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Subdivisions of Wales

See the real Africa
For local government purposes, Wales is divided into 22 unitary authorities. There are 9 counties, 3 cities, and 10 county boroughs, although all have equal status. Collectively these are known as the principal areas of Wales. They came into being on April 1, 1996.

See: List of Welsh principal areas by population, List of Welsh principal areas by area, List of Welsh principal areas by percentage Welsh language

Table of contents
1 Map
2 Name changes
3 History
4 References


Subdivisions of Wales
areas are Counties unless stated

  1. Merthyr Tydfil (County Borough)
  2. Caerphilly (County Borough)
  3. Blaenau Gwent (County Borough)
  4. Torfaen (County Borough)
  5. Monmouthshire
  6. Newport (City)
  7. Cardiff (City)
  8. Vale of Glamorgan (County Borough)
  9. Bridgend (County Borough)
  10. Rhondda Cynon Taf (County Borough)
  11. Neath Port Talbot (County Borough)
  12. Swansea (City)
  13. Carmarthenshire
  14. Ceredigion
  15. Powys
  16. Wrexham (County Borough)
  17. Flintshire
  18. Denbighshire
  19. Conwy (County Borough)
  20. Gwynedd
  21. Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
  22. Pembrokeshire


Name changes

The current names of the counties and county boroughs are in some cases different from those specified in the Act. The following changes took place, all with effect from April 2, 1996.



From 1889 to 1974, the administrative counties of Wales were used for local government. These were based on the traditional counties of Wales, but not entirely identical.

There were also a number of independent county boroughs


In 1974, eight new two-tier counties were created. These were all (apart from the Glamorgans) given names in Welsh.

  1. Gwent
  2. South Glamorgan
  3. Mid Glamorgan
  4. West Glamorgan
  5. Dyfed
  6. Powys
  7. Gwynedd
  8. Clwyd

The division into districts of these was as follows

When these counties were abolished in 1996, they were retained with slight amendations for some purposes such as Lieutenancy, and became known as the preserved counties of Wales. These were further amended in 2003 to ensure that each unitary area is wholly within one preserved county.


The redistribution of these districts into the current unitary authorities is as follows:

Unitary authorities Previous districts
Anglesey Anglesey
Blaenau Gwent most of Blaenau Gwent
Bridgend most of Ogwr
Caerphilly Islwyn, Rhymney Valley
Carmarthenshire Carmarthen, Llanelli, Dinefwr
Cardiff Cardiff, part of Taff-Ely
Ceredigion Ceredigion
Conwy Aberconwy, most of Colwyn
Denbighshire Rhuddlan, parts of Glyndwyr and Colwyn
Flintshire Alyn and Deeside, Delyn
Gwynedd Arfon, Dwyfor, Meirionnydd
Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Tydfil
Monmouthshire Monmouth, part of Blaenau Gwent
Neath Port Talbot Neath, Port Talbot, parts of Lliw Valley
Newport Newport
Pembrokeshire Preseli, South Pembrokeshire
Powys Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, Brecknock, part of Glyndwyr
Rhondda Cynon Taf Rhondda, Cynon Valley, most of Taff-Ely
Swansea Swansea, parts of Lliw Valley
Torfaen Torfaen
Vale of Glamorgan most of Vale of Glamorgan
Wrexham most of Wrexham, parts of Glyndwyr

See also: Subdivisions of the United Kingdom, Counties of Wales


United Kingdom | Wales | Principal areas of Wales
Anglesey | Blaenau Gwent | Bridgend | Caerphilly | Cardiff | Carmarthenshire | Ceredigion | Conwy | Denbighshire | Flintshire | Gwynedd | Merthyr Tydfil | Newport | Monmouthshire | Neath Port Talbot | Pembrokeshire | Powys | Rhondda Cynon Taff | Swansea | Torfaen | Vale of Glamorgan | Wrexham