The first level of country subdivisions of Iran are the provinces (Persian: استانها; ostānhā). Each province is further subdivided into counties called shahrestan (Persian: شهرستان, romanized: shahrestān), and each county (or shahrestan) is subdivided into districts called bakhsh (Persian: بخش, romanized: bakhsh). There are usually a few cities (Persian: شهر, romanized: shahr) and rural districts called dehestan (Persian: دهستان, romanized: dehestān) in each district (or bakhsh). Rural districts are a collection of a number of villages. One of the cities of the county is appointed as the capital of the county.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the figures are as follows, as of March 2016[update] (end of Iranian calendar 1394): 
|English||Persian sing.||Persian pl.||number|
|Provinces||استان ostān||استانها ostānhā||31|
|Counties||شهرستان shahrestān||شهرستانها shahrestānhā||429|
|Districts||بخش bakhsh||بخشها bakhshhā||1057|
|cities||شهر shahr||شهرها shahr hā||1245|
|rural districts||دهستان dehestān||دهستانها dehestānhā||2589|
The total population of a province is the total of its counties.
The total population of a county is the total of its districts.
The total population of a district is the total of its cities and rural districts.
To better understand these subdivisions, the following table for Sepidan County in Fars province (as it existed in 2006) is an example showing the hierarchy of a county's divisions:
|Khafri Rural District||4,035|
|Komehr Rural District||3,812|
|Banesh Rural District||9,718|
|Beyza Rural District||13,761|
|Kushk-e Hezar Rural District||9,622|
|Hamaijan Rural District||15,449|
|Shesh Pir Rural District||8,197|
|Sornabad Rural District||3,402|
|1 Became a part of Beyza County|