Difference between Nation and State

Nation vs. State

What is Difference between Nation and State? More often than anyone would think the words “state” and “nation” are used interchangeably, that is, as synonymous. However, despite the relationship that may exist between these two concepts, it is important to note that they refer to different things.

Difference between Nation and State

If you also have doubts about what the difference is between nation and state, or you just want a bit more complementary information about it; continue reading, because then we give you the definition of both terms and we tell you why they are different in meaning.


A nation can be defined as a group of people who are linked to each other because they share the same geographic space, beliefs, traditions, values, language, culture, religion and history. Likewise, it is defined as a political-cultural entity that is distinguished from the others by unique character and collective rights.

When searching for its etymology, it is discovered that the term nation derives from the Latin “nation”, which means something like “settlement of people”.

A nation usually consists of several states, in some cases the latter are governed by their own rules; but in others they obey a central government. Each nation has its own constitution, therefore, also owns sovereignty.


On the other hand, a state can be defined as a portion of land or territory with a sovereign government. In this case it is a political-judicial entity that is identified by its sovereign rights. As for the etymology of this term, it derives from the Latin word “status” that could be translated as “condition”.

Several states may constitute a nation, but each one generally functions as a separate political entity. However, although each state has its rules and can add new ones with the passage of time; in some way it has to be in conformity with the national laws. Finally, states cannot create laws that are contrary to the nation to which they belong and, even though they have their own laws, they have no particular constitution.

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