Halflings have no kingdoms, ancient magic or lost empires, and they are often overlooked (and underestimated) by the other races. That can either work for or against them. But they are a plucky race, and always manage to pull through. Broadly speaking, there are 3 distinct halfling cultures:
Shire halflings live in small secluded communities on their own, or amongst humans in their lands. Usually, they will have special dispensation from the local lord to manage their own affairs in exchange for an annual tribute. They tend to maintain strong community ties within their small groups, eschew any formal hierarchy of their own. Normally a council of landowners or respected individuals will elect or appoint a sheriff and other civic positions. Although they tend to keep to themselves, they have a strong code of hospitality both amongst each other, and with strangers.
Bands of wandering halfling gypsies travel from town to town to trade and entertain. Their colorful, pony-drawn wagons herald a carnival of acrobats, exotic animals & spectacles, fortune tellers and magical displays. Hawking exotica from far-off lands, gypsy halflings have a reputation as shrewd bargainers (and a less savory reputation as thieves and con-artists, too). They are thought to have a knack for prophecy and curses, providing legitimate witches and sorcerers, as well as charlatans a lucrative occupation.
Halflings form an underclass in several human cities, doing dirty work or employed as servants and entertainers. Urban halfling youths often turn to thievery, and organized crime is a feature of many an urban halfling community. They are looked down upon, literally and figuratively, by most other city-dwelling races, derisively called gutter goblins and similar names. As a result, urban halfling communities are self-contained, and close-lipped toward outsiders.