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The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with Anglosphere and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page.(February 2011)
In a unitary state, subnational units are created and abolished and their powers may be broadened and narrowed, by the central government. Although political power in unitary states may be delegated through devolution to local government by statute, the central government remains supreme; it may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers.
In federal states, by contrast, states or other subnational units share sovereignty with the central government, and the states constituting the federation have an existence and power functions that cannot be unilaterally changed by the central government. In some cases, it is the federal government that has only those powers expressly delegated to it.