How would I say something on a city level in comparison to a provincial level or national level?

Elections are held nationally every four years, and _________ every two years.

  • 3
    In most cases "local" would be the term used. However, there are cases where that would be ambiguous.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 20:26
  • I said provincially for state-wide or province-wide elections.
    – AAM111
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 21:36
  • 6
    Municipally is the correct adverb to go in the sentence completion you gave. But to answer the (separate) title question, the typical noun used would be resident. Local is also possible, but not as widespread. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:33
  • @SpecialSauce I think the title is using 'national' as a adjective rather than a noun.
    – jwg
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 10:02
  • @FumbleFingers A city is a completely different thing to a province, a distinction made in the question.
    – jwg
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 10:02

7 Answers 7


A city, viewed as a governmental and political entity, is called a municipality (see Merriam-Webster), with corresponding adjective municipal and adverb municipally. For example, we often speak of "municipal elections".

However, I must say that the sentence "elections are held municipally every two years" does not sound anywhere near as good to me as the sentence "elections are held nationally every four years"; I don't know why. So I'd suggest instead:

National elections are held every four years, and municipal elections every two years.

Alternatively, in your example, you can use the phrase at the city level:

Elections are held nationally every four years, and at the city level every two years.

  • 3
    One caveat: for most governmental things (elections as noted, laws/ordinances, police, courts, jails, water and sewer systems, electrical system, roads/streets, transit system, schools, etc.) municipal means city. But at least in the US for bonds, 'municipal bond' can mean anything below 'Federal'/national, including state/territory, county/parish, city/town, region, watershed, 'compacts' or 'authorities' of adjacent cities or even states across a border. Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 21:49
  • 7
    As Nicholas said, in American English, locally is generally used, so "elections are held locally every two years." To complicate matters some, we also have States. There the term is usually "State-wide."
    – AMR
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 7:17
  • 3
    @AMR: I actually live in the US, and I would not consider "locally" to be synonymous with "at the city level". Municipal elections are "local", but so are countywide ballot measures, district- and ward-level elections, and so on. ("State and local elections" means everything at the state level and below.)
    – ruakh
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 16:40
  • @AMR Agreed with ruakh. We use 'local elections' to refer to elections for anything smaller than a state. This is most commonly city or county, but can be district, ward, parish, etc. depending on where you are.
    – reirab
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 20:06
  • 1
    Politics are very far from my forte, but it should be noted in passing that municipalities are not necessarily equivalent to cities everywhere. Some countries have municipalities (or local entities referred to in English as municipalities) that either comprise only part of a city or encompass several cities/towns. This may not be a problem if you’re talking about a country like the US, but it could lead to inaccuracies in certain other countries. (Though I admit I’m not aware of anywhere that has non-city municipalities, but still holds city-level elections.) Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 12:55

"municipal" is the word you're looking for.

Elections are held nationally every four years, and municipally every two years.

  • municipal (adj) "of or relating to the government of a city or town"

e.g. Both national and municipal elections are held every four years in this country.

In some English speaking countries, mainly in the US, the term "local elections" is used more often than "municipal elections". See ngram


My preference would be for "locally"?

  • I would agree - 'Local Elections' seems to be the most used phrase these days: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – SeanR
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 10:56
  • At least in the case of the U.S., though, this can be ambiguous with counties (or other political subdivisions smaller than states,) especially in the case of elections. "Local election" (as well as "local government") refers to either city or county in common U.S. usage, so if you want to distinguish between them, 'local' isn't quite specific enough.
    – reirab
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:57
  • Welcome to ELU: what a good score for a first answer. For future reference: never answer a question with a sentence which ends in a question mark. The system automatically flags it as Low Quality, because answers should be real definitive answers, preferably with corroborative citations.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 22:42
  • Local is also the term used in my electoral system, since these are the elections where we directly pick representatives in some immediate geographical level of governance. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 13:45

Another option you might use is "citywide":


  1. occurring throughout a city; including an entire city: "citywide school board elections."
  2. open to including, or affecting all the inhabitants of or groups in a city: "a citywide track meet."

http://www.answers.com/Q/What_are_citywide_elections :

"An election where the ballot has choices for the city government (elected officials, proposed ordinances, bond issues, etc). "

  • 2
    From my non-native English I am under the impression that "citywide" highlights that something involves the whole city rather than just a part of it - f.ex. the whole city rather than just some districts; same concept for "nationwide", the whole nation rather than just some states / provinces / regions etc., or "worldwide", the whole world rather than just some nations. In this case "citywide" might not be what the OP is after, but I'm not sure that my interpretation is correct and I hope to use this opportunity to find out. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 18:01
  • 2
    @SantiBailors is correct: "citywide school board elections" means that all 12 school districts in the city are holding school board elections, as opposed to only three of them. (Numbers made up out of whole cloth.)
    – Marthaª
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 23:43

Depending on the context urban could be used to, I guess. But seeing the other answers, it's probably not what you wanted ^^

  • Thanks for the answer, but I wanted something to do with an election as in the example question. The urban election does not make sense.
    – AAM111
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 23:24
  • @OldBunny2800 Surely it doesn't, yes
    – ljrk
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 5:50

As other answers have pointed out, 'municipal' certainly works as the adjective in this case.

However, 'city' itself can also be used (and, at least in the U.S., is frequently used) as the adjective.

For example, all of the following are perfectly normal usages:

  • city government
  • city elections
  • city taxes
  • city services

In this case, the word 'city' is used as an attributive noun (also known as a noun adjunct.)

At least in the case of the U.S., I would guess that just using 'city' as an attributive noun is more common than 'municipal,' though both are used frequently and the latter is probably considered more formal.


In some situations, the word "civic" may also be used.

  • This post would be improved by explaining why you suggest this term, for example, by providing a dictionary definition or examples in the wild. I encourage you take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 1:05

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