A village is a human settlement commonly found in rural areas. It is usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town or city. Villages have been the normal unit of community living in most areas of the world throughout its history, up until the Industrial revolution and the ongoing process of urbanization. In many U.S. states, a village is a type of municipal government (see below).


Traditional villages

Although many types and organizational patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defense, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.


In England the main historical distinction between a hamlet and a village is that the latter will have a church, and will therefore usually have been the worship centre of a parish. A village was traditionally distinguished from a town in that a village lacked a regular agricultural market, although today such markets are uncommon even in settlements which clearly are towns.

The largest village in England

There are regular claims by various settlements to be the largest village in England. This is, in effect, a meaningless accolade as there is no legal meaning to the term "village" in England, and so anyone may refer to any place as a village with no disadvantage. Many settlements are described as both a town and a village by different people. Furthermore, settlements have a tendency to become larger and, when they do, many residents tend to prefer to think of their home as a village rather than a town, and institutions such as a village green or village hall will tend to retain the name that they were given when the settlement was smaller. For these reasons it is most unlikely that any definitive answer to the question could ever be obtained.

Places for which this claim has been made include

United States

Incorporated villages

In twenty U.S. states, the term "village" refers to a specific form of incorporated municipal government, similar to a city but with less authority and geographic scope. However, this is a generality; in many states, there are villages that are an order of magnitude larger than the smallest cities in the state. The distinction is not necessarily based on population, but on the relative powers granted to the different types of municipalities and correspondingly, different obligations to provide specific services to residents.

New York state

In New York state, a village is an incorporated area, usually, but not always, within a single town. Residents pay both town and village taxes and may vote in town elections as well.

The town and village may be coterminous. There are many villages which span the boundaries of more than one town, and some villages even straddle county borders.

While there is no limit to the population of a village (Hempstead, the state's largest village, boasts 55,000 residents, making it more populous than many of the state's cities), they may not exceed five square miles in area.


Villages in Ohio are almost always legally separate from any townships that they may have been incorporated from (there are exceptions, such as Chagrin Falls, where the township includes the entirety of the village). They have no area limitations, but must reincorporate as cities if they grow to over 5,000 in population.

They have the same home-rule rights as cities with less of the responsibilities. Unlike cities, they have the option of being either a "statutory village" and running their governments according to state law (with a six-member council serving four-year terms and a mayor who votes only to break ties) or being a "charter village" and writing a charter to run their government as they see fit.

Unincorporated villages

In many states, the term "village" is used to refer to a relatively small unincorporated community, similar to a hamlet in New York state. This informal usage may be found even in states that have villages as an incorporated municipality, although such usage might be considered incorrect and confusing.

See also

bg:Село bn:গ্রাম da:Landsby de:Dorf eo:Vilaĝo fr:Village fy:Doarp he:כפר hu:Kzsg nl:Dorp ja:村 no:Tettsted nn:Tettstad pl:Wieś ro:Sat sv:By vi:Lng zh:村


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