Administrative divisions of Yemen

  (Redirected from Historic Governorates of Yemen)
A map of Yemen's Governates and Districts

The administrative division of Yemen is divided into two main divisions (governorates and districts). There are 22 governorates, including the capital Sana'a (Amanat Al Asima) and Socotra Archipelago. The 22 Governorates are then divided into 333 districts, subdivided into 2,210 sub-districts, and then into 38,284 villages (as of 2001).

Throughout history, Yemen has been divided into several administrative divisions. In the Ottoman era, the Yemen Vilayet (from Arabic ولاية wilayah) was divided into sanjaks (also called livas). Sanjaks were further subdivided into kazas. During the reign of the Mutawakkillite Kingdom of Yemen, some of the elements were integrated into a new division. These divisions were also used by the later Yemen Arab Republic with minor adjustments.

According to the outputs of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference, Yemen was expected to be divided in late 2014 into six provinces: 'Azal, Al-Janad, Tihama, Hadhramaut, Saba, and Aden.

Administrative divisionsEdit

There are two main administrative divisions in Yemen: governorates and districts.

  1. Governorates (Arabic: محافظة muhafazah) are the highest administrative division in Yemen. Yemen is divided into twenty-one governorates and one municipality.
  2. Districts (Arabic: مديرية madiria) are the second administrative division in Yemen. Each governorate in Yemen is split into a number of districts for a total of 333 districts in Yemen.

The remaining administrative divisions are separate for urban and rural areas.

Administrative divisions in urban areas are as follows.

  1. Cities (Arabic: مدن mudun) are an administrative division in Yemen, defined as being the seats of governorates and/or districts. They tend to have a substantial population and a variety of services.
  2. Neighborhoods (Arabic: حي hayy) are the fourth-level administrative division in Yemen's urban areas. It consists of multiple adjacent blocks, the amount varying from neighborhood to neighborhood.
  3. Blocks (Arabic: حارة hara) are the lowest-level administrative division in urban areas. They are defined as groups of adjacent buildings surrounded by a group of streets to separate them from other blocks.

Administrative divisions in rural areas are as follows.

  1. 'Uzal (Arabic: عزلة 'uzlah) are the next-level administrative division following districts in Yemen's rural areas. They are filled with villages. There are about 2,210 'uzal in Yemen.
  2. Villages (Arabic: قرية qariyya) are a fourth-level administrative division in Yemen. They are clustered settlements, similar to towns. They may range in size from only a couple houses to sizable communities. They also typically include shops and fields for agriculture. There are roughly 40,000 villages in Yemen.


Governorates of Yemen
Key Division Capital city Population
2004 census[1]
2006 est.[2]
1 'Adan Aden 589,419 634,710
2 'Amran 'Amran 877,786 909,992
3 Abyan Zinjibar 433,819 454,535
4 Ad Dali Ad Dali' 470,564 504,533
5 Al Bayda' Al Bayda' 577,369 605,303
6 Al Hudaydah Al Hudaydah 2,157,552 2,300,179
7 Al Jawf Al Jawf 443,797 465,737
8 Al Mahrah Al Ghaydah 88,594 96,768
9 Al Mahwit Al Mahwit 494,557 523,236
10 Amanat Al Asimah Sana'a 1,747,834 1,947,139
11 Dhamar Dhamar 1,330,108 1,412,142
12 Hadramaut Mukalla 1,028,556 1,092,967
13 Hajjah Hajjah 1,479,568 1,570,872
14 Ibb Ibb 2,131,861 2,238,537
15 Lahij Lahij 722,694 761,160
16 Ma'rib Ma'rib 238,522 251,668
17 Raymah Raymah 394,448 418,659
18 Sa'dah Sa`dah 695,033 746,957
19 Sana'a Sana'a 919,215 957,798
20 Shabwah Ataq 470,440 494,638
21 Ta'izz Ta`izz 2,393,425 2,513,003
22 Socotra[3] Hadibu 1) 1)

1) Soqatra Governorate created in December 2013 from parts of Hadramaut, data included there

Historical subdivisionsEdit

Yemen became a unified country in May 1990 after the merger of the northern "Yemen Arab Republic" (North Yemen) and the southern "People's Democratic Republic of Yemen" (South Yemen).

Governorates of South YemenEdit

Following independence, South Yemen was divided into six governorates (Arabic: muhafazat), with roughly natural boundaries, each given a Roman numeral.

Numeral Name Approximate area (km.²) Capital
I 'Adan 6,980 Aden
II Lahij 12,766 Lahij
III Abyan 21,489 Zinjibar
IV Shabwah 73,908 Ataq
V Hadhramawt 155,376 Mukalla
VI al-Mahra 66,350 Al Ghaydah

Provinces of North YemenEdit

Until 1980, North Yemen was split into governorates. In 1980, the country was reorganized into eight provinces (Arabic: liwa).

Name Approximate area (km.²)
Al-Bayda' 15,000
Al-Hudaydah 35,000
Hajjah 17,000
Ibb 13,000
Rida' 10,000
Sa`dah 18,000
San`a' 80,000
Ta`izz 12,000


  1. ^ Central Statistical Organisation of Yemen. General Population Housing and Establishment Census 2004 Final Results [1] Archived 2013-05-21 at the Wayback Machine, Statistic Yearbook 2005 of Yemen [2] Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Statistic Yearbook 2006 of Yemen
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)