How many countries are there in the world? → Total & List

How many countries are there in the world? While this might seem to be a simple question, the answer is quite complicated.

Latest UPDATE MAY 2022: If you ask how many countries in the world there are in 2022. Well, the answer is that technically speaking there are 197 countries in the world. From a travel perspective, you could argue there are 215 countries. Although it’s pretty complicated, solet’s have a look.

My attempts at visiting every country in the world was a thousand times tougher than I ever expected. Before I could contemplate finishing the goal, I had to sit back and answer my own question. ‘How many countries are there in the world?“. “200 or so?’ I thought. It’s so tough to get a definitive answer. Bear with me.

How many countries are there

How many countries are there in the world?

Generally speaking, I was right. There are around 200 countries in the world. But ‘generally’ doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to become one of the few people to officially do it! So I had to delve a little deeper. And the answer to how many countries in the world was found somewhere from the United Nations list (193 recognised countries) and the FIFA football list (211 members).

But how can you put an official number on it?

The problem is that different organizations have different stances on exactly what it takes to qualify as a country. Depending on the source, the number of countries can vary quite considerably, and there is no universal agreement on the total.

That said, the United Nations is generally regarded as the de facto authority on nationhood. Currently, the U.N. recognizes 193 countries as member states. It also recognizes two “observers states”, the Holy See/Vatican City and Palestine, which are self-ruling territories but not full-fledged countries.

However, even the U.N. list is not free of controversy. The U.N. does not currently acknowledge the self-governed territory of Taiwan (Republic of China), which was a member of the U.N. from 1945 to 1971, but is now considered a territory of mainland China. Similarly, as of 2020, roughly half of U.N. members still considered Kosovo to be part of Serbia rather than its own nation.

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By comparison, Britannica’s list of countries grants full nation-hood rights to Vatican City, Taiwan, and Kosovo for a total of 196 countries. Then there’s Wikipedia’s list of sovereign states, which mirrors the U.N.’s list of 193 countries and two observer states, then adds eleven sovereign states, including Taiwan, Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Cook Islands, and more for a total of 206.

Perhaps the most puzzling non-country is Greenland, a massive island between the north Atlantic and Arctic oceans, which certainly looks like it ought to be its own country—just like its tiny neighbor, Iceland. However, Greenland is not a U.N. member country and, while it controls many of its own domestic affairs, it is ultimately controlled by Denmark, a European country even tinier than Iceland, thousands of miles away.

Other sources use a less rigid definition of country and give dependent and disputed territories such as Greenland and the Gaza Strip their own separate listings. This is the reason the United States’ CIA Factbook lists 237 countries.

All of this demonstrates that it is not so simple to determine the exact number of countries there are in the world. Moreover, and the constantly changing nature of politics means that issues around sovereignty are unlikely to ever be fully resolved.

For the ultimate list of not just countries, but also territories and regions that have some degree of self-governance but are not universally considered fully-fledged countries, check the table below.

Not in the list

Not included in this total count of 195 countries are:

  • Taiwan – the United Nations considers it represented by the People’s Republic of China
  • The Cook Islands and Niue, both states in free association with New Zealand which are members of several UN specialized agencies and have been recognized “full treaty-making capacity”, but are neither member states nor non-member observer states.
  • Dependencies (or dependent territories, dependent areas, dependencies) and Areas of Special Sovereignty (autonomous territories)
  • Other countries recognized by the United Nations as not being self-governing

Where are the countries located?

Where are they located?

Of the 195 countries in the world:

  • 54 countries are in Africa
  • 48 in Asia
  • 44 in Europe
  • 33 in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 14 in Oceania
  • 2 in Northern America

List of countries

Below is the full table of countries ranked by the most populous and showing current population, share of world population, and land area:
See also: List with both countries and dependencies together । Alphabetical list of countries (includes dependencies).

हर जानकारी अपनी भाषा हिंदी में सरल शब्दों में प्राप्त करने के लिए  हमारे फेसबुक पेज को लाइक करे जहाँ आपको सही बात पूरी जानकारी के साथ प्रदान की जाती है । हमारे फेसबुक पेज को लाइक करने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें ।

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