A federated state (which may also be referred to by various terms such as a state, a province, a canton, a land) is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation.  Such states differ from fully sovereign states, in that they have transferred a portion of their sovereign powers to a federal government.  Importantly, when states choose to federate, they lose their standing as entities of international law. Instead, the federal union as a single entity becomes the sovereign state for purposes of international law.  A federated state holds administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory and is a form of regional government.
In some cases, a federation is created from a union of political entities, which are either independent, or dependent territories of another sovereign entity (most commonly a colonial power).  In other cases, federated states have been created out of the regions of previously unitary states.  Once a federal constitution is formed, the rules governing the relationship between federal and regional powers become part of the country's constitutional law and not international law.
In countries with federal constitutions, there is a division of power between the central government and the component states. These entities - states, provinces, counties, cantons, Länder, etc. - are partially self-governing and are afforded a degree of constitutionally guaranteed autonomy that varies substantially from one federation to another.  Depending on the form the decentralization of powers takes, a federated state's legislative powers may or may not be overruled or vetoed by the federal government. Laws governing the relationship between federal and regional powers can be amended through the federal constitution, and, if they exist, state constitutions as well.
Federated states typically, though not necessarily, use differences in the terminology of institutions to which there is an analogous federal-level equivalent. This list is a demonstration of common—though neither exhaustive nor universal—terminology differences between the state and federal levels:
|Class of institution||Federal-level title||State-level title|
|HEAD OF STATE|
|Deputy (Monarchic)||Governor-General||King's/Queen's Commissioner|
|Head of Government||Prime Minister||Premier|
|Head of Department||Minister||Commissioner|
|Executive Body||Cabinet||Executive Council|
|Council of Ministers||Board of Ministers|
|National Assembly||General Assembly|
|Upper House||Senate||Legislative Council|
|Lower House||House of Representatives||Legislative Assembly|
|Chamber of Deputies||Landtag|
|National Assembly||House of Assembly|
|Highest Court||Supreme Court||High Court|
|Court of Final Appeal|
The "federated units" in the table below have inherent governmental authority in the federation's constitutional system, while the "other units" are delegated authority by the federal government or are administered directly by it (see federal district and federal territory).
C indicates federal capital (or federated units that contain it).
D indicates actively disputed territory by other sovereign states or the international community.
- Associated state
- Constituent state
- Federal district
- Federal territory
- List of autonomous areas by country
- List of sovereign states
- Supranational union
- List of administrative divisions by country
- Flanders and Wallonia are subdivided into five provinces each, which are mandated by the Constitution of Belgium. Provincial governance are the responsibility of the regional governments.
- The communities and regions are separate government institutions with different areas of responsibility. The communities are organized based on linguistic boundaries, which are different from regional boundaries.
- The federal district has a level of self-ruling equal to the other main federal units.
- The 1988 Brazilian Constitution treats the municipalities as parts of the Federation and not simply dependent subdivisions of the states.
- The region overlaps the area of the governorates.
- Saint Kitts is governed directly by the federal government.
- Adopted constitution accommodates existing regional governments, with the ultimate number and boundaries of the Federal Member States to be determined by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament.
- The United States also claims Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank.
- The Australian National Dictionary: Fourth Edition, pg 1395. (2004) Canberra. ISBN 978-0-19-551771-2.
- Constitution of the United States of America: Tenth Amendment, Reserved Powers Archived 2007-03-09 at the Wayback Machine.
- Crawford, J. (2006). The Creation of States in International Law. Oxford, Clarendon Press.
- Examples are Australia and the United States.
- This occurred in Belgium in 1993. The Belgian regions had previously devolved powers.
- For instance, Canadian provinces and Swiss cantons possess substantially more powers and enjoy more protection against interference and infringments from the central government than most non-Western federations.
- Daniel, Kate; Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (2008). SBS World Guide: The Complete Fact File on Every Country, 16th ed. Prahran, Victoria, Australia: Hardie Grant Books. p. 827. ISBN 978-1-74066-648-0. p26.
- SBS World Guide 2008, p38
- Autonomous region. See more at List of autonomous areas by country
- SBS World Guide 2008, p46
- SBS World Guide 2008, p74
- SBS World Guide 2008, p101
- Article 18
- SBS World Guide 2008, p132
- SBS World Guide 2008, p239
- SBS World Guide 2008, p275
- SBS World Guide 2008, p328
- SBS World Guide 2008, p346
- SBS World Guide 2008, p460
- SBS World Guide 2008, p481
- SBS World Guide 2008, p486
- SBS World Guide 2008, p537
- SBS World Guide 2008, p549
- SBS World Guide 2008, p600
- Federal structure of Russia, Article 65 of Russian Constitution.
- "The Federal Republic of Somalia - Harmonized Draft Constitution" (PDF). Federal Republic of Somalia. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Guidebook to the Somali Draft Provisional Constitution". Archived from the original on 14 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- SBS World Guide 2008, p687
- SBS World Guide 2008, p700
- SBS World Guide 2008, p760
- SBS World Guide 2008, p774
- SBS World Guide 2008, p798