Difference Between Town and City

Main Difference -Town vs City

Both city and town refer to an urban area that has a name, defined boundaries and governance structure. The main difference between town and city is that a city is larger than a town. However, the definition of town and city varies considerably in different countries.

What is a Town

A town is described as an urban area that is smaller than a city but larger than a village.  Most of a town’s population tend to earn their living from industry, commerce, and public services as opposed to a rural population. As explained above, the definition of the city varies according to different countries and regions.

In England, the town was a settlement that held a market or a fair. In modern usage, the term town is used for old market towns, or for areas that have a town council, or for areas that would be classed as cities, if they had the legal right.

In the United States, the definition of a town varies from state to state. In some states, town is defined by the size of the population while, in some other states, it is the structure of governance. For instance, in Utah, the use of the terms, city and town, differs according to the population; a municipality with a population of over 1000 is considered a city while a population of less than 1000 is considered a town. Towns sometimes function as distinct governmental units, with legally defined borders. Such towns are referred to as incorporated towns. On the other hand, the towns that lack its governance are called unincorporated towns.Main Difference -Town vs City

What is a City

A city is a large human settlement of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village. As with towns, there is no distinct definition to identify the term city; hence; the boundaries between town and city are not very clear.

However, cities have advanced systems for transportation, sanitation, land usage, housing and utilities.  As cities grow, they merge with surrounding areas and become megapolis. Metropolis is a large city that is a significant, political, economic and cultural center of a country. Some examples include London, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Dubai, etc.

In the United Kingdom, the city status is given to an area by the monarch of the United Kingdom. In England, a community cannot legitimately call itself a city without the royal designation.Difference Between Town and City

Difference Between Town and City


A town is an urban area that is smaller than a city but larger than a village.

A city is a large urban area of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village.


A town has a lower population than a city.

A city is densely populated than a town.


Towns generally do not have advanced facilities as cities.

Cities have advanced facilities and utilities.


A town is geographically smaller than a city.

A city is larger than a town.Difference Between Town and Resource- infographic

Image Courtesy:

“London from a hot air balloon” by Daniel Chapma – Flickr. (CC BY 2.0) via Commons

“St Mary’s Church, Castle Street 1” by Andrew Smith.  (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons

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