The city districts are historically grown units and consist of 42 communal districts that, essentially, were added to the city of Essen during the last century. The last district to be added was Kettwig in 1975.
Larger communal districts are again subdivided into several city districts. Thus the communal district of Essen comprises the city districts City Centre, East Quarter, South Quarter, Southeast Quarter, West Quarter, and North Quarter. The communal districts of Rüttenscheid (Rüttenscheid and Margarethenhöhe), Vogelheim (Bergeborbeck and Vogelheim) and Altenessen (North and South) each comprise two city districts.