Let's say some government function is currently controlled on the local level. (For example, in the USA, most K-12 schools are controlled locally.)

If a federal government were to centralize control on the federal level, it would "federalize" that control.

If a federal government were to decentralize control on the local level, it would "localize" that control.

What is the equivalent for governments between "local" and "national", such as state governments in the USA?

  • In Canada one might say "provincial control" and "provincialize control".
  • In general, one might say "regional control" or "regionalize control" (though "regionalize" is more commonly used for "combining local agencies into one, below the state/province level").
  • But "state control" implies public/government control (not private/firm control), while "statealize" is not a word.

Relevant previous questions: "Federal" is to "Federally" as "State" is to and "What's a word or phrase for something government-level or state-level?"

  • 1
    Best option is probably to rewrite with terms like "state-wide" or "at state level". Although maybe someone can find a rarer verb.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 30, 2023 at 9:33
  • I would have thought regionalize means moving things/power/decisions up or down to the regional level
    – Henry
    Jan 30, 2023 at 14:52
  • 'Statal' is the rare adjective meaning 'of/pertaining to a state', but 'statalise' (try googling) had a specific meaning perhaps not really applicable here. Jan 30, 2023 at 15:09
  • To centralize control to the city level, you would use "municipalize". Maybe there is a word to replace "state" in the same way that "municipal" replaces "city".
    – GEdgar
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:34
  • 1
    Are you asking for a word for regulation which is no longer federal but now state-regulated, or for a word for regulation which was local but is now regulated at a higher level (like the state)? That is, is control being raised similar to federalize or lowered similar to devolve?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 30, 2023 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


If a federal government were to decentralize control on to the local level, it would "devolve" that control.

devolve (definedictionarymeaning.com)
Transfer or delegate (power) to a lower level, especially from central government to local or regional administration.

  • 1
    @FumbeFingers: Yes, that is just the word, though, as per my comment, the setting up of privately governed academies has left us with a virtually anarchic mix of 'local authority', central and neither.
    – Tuffy
    Jan 30, 2023 at 17:19
  • We have the same issues in the UK. People tend to forget that one of the driving forces behind centralising authority is the depressing regularity with which we see corruption in local government. Sure, we get corruption in central government too - but at least with national / international media we're more likely to discover corruption in the White House than in some sleepy village parish council. Jan 30, 2023 at 18:13
  • @ Fumble Fingers: This is getting near the knuckle of politics. I think I'll depart in peace.
    – Tuffy
    Jan 30, 2023 at 19:14

It is possible to use a word not often found in the past, but with in entry ins some dictionaries. It's the word "defederalize".


(Collins) defederalize to shift the functions or powers of (an agency, service, etc.) from the jurisdiction of the federal government to that of state or local government

  • Is it asking too much of the downvoter to drop a word in the comment space for the reason of his "-1"?
    – LPH
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:05

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