Each inhabited island has its own council: three councils on Tarawa: Betio, South-Tarawa, North-Tarawa—and two councils on Tabiteuea). The original districts were:
Northern Gilbert Islands
Central Gilbert Island
Southern Gilbert Islands
The island groups include:
Phoenix Islands, the second largest protected marine reserve in the world since the establishment of the Chagos Archipelago as a marine reserve.
Four of the former districts (including Tarawa) lie in the Gilbert Islands, where most of the country's population lives. Five of the Line Islands are uninhabited (Malden Island, Starbuck Island, Caroline Island, Vostok Island and Flint Island). The Phoenix Islands are uninhabited except for Kanton, and have no representation. Banaba itself is sparsely inhabited now. There is also a non-elected representative of the Banabans on Rabi Island in Fiji.
Each of the 21 inhabited islands has a local council that takes care of the daily affairs. Tarawa Atoll has three councils: Betio Town Council, Te Inainano Urban Council (for the rest of South Tarawa) and Eutan Tarawa Council (for North Tarawa).