Article 137 of the constitution establishes that the state is divided into municipalities, provinces and autonomous communities that constitute; adding that all these entities are free to the management of their respective interests. In the field of local entities, the constitution attaches great importance to municipalities, to guarantee their autonomy in Article 140, while establishing that his government corresponds to their respective municipalities.
On this prevalence of municipality, article 141 envisages the existence of other local entities that are configured as groupings of municipalities, which are the province and the island, as well as other that can be created.
The basic regulation governing entities that constitute the local administration is contained in the law / 1985 of 2 April, regulating the foundations of the Local administration. In this rule are regulated local government institutions and competences.
Moreover, developing of this law, Autonomous Communities have adopted their respective laws that develops the basic regulation, which takes into account the peculiarities of its territory and population distribution in each Autonomous Community.
Similarly, the different sectoral laws are frequently with forecasts and references to the powers of local entities, so it must also be taken into account to know exactly the local competences in each Autonomous Community and in every sector of activity.
Local entities currently existing in Spain are as follows.
- The municipality. Are 8.117 and are the basic entity of the territorial organisation of the state and immediate channels of citizen participation in public affairs.
- The province. Spain has 50, while the 7 Autonomous Communities uniprovinciales their powers are assumed by the corresponding Autonomous communities.
- The island. In total there are 11 Illes Balears (4) and the Canarian (7).
- Entities of territorial area below the municipality instituted or recognized by the Autonomous Communities. Are currently 3.719.
- The Regions or other entities combining several municipalities, instituted by the Autonomous Communities. Currently there are 81, which are located in Catalonia (41), March (32), Basque Country (7) and Catillano and Lion (1, the Bierzo).
- The Metropolitan Areas. There are 3, located in Catalonia (1) and Valencian Community (2).
- Associations of Municipalities. Currently are 1,018, affecting (municipalities, i.e. to 76% of the total.
Finally, the attention of the services provided by local entities requires some financial resources that are periodically reviewed and that have been effected through successive policy reforms of the law of Local Ranches. These reforms have course various modifications and adaptations to a changing reality and have been adopted under local entities have new responsibilities and must meet new public services and demands citizens.