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          How Many Countries Are There In The World?

          By Ellen Kershner on May 26 2020 in Geography

          Political map of the world.
          Political map of the world.
          • There is 194 universally recognized countries (193 members of the UN plus the Vatican [Holy See] but places like Palestine, Kosovo and Taiwan are partially recognized which in crease the count.
          • State of Palestine is often included but it is only recognized by 138 UN members
          • Kosvo is also often included but is only recognized by 97 UN members

          If you were to ask ten people how many countries are in the world, you would probably hear ten different answers. Here at worldatlas, we state 194 countries based on the 193 that belong to the United Nations (UN) plus the Holy See (Vatican), which is a non-member observer state. These 194 countries have full international recognization as sovereign states by other United Nations members. 

          Differing Opinions

          Many sources such as worldometers state 195 countries, 193 UN members plus the two non-member states but in that count, they include the State of Palestine, which is only recognized in 138 of the 193 United Nations member states and countries like the United States, and Canada do not recognize it. 

          The United States officially recognizes 195 countries as well, it has a similar list of countries, but instead of recognizing the State of Palestine, it recognizes Kosovo. Only 97 out of the 193 United Nations member states recognize Kosovo. In particular, Spain is one of the biggest opponents due to its opposition to the Basque and Catalan independence movements within its own country. 

          Sources do not always agree on the total number of countries in the world. Looking at worldpopulationreview 500 Internal Server Error

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          Taiwan and Kosovo to be self-governed territories that both have substantial economic resources of their own.

          The latter fact is because Taiwan is considered as part of the Chinese territory; the same is correct for Kosovo being part of Serbia. With all the socio-economic, geographical, and political difficulties, this can all be subject to change over time.

          Generally, the UN seems to be a reliable source for the total number of countries. For a country to be a part of this organization, a country must apply for membership, be assessed, and then be voted in. The country has to be approved by the five permanent member countries: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

          Complicating Things

          The constant flux of politics and globalization are continually redefining countries, so agreeing on a final count can be difficult. In addition to the reasons already described, here are some additional facts.

          • Switzerland did not join the UN until 2002 and was a sovereign state before they came on board.
          • The United Kingdom plays a substantial part on the global economic front and is a permanent UN Security Council member. Even so, the United Kingdom includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. All four have complicated political histories – including territorial disputes. These are ongoing to this very day.
          • Greenland, on its own, is not a UN member country and operates much of its domestic affairs. However, it is controlled by Denmark, which is thousands of miles away in Europe. Denmark is also a lot smaller than Greenland!
          • Niue and The Cook Islands are not UN member states. They are both in free association with New Zealand. New Zealand is "members of "several UN specialized agencies." They are recognized as "full treaty-making capacity."
          • Also, there are a total of 39 regions that are dependent on other territories: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Macao, Western Sahara, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Mayotte, Channel Islands, Guam, Curaçao, Aruba, U.S. Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Northern Mariana Islands, Greenland, American Samoa, Faeroe Islands, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Gibraltar, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean, Netherlands, Cook Islands, Anguilla Wallis & Futuna, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Montserrat, Falkland Islands, Niue, and Tokelau.

          Breaking Down the Chart

          Running alphabetically from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the list of 195 countries provides some interesting information, including 2020 populations, land areas, and densities for each country. The five most highly-population countries are:

          1. China 1,439,323,776 (18.5% of the worlds’ population lives here)
          2. India 1,380,004,385 (17.7%)                              
          3. United States 331,002,651 (4.2%)
          4. Indonesia 273,523,615 (3.51%)
          5. Pakistan 220,892,340 (2.83%)

          Also notable is the fact that aside from the United States, the remaining four are all in the continent of Asia.

          Size-Wise

          Looking at landmass, a different picture comes to light. Russia is by far the largest, at close to twice the total area of Canada. Canada and China are similar, followed by the United States, and then Brazil.

          1. Russia 17,098,242 (mi²)
          2. Canada 9,984,670
          3. China 9,706,961
          4. United States 9,372,610
          5. Brazil 8,515,767

          Though Russia is the largest country, it is the ninth most densely populated; Canada has even more wide-open space, coming in as the 39th most densely populated.

          The Future

          Some researchers believe that there could be even more countries in the future. One of these is East & West Libya. This is because Libya has often been in turmoil, because of extremists there fighting for control and different governments trying to take over since Gaddafi was overthrown. Based in Barcelona, Spain, Catalonia is the country's financial center. Catalans have wanted a separate state for many years, although many are opposed to separation.

          Somaliland (part of Somalia) considers itself independent and has its own government, army, and currency. It had self-proclaimed independence and has informal ties with other countries. Formal recognition from the rest of the world is yet to come, though.

          Nope, Scotland is not a country; it is part of the United Kingdom. Some Scotlanders want to keep things as is, but others want to split. A 2014 referendum vote for Scottish independence did not pass, and the vote for Brexit revealed that 62 percent wanted to remain with the European Union.

          States With Full International Recognition

          CountryPopulation (2020)Land Area (Km²)Density (P/Km²)
          Afghanistan38,928,346652,86060
          Albania2,877,79727,400105
          Algeria43,851,0442,381,74018
          Andorra77,265470164
          Angola32,866,2721,246,70026
          Antigua and Barbuda97,929440223
          Argentina45,195,7742,736,69017
          Armenia2,963,24328,470104
          Australia25,499,8847,682,3003
          Austria9,006,39882,409109
          Azerbaijan10,139,17782,658123
          Bahamas393,24410,01039
          Bahrain1,701,5757602,239
          Bangladesh164,689,383130,1701,265
          Barbados287,375430668
          Belarus9,449,323202,91047
          Belgium11,589,62330,280383
          Belize397,62822,81017
          Benin12,123,200112,760108
          Bhutan771,60838,11720
          Bolivia11,673,0211,083,30011
          Bosnia and Herzegovina3,280,81951,00064
          Botswana2,351,627566,7304
          Brazil212,559,4178,358,14025
          Brunei437,4795,27083
          Bulgaria6,948,445108,56064
          Burkina Faso20,903,273273,60076
          Burundi11,890,78425,680463
          Côte d'Ivoire26,378,274318,00083
          Cabo Verde555,9874,030138
          Cambodia16,718,965176,52095
          Cameroon26,545,863472,71056
          Canada37,742,1549,093,5104
          Central African Republic4,829,767622,9808
          Chad16,425,8641,259,20013
          Chile19,116,201743,53226
          China1,439,323,7769,388,211153
          Colombia50,882,8911,109,50046
          Comoros869,6011,861467
          Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)5,518,087341,50016
          Costa Rica5,094,11851,060100
          Croatia4,105,26755,96073
          Cuba11,326,616106,440106
          Cyprus1,207,3599,240131
          Czechia (Czech Republic)10,708,98177,240139
          Democratic Republic of the Congo89,561,4032,267,05040
          Denmark5,792,20242,430137
          Djibouti988,00023,18043
          Dominica71,98675096
          Dominican Republic10,847,91048,320225
          Ecuador17,643,054248,36071
          Egypt102,334,404995,450103
          El Salvador6,486,20520,720313
          Equatorial Guinea1,402,98528,05050
          Eritrea3,546,421101,00035
          Estonia1,326,53542,39031
          Eswatini (fmr. "Swaziland")1,160,16417,20067
          Ethiopia114,963,5881,000,000115
          Fiji896,44518,27049
          Finland5,540,720303,89018
          France65,273,511547,557119
          Gabon2,225,734257,6709
          Gambia2,416,66810,120239
          Georgia3,989,16769,49057
          Germany83,783,942348,560240
          Ghana31,072,940227,540137
          Greece10,423,054128,90081
          Grenada112,523340331
          Guatemala17,915,568107,160167
          Guinea13,132,795245,72053
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          28,12070
          Guyana786,552196,8504
          Haiti11,402,52827,560414
          Holy See80102,003
          Honduras9,904,607111,89089
          Hungary9,660,35190,530107
          Iceland341,243100,2503
          India1,380,004,3852,973,190464
          Indonesia273,523,6151,811,570151
          Iran83,992,9491,628,55052
          Iraq40,222,493434,32093
          Ireland4,937,78668,89072
          Israel8,655,53521,640400
          Italy60,461,826294,140206
          Jamaica2,961,16710,830273
          Japan126,476,461364,555347
          Jordan10,203,13488,780115
          Kazakhstan18,776,7072,699,7007
          Kenya53,771,296569,14094
          Kiribati119,449810147
          Kuwait4,270,57117,820240
          Kyrgyzstan6,524,195191,80034
          Laos7,275,560230,80032
          Latvia1,886,19862,20030
          Lebanon6,825,44510,230667
          Lesotho2,142,24930,36071
          Liberia5,057,68196,32053
          Libya6,871,2921,759,5404
          Liechtenstein38,128160238
          Lithuania2,722,28962,67443
          Luxembourg625,9782,590242
          Madagascar27,691,018581,79548
          Malawi19,129,95294,280203
          Malaysia32,365,999328,55099
          Maldives540,5443001,802
          Mali20,250,8331,220,19017
          Malta441,5433201,380
          Marshall Islands59,190180329
          Mauritania4,649,6581,030,7005
          Mauritius1,271,7682,030626
          Mexico128,932,7531,943,95066
          Micronesia115,023700164
          Moldova4,033,96332,850123
          Monaco39,242126,337
          Mongolia3,278,2901,553,5602
          Montenegro628,06613,45047
          Morocco36,910,560446,30083
          Mozambique31,255,435786,38040
          Myanmar (formerly Burma)54,409,800653,29083
          Namibia2,540,905823,2903
          Nauru10,82420541
          Nepal29,136,808143,350203
          Netherlands17,134,87233,720508
          New Zealand4,822,233263,31018
          Nicaragua6,624,554120,34055
          Niger24,206,6441,266,70019
          Nigeria206,139,589910,770226
          North Korea25,778,816120,410214
          North Macedonia2,083,37425,22083
          Norway5,421,241365,26815
          Oman5,106,626309,50016
          Pakistan220,892,340770,880287
          Palau18,09446039
          Panama4,314,76774,34058
          Papua New Guinea8,947,024452,86020
          Paraguay7,132,538397,30018
          Peru32,971,8541,280,00026
          Philippines109,581,078298,170368
          Poland37,846,611306,230124
          Portugal10,196,70991,590111
          Qatar2,881,05311,610248
          Romania19,237,691230,17084
          Russia145,934,46216,376,8709
          Rwanda12,952,21824,670525
          Saint Kitts and Nevis53,199260205
          Saint Lucia183,627610301
          Saint Vincent and the Grenadines110,940390284
          Samoa198,4142,83070
          San Marino33,93160566
          Sao Tome and Principe219,159960228
          Saudi Arabia34,813,8712,149,69016
          Senegal16,743,927192,53087
          Serbia8,737,37187,460100
          Seychelles98,347460214
          Sierra Leone7,976,98372,180111
          Singapore5,850,3427008,358
          Slovakia5,459,64248,088114
          Slovenia2,078,93820,140103
          Solomon Islands686,88427,99025
          Somalia15,893,222627,34025
          South Africa59,308,6901,213,09049
          South Korea51,269,18597,230527
          South Sudan11,193,725610,95218
          Spain46,754,778498,80094
          Sri Lanka21,413,24962,710341
          Sudan43,849,2601,765,04825
          Suriname586,632156,0004
          Sweden10,099,265410,34025
          Switzerland8,654,62239,516219
          Syria17,500,658183,63095
          Tajikistan9,537,645139,96068
          Tanzania59,734,218885,80067
          Thailand69,799,978510,890137
          Timor-Leste1,318,44514,87089
          Togo8,278,72454,390152
          Tonga105,695720147
          Trinidad and Tobago1,399,4885,130273
          Tunisia11,818,619155,36076
          Turkey84,339,067769,630110
          Turkmenistan6,031,200469,93013
          Tuvalu11,79230393
          Uganda45,741,007199,810229
          Ukraine43,733,762579,32075
          United Arab Emirates9,890,40283,600118
          United Kingdom67,886,011241,930281
          United States of America331,002,6519,147,42036
          Uruguay3,473,730175,02020
          Uzbekistan33,469,203425,40079
          Vanuatu307,14512,19025
          Venezuela28,435,940882,05032
          Vietnam97,338,579310,070314
          Yemen29,825,964527,97056
          Zambia18,383,955743,39025
          Zimbabwe14,862,924386,85038

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