A state refers to a group of people living in a particular geographical area and who have an organized government to coordinate their activities.

It is a political entity with the authority to enact and enforce laws on behalf of a group of people residing in a clearly defined geographical area.

There are 8 major characteristics of a state, namely; Population, territory, government, permanence, legitimacy, sovereignty, law and legal entity.

1. Population: There is no state without people. People must live in a state for it to exist.

The population of a state is made up of all the people who live there. The total number of people living in a certain region is referred to as a population.

Every state has its population, which may be smaller or larger than other states'. A state's population is not constant; it can grow or shrink year after year.

2. Clearly defined territory: A state must have its geographical area over which the government can exercise full control 

A state must have territory to ensure that its territorial unity and boundaries are adequately upheld.

It is important to note that the size of a state may change due to the acquisition or secession of land through political negotiations between countries, purchase agreements between countries or being overtaken by superior forces during a war

3. Government: Government is the machinery through which the will of the people is done.

A state must have government to safeguard the rights of the citizens and maintain law and order in the state.

The government also provides social amenities and infrastructure that can improve citizens' welfare.

There is usually a change of government from time to time, depending on the form of government prevailing in a state.

4. Permanence: The state is relatively permanent as it exists for as long as there is no secession or division.

Even though the government changes from time to time, the state continues to exist. 

5. Legitimacy: A state should also be legitimate in that it should be recognized by other states.

To ensure its legitimacy, the government must, at all times and without exceptions, seek the full support of its citizens.

6. Sovereignty: This refers to the state's ability to defend itself against external aggression.

To put it another way, sovereignty refers to a state's ability to control its territory without external influence.

Sovereignty also means that the government have absolute and supreme control over the activities of the state.

7. Laws: It is the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order in the state.

But to do this, certain laws must be in place to guide the behaviour of members of a state.

These laws ensure that every citizen knows what is expected from him or her by the state.

Indeed, Laws guide the activities of the government and citizens alike and stipulate how certain things are to be done.

8. Legal entity: A state is a legal entity. It can own property, enter into a contract, sue and be sued, etc. 

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