Egypt is divided for administrative purposes into 27 governorates. Egyptian governorates are the top tier of the country's five-tier jurisdiction hierarchy.
A governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt and serves at the President's discretion. Most governorates have a population density of more than one thousand per km², while the 3 largest have a population density of less than two thousand per km².
Governorates are either fully "urban" or else an admixture of "urban" and "rural". The official distinction between "urban" and "rural" is reflected in the lower tiers: i.e. fully urban governorates have no regions (markaz “conglomeration of villages”), as the markaz is, natively, a conglomeration of villages. Moreover, governorates may comprise just one city, as in the case of Cairo and Alexandria. Hence, these one-city governorates are only divided into districts.
Two new governorates were created on 17 April 2008; namely, Helwan and 6th of October. In April 2011, the 6th of October and Helwan governorates were again incorporated into the Giza and Cairo Governorates, respectively. Luxor was created on 9 December 2009, to be the 29th governorate of Egypt, but with the abolition of the 6th of October and Helwan governorates, the number of governorates has decreased to 27.