Counties of Taiwan

International standard ISO 3166-2 has always listed what I call the secondary subdivisions of Taiwan as if they were primary. It uses the name "Taiwan, Province of China" for the area covered. That is a slight misnomer, because the ROC controls part of Fukien, which all parties seem to agree is a separate province from Taiwan. Those of us with memories of 1960 may recall that a big issue in the televised debates between Nixon and Kennedy was what to do about Quemoy and Matsu, the main islands of Fukien controlled by the ROC.

"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It gives codes for the two counties in Fukien province: TW-KIN for Kinmen and TW-LIE for Lienkiang. Its codes for all the other municipalities match the ISO codes. After the ISO update of 2015-11-27, the codes, statuses, and names given in the two standards match perfectly except for the code for New Taipei. GENC still uses the old code, TW-TPQ.

The draft standard (1996) listed two provinces, two special municipalities, sixteen districts, and five municipalities. There was an unexplained overlap: Taiwan province actually included the territory of all sixteen districts and five municipalities. Each division was given a three-letter code. Whenever possible, the IATA airport code for the division's main city was used; elsewhere, the ISO working group assigned arbitrary three-letter abbreviations. There were some ambiguous codes. TNN represented both Tainan district and Tainan municipality, which are actually disjoint but adjacent entities on the secondary level. KHH represented both Kaohsiung special municipality and Kaohsiung district, which are not only disjoint but on different levels. The final standard (1998) lists the same subdivisions, except that the two provinces were dropped, and the name and code of one municipality were changed from Chilung (CHI) to Keelung (KEE). (Chilung and Keelung are alternate romanizations of the same Chinese name.) Dropping the two provinces eliminated the overlap of Taiwan province, but left the ROC-administered part of Fukien province, consisting of Quemoy, Matsu, and other islands, unrepresented. There were still duplicate codes, until ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-4 was issued on 2002-12-10. It modified the codes for six of the districts, eliminating duplicate codes. On 2015-11-27, ISO issued more updates, deleting three districts, adding the two districts of Fukien province, changing the code for New Taipei from TW-TPQ to TW-NWT, and changing the status of four subdivisions.

Update 2 to "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" was published on 2010-11-30. For Taiwan, it revoked the province codes and replaced them by a set of county and municipality codes, shown below under "FIPS." Update 4, issued on 2011-04-30, revoked three of the codes that were issued in Update 2: TW11 for Kaohsiung county, TW20 for Taichung county, and TW22 for Tainan county. It also changed the name and status of Taipei county to New Taipei municipality.

Chiayi CitymTW.TA.CSCYITW06267,65160Chiayi600
Hsinchu CitymTW.TA.HSHSZTW08476,273104Hsinchu300
Kaohsiung CitysTW.KH.KSKHHTW022,777,3842,949Kaohsiung800-852
Keelung CitymTW.TA.CLKEETW12381,809133Keelung200-206
New Taipei CitysTW.NT.TPNWTTW234,054,4672,053Panchiao207-208, 220-253
Taichung CitysTW.TG.TUTXGTW192,731,0562,215Taichung400-439
Tainan CitysTW.TN.TITNNTW211,840,2572,192Tainan700-745
Taipei CitysTW.TP.TCTPETW032,655,515272Taipei100-116
22 divisions23,123,86636,192
  • Typ: c=county, m=municipality, s=special municipality
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. Middle two letters indicate the province.
    For key, see Taiwan Provinces page.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "TW-" to the code
    (ex: TW-HSQ represents Hsinchu county).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2010-12-31 census.
  • Postcode: Taiwan uses five-digit postal codes in nnn-nn format. The first three digits
    indicate the county.

Change history:

  1. The Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1957 edition shows Taiwan subdivided into sixteen counties and five municipalities. It does not include any territory in Fukien province, where Taiwan holds a number of offshore islands. In the list below, I have changed some county names to a more modern spelling, and corrected some evident errors in the data.
  2. The Atlas claims to include data from the 1951 and 1953 censuses, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau's compilation, the first modern census of Taiwan was taken in 1956.
Kaohsiung Citymu282,36011344
Keelung Citymu151,92713251
Taichung Citymu202,96916363
Tainan Citymu226,36317568
Taipei Citymu540,9716726
  • Type: cn = county, mu = municipality
  • Population: 1951
  1. ~1952: Yangmingshan municipality split from Taipei county. This change was apparently reversed not long afterward.
  2. Chiayi City and Hsinchu City must have been split from their respective counties between ~1953 and ~1970.
  3. 1967: Taipei municipality split from Taiwan province to become Taipei special municipality.
  4. 1979: Kaohsiung municipality split from Taiwan province to become Kaohsiung special municipality.
  5. ~1989: Capital of Taiwan province moved from Taichung to Chung-hsing-hsin-tsun.
  6. ISO 3166-2 originally (and inadvertently) assigned some duplicate codes. Chiayi county and municipality were both CYI, Hsinchu was HSZ, Kaohsiung was KHH, Taichung was TXG, Tainan was TNN, and Taipei was TPE. Newsletter number I-4, dated 2002-12-10, changed the codes for those six counties, to eliminate the duplicate codes. The new codes are shown in the table below. Even with the revisions, some of the ISO province codes were duplicates of some of the ISO county codes.
Chiayi CitymTW.TW.CSCYITW06266,126252,37160Chiayi600
Hsinchu CitymTW.TW.HSHSZTW08395,746342,015104Hsinchu300
Kaohsiung CitysTW.KH.KCKHHTW021,493,8061,380,663154Kaohsiung800-813
Keelung CitymTW.TW.CLCHITW12387,504348,586133Keelung200-206
Taichung CitymTW.TW.TGTXGTW19989,047772,828163Taichung400-408
Tainan CitymTW.TW.TNTNNTW21725,985672,907176Tainan700-709
TaipeicTW.TW.TPTPQTW233,722,0823,065,7792,053Panchiao207-208, 220-253
Taipei CitysTW.TP.TCTPETW032,624,2572,760,475272Taipei100-116
25 divisions22,300,92920,393,62836,178
  • Typ: c=county, m=municipality, s=special municipality
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. Middle two letters indicate the province.
    For key, see Taiwan Provinces page.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "TW-" to the code
    (ex: TW-TXQ represents Taichung county).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-2000: 2000-12-16 census
  • Pop-1990: 1990-12-16 census
  • Postcode: Taiwan uses five-digit postal codes in nnn-nn format. The first three digits
    indicate the county.
  1. 2010-12-25: Kaohsiung county merged with Kaohsiung special municipality; Taichung special municipality formed by merging Taichung county with Taichung provincial city; Tainan special municipality formed by merging Tainan county with Tainan provincial city; Taipei county renamed and status changed to New Taipei special municipality.
  2. 2014-12-25: Status of Taoyuan changed from county to special municipality.

Other names of subdivisions:

  1. Changhwa: Changhua (variant)
  2. Chiayi: Chiai (variant)
  3. Hualien: Hwalien (variant)
  4. Ilan: Yilan (variant)
  5. Keelung: Chilung, Keelong (variant)
  6. Kinmen: Chinmen, Kingmen, Quemoy (variant)
  7. Lienkiang: Lienchiang, Lienkian, Matsu (variant)
  8. New Taipei City: Taipei [county] (obsolete); Xinbei (Chinese)
  9. Yunlin: Yüanlin (variant)


  1. [1] 2000 Population and Housing Census (retrieved from on 2004-10-14).
  2. [2] 2001 Preliminary Report (Statistics Table) (retrieved from on 2004-10-14).
  3. [3] Spreadsheet (retrieved from on 2004-10-14)
  4. [4] Taiwan Magazine One (retrieved from on 2004-10-14)
  5. [5] 2010 Population and Housing Census , County/City Report (retrieved 2013-09-25).
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