A purok is typically composed of twenty to fifty or more households, depending on the particular geographical location and cluster of houses. The term purok is often applied to a neighborhood (zone) within an urbanized barangay, or a portion (district) of a less densely populated, but still relatively geographically compact, barangay. This contrasts with the sitio, which is usually a cluster of households (hamlet) in a more disperse, rural barangay.
If created and given a mandate by an ordinance of the barangay, municipality, or city, a purok could perform government functions under the coordination and supervision of their local officials. Sometimes, a member of the Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council) may be recognized as the leader of his or her purok.
New barangays are often created by officially enumerating which puroks and/or sitios are included within the territory. On rare occasions, a purok may also be enumerated in the creation of a municipality, as in the case of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao where the puroks of Libutan East and Pagatin I were directly named as one of the constituent parts of the new municipality. These two puroks were later recognized as full-fledged barangays by the Philippine Statistics Authority in early 2010.