Difference between state and nation

Key difference - state vs. nation

A state is an independent political entity with clear geographical boundaries. Nation is a large group of people united by common origins, history, culture, ethnicity, or language. The main difference between state and nation is that the state is a political and legal entity, while the nation is a socio-cultural entity.

Difference between state and nation - infographic

What is a state

A state is a territory that is viewed as an organized political community under a government. A state has four main elements: territory, population, government, and sovereignty. A state also has fixed geographical boundaries. Nor is it dependent or subordinate to any other state; it has an independent system of governance.

The state's population can consist of more than one nation. A state that is populated by only one nation is called a nation state. But the population of many of the world's sovereign states is made up of more than one nation.

A state can be created with a conscious effort. For example, Pakistan was established as an independent state after 1947. A state has both political and legal power. Therefore, it can also create and enforce laws.

The nation state is a form of political unity in which a group of people with the same history, tradition, or language in a particular area live under a government.

Key difference - state vs. nation

What is a nation

Nation is a large group of people united by common origins, history, culture, ethnicity, or language. Nation is a cultural-political community.

A nation is formed by factors such as common race, common language, common culture, common history, common territory, etc. But none of this is strictly necessary. For example, a nation can survive without territory, but love for a common territory can unite the nation. The elements that make up a nation are not always constant. Nation is always the result of evolution. It is also possible that two or more nations exist in a single state.

Nation is not a legal entity. It is the strong bond between people and common elements such as ethnicity, language and ancestry that holds the nation together.

Difference between state and nation

Difference between state and nation

definition

The state is an independent political entity with fixed geographical boundaries.

Nation is a large group of people united by common origins, history, culture, ethnicity, or language.

reference

State refers to a territory.

Nation means a group of people.

area

The state has a fixed territory.

Nation has no fixed territory.

Type

The state is a political and legal entity.

Nation is a socio-cultural unit.

Origins

State can be created consciously.

Nation cannot be created consciously.

stability

The state is not as stable as a nation because it is a created concept.

Nation is more stable than a state.

home

A state can be home to more than one nation.

People from different nations can live in different states.

sovereignty

No state can exist without sovereignty.

Nation can exist without sovereignty.

unit

The state is united by laws and regulations.

The nation is united by bonds and shared stories.

Image courtesy:

“Inuit Clothing” by Ansgar Walk - Photo captured by Ansgar Walk, (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia

“Map of the USA with state names” by (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.