt River||South-West Oltenia||OT||23||49||RO414||383,280||5,503 km2 (2,125 sq mi)|
|Prahova||Ploiești||Prahova River||South-Muntenia||PH||10||44||RO316||695,117||4,715 km2 (1,820 sq mi)|
|Satu Mare||Satu Mare||county seat||North-West||SM||44||61||RO115||330,668||4,420 km2 (1,710 sq mi)|
|Sălaj||Zalău||Sălaj River||North-West||SJ||45||60||RO116||212,224||3,867 km2 (1,493 sq mi)|
|Sibiu||Sibiu||county seat||Center||SB||55||69||RO126||388,325||5,432 km2 (2,097 sq mi)|
|Suceava||Suceava||Suceava River||North-East||SV||72||30||RO215||642,551||8,553 km2 (3,302 sq mi)|
|Teleorman||Alexandria||Teleorman River||South-Muntenia||TR||14||47||RO317||323,544||5,788 km2 (2,235 sq mi)|
|Timiș||Timișoara||Timiș River||West||TM||30||56||RO424||650,533||8,692 km2 (3,356 sq mi)|
|Tulcea||Tulcea||county seat||South-East||TL||82||40||RO225||193,355||8,484 km2 (3,276 sq mi)|
|Vaslui||Vaslui||Vaslui River||North-East||VS||73||35||RO216||374,700||5,317 km2 (2,053 sq mi)|
|Vâlcea||Râmnicu Vâlcea||medieval county of Vîlcea[note 12]||South-West Oltenia||VL||24||50||RO415||341,861||5,764 km2 (2,225 sq mi)|
|Vrancea||Focșani||medieval county of Vrancha[note 13]||South-East||VN||62||37||RO226||335,312||4,854 km2 (1,874 sq mi)|
See also edit
- Județ originates from the Latin judicium and ținut probably from the Latin tenutum.
- Most of the names of the present counties originate from one of the larger rivers that flow through the county. In a number of cases, the name of the county seat or another large city in the county is the same as that river.
- These are the ISO 3166-2:RO codes which coincide with the license plate ones; they are also used as usual abbreviations, such as in mailing addresses.
- The postal code format is of the type xxyzw, with xx being the numbers associated with the county; the digits y, z, and w indicate the city, the street, part of the street, or even the building of the address.
- Landline phone numbers are of the type +40-abb-xxx-xxx, where 40 is the country code, bb is the area code, and a is a digit indicating the operator: 2 for the former national operator, Romtelecom, and 3 for the other ground telephone networks. Mobile phone numbers, however, only start with the digit 7 (for a) and do not follow county borders.
- The development region code follows the format ROxyz, where x is the macroregion number, y represents the development region and is either 1 or 2, and z is the county number within the region.
- Bucharest is not a county, but a municipality that has an identical administrative status to all the other 41 counties.
- Due to Bucharest's significantly larger population, it has a different postal code for each of its six sectors.
- Bucharest and Ilfov county have the same code. Due to their large population, phone numbers have only the suffix "1" (unlike two-digit suffixes for counties) followed by seven digits (only six digits for anywhere else).
- Dolj is a shortened form of Dolu (Slavic for "valley") Jiu, in reference to the county's location in the lower part of Jiu river.
- Gorj is a shortened form of Gora (Slavic for "mountain") Jiu, in reference to the county's location in the upper part of Jiu river.
- Vâlcea is the Romanian word for a narrow valley.
- Vran is a substratum word believed to mean "forest" or "mountain".
- "Primele atestari documentare ale judetului Valcea (First Historical Mentions of Vâlcea County)" (in Romanian). National Institute of Statistics (Romania). Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
- Cornel Șomâcu (2009-09-09). "De la sat la județ în istoria Olteniei (From Village to County in the History of Oltenia)" (in Romanian). Vertical. ISSN 1841-6063. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Cosmin Dariescu (2008). "21: Organizarea administrativ-teritorială a Țării Românești și a Moldovei în evul mediu (21: Administrative Divisions in Wallachia and Moldavia in the Middle Ages)". Istoria statului și dreptului românesc din antichitate până la Marea Unire (History of Romanian State and Law from Antiquity until the Unification) (in Romanian). C.H. Beck. pp. 47–51. ISBN 978-973-115-337-7.
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- Ioan Scurtu; Theodora Stănescu-Stanciu; Georgiana Margareta Scurtu (2002). "8.7. Decret-lege pentru reforma electorală (Law Decree for electoral reform)". Istoria românilor între anii 1918–1940 (The History of the Romanians in 1918–1940) (in Romanian). University of Bucharest. Archived from the original on 2015-03-22. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
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Primele date provizorii pentru Recensământul Populației și Locuințelor, runda 2021 (PDF) (Report) (in Romanian). National Institute of Statistics (Romania). 2022. p. 8. Retrieved 2023-05-28.
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