Lets define some examples to clarify what I'm talking about.

So the borough of Manhattan (pop. 1.6m) does not have its own separate authority with legislative powers. Are there even bigger fully dependent political entities like this?

  • “Bigger/larger” refers to the total population in the district/borough/region
  • “Legislative power” refers to a set of rules that can be passed by the political entity completely independently and subsequently enforced by government authorities. So if the Manhattan borough council issues non-binding declarations, it doesn't count as "legislative power".
  • Political entities that have sub entities with legislative power do not count. For example England does not have its own separate Parliament but it does have numerous cities with their own legislative powers.
  • “Political entity": The Five Boroughs are the municipal corporations of New York City. While they overlap with their Counties, and are subordinate to New York City, they are legally distinct. They each have a president, council, and a district attorney. For example Manhattan Borough President. It could have a legislature, like Suffolk County does, but it does not. As a rule of thumb, if Wiki calls this entity "borough", "county", "district", etc, then it can be considered a "political entity".
  • 7
    Presumably based on the "etc." your list "borough, county, district" is not exhaustive? Does every traditional geographic division count? If so, England would increase the minimum to about 56 million.
    – origimbo
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 21:19
  • 13
    Issue with "England has cities that cities with legistlative power". In the UK, all legislative power comes from Parliament. If a council has a legislative power, that is completely dependent on this power being granted by Parliament. A council might be able to create "by-laws" but only because parliament has granted specfic licence for them to do so. Even the Scottish parliament is gets its legislative power from Westminster.... This is not the same as a federal system.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 8:51
  • 5
    Similarly in the case of NYC, its legislative powers are subordinate to the state. NYC derives its abiltiy to create laws from the city charter, which is legislation by NYS. If the charter were repealed or amended, any legislation by NYC would be void. So NYC council is not independent at all. It is a mechanism by which NYS creates laws for the city.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 8:57
  • 2
    Here's a suggestion: Tokyo metropolitian area. Tokyo-fu includes a lot of countryside to the West (and various islands etc) The bouroughs (Nerima, Shinjuku etc) don't have law making powers, so the "23-bouroughs" that make up the city don't have any separate legislature. The full metro area including parts of Yokohama, Saitama and Chiba also doesn't have a legislature. That's 30-50million
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 20:04
  • 2
    @JonathanReez I don't know where you got that quote from, but it's wrong. The statement that UN headquarters is "technically extraterritorial" is incorrect. It is "inviolable," just as embassies are, and the headquarters agreement provides explicitly that federal, state, and local law apply in the headquarters district, subject to exceptions laid out in the headquarters agreement, namely that the UN can establish regulations for the headquarters district that take precedence over US law within the headquarters district.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 4:12

4 Answers 4


What is the largest political entity that lacks legislative power?

The United Nations. It comprises of 193 states with two additional observer states - Vatican City and Palestine. Whilst it has a General Assembly, which can be considered as a kind of legislative body, its resolutions aren't binding and hence are considered advisory on its member states.

  • 7
    Perhaps the question has been changed, but I don't see how this answers the current question at all! Its not a district, borough etc. It certainly does have "sub entities", but it doesn't have "population", so it can't be compared to Manhatten.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 15:54
  • 9
    @JamesK The population of the UN is the combined populations of its member countries, in the same way that the population of the US is the combined populations of its states and territories. Most of us don't think of ourselves as citizens of the UN precisely because it has so little actual power.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 16:02
  • 14
    You don't think of yourselves as citizens of the UN because you are not! The "population" of the UN is 193. Individuals people are not members of the UN. And the question seems to explictly exclude this kind of organisation. I do think the question is somewhat hard to be definitive about, but this answer is certainly wrong!
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 16:09
  • 26
    “Political entities that have sub entities with legislative power do not count” since the UN is made up of nations with legislative power, this requirement would seem to rule it out
    – divibisan
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 16:27
  • 7
    @MoziburUllah No, you're misunderstanding the examples. He's saying that the borough of Manhattan is the example of a political entity without legislative power. It is contained within entities with legislative power, but it is the largest/highest level entity that lacks that power. The UN is like the US: an entity made up of entities with legislative powers, and thus it's not what this question is looking for
    – divibisan
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 18:05

So the borough of Manhattan (pop. 1.6m) does not have its own separate authority with legislative powers. Are there even bigger fully dependent political entities like this?

There are at least two political entities that are more populous than Manhattan and certainly meet your criteria, because they are also boroughs of the city of New York: Brooklyn and Queens.

  • 5
    Well played good sir
    – TCooper
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 21:22

Delhi, India has a legislature, however it does not have any de-facto legislative power as all executive decisions have to be approved by the centrally appointed Lieutenant Governor, and for all purposes, the Lieutenant Governor is considered as the government.

Delhi has a population of 16.7M as per the 2011 census, however it's likely much higher now.


I would like to suggest: "We the People." Because the American people opt to have 'elected officials' do that 'on our behalf' [but not in our interests {legal def: profit}].

Technically speaking, Americans are each their own 'body politic' which technically, also, is a State. That is why it was founded as a 'united' body of States - before it became incorporated and 'United' rather than 'united'.

Some people may say this is word play or manipulating the language itself - however, ask any judge 'do words mean anything?' and you will find they absolutely do. Though most people are unaware that there are two distinct sets of definitions. There is a 'webster's dictionary' definition and is meant to be interpreted in private and/or agreeance or contracts where there is a background/context of understanding between the parties. However, absent this 'history' between parties you enter the public forum where you find debate, settlement, and dispute - and also where one finds the LEGAL definitions of the words. So yes, the words mean exactly what they are meant to mean unless we had a previous understanding or even an inside joke between us where context became irrelevant...

But I digress, I tend to ramble. I'm gonna make "We the People" my final answer!

  • Think the question refers to a pure legislative entity, which is a single role of "We the People". Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 9:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .