There are about 28 federal countries in the world today, which together represent 40 per cent of the world’s population. Almost all democracies with very large area or very large and ethnically diverse populations are federal. They include some of the largest and most complex democracies. Their system of government, while it can be complex, has made many federations amongst the most prosperous countries in the world with high standards of government services.
Historically, most federations were the result of previously separate entities – the American 13 colonies, the Swiss cantons – coming together to form a federal government. The entities would keep some powers to themselves but others were pooled with the central government of the new country. More recently, previously unitary countries – such as Spain, Belgium and South Africa – have adopted federal structures as a way to maintain common central government for some purposes while empowering regional governments for other purposes. In many very diverse societies, a federal system of government permits recognition both of this diversity and of common interests and identity at the same time. Federalism is a continuously evolving concept to cater the emerging governance needs in diverse democratic countries.
World map showing federal states in green.(Source: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism)
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belau, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Comoros, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Iraq*, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, St. Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Spain, Sudan*, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela
* Post-conflict societies whose federal constitutions are not consolidated