For administrative purposes the State is divided into 14 revenue districts: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanadu, Kannur and Kasaragod.
On the basis of geographical, historical and cultural similarities, the districts are generally grouped into North Kerala (Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram) , Central Kerala (Palakkad, Thrissur, Eranakulam, Idukki) and South Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam).The districts have the same name as the important town or city in the district, the exception being Wayanad district.
The 14 districts are further divided into 21 Revenue divisions, 63 Taluks and 1453 Revenue Villages. There are 14 District Panchayats, 152 Block Panchayats, 978 Grama Panchayats, 60 Municipalities, 5 Corporations and 1 Township.
Some of the districts and their towns were renamed in 1990 like Thiruvananthapuram (formerly known as Trivandrum), Kollam (Quilon), Alappuzha (Alleppey), Thrissur (Trichur or Thrishivaperur), Palakkad (Palghat), Kozhikode (Calicut) and Kannur (Cannanore).
A district is governed by a District Collector, who is an officer from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of Kerala cadre and is appointed by the State Government of Kerala. Functionally the district administration is carried on through the various Departments of the State Government each of which has an office of its own in the district level. The District Collector is the executive leader of the district administration and the District Officers of the various Departments in the district render technical advice to him in the discharge of his duties.
The District Collector is a key functionary of Government having large powers and responsibilities. He/she has a dual role to both as the agent of the Government of the state and also as the representative of the people in the district. He/she is also responsible for the maintenance of the law and order of the district.