There are roughly 25 federal countries in the world today, which together represent 40 per cent of the world's population. They include some of the largest and most complex democracies - India, the US, Brazil, Germany and Mexico. 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 a recognition both of this diversity and of common interests and identity at the same time.
To find out more about a country's government, politics, institutes and online newspapers, click on the links below:
Forum Partner Federal Countries
Other Federal Countries
Countries in Transition to Federalism