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How Many Countries In The World?

Quick Summary

The number of countries in the world is a topic that can vary depending on different sources and definitions. According to the United Nations, there are 193 member countries, while other sources may include non-member observer states. Countries can also be categorized by continent, with Africa having the highest number. However, the exact number is not fixed due to disputed territories and varying definitions.


When it comes to the number of countries in the world, there is often confusion and varying information. Different sources provide different numbers, and the criteria for determining what constitutes a country can also vary. In this blog post, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the number of countries in the world, taking into account various sources and categorizations. Let’s dive in and explore the fascinating diversity of our global community.

United Nations Member States

The United Nations is an international organization composed of member states. It serves as a platform for countries to come together and address global issues, promote peace, and foster international cooperation.

According to the United Nations, there are currently 193 member countries. These countries have voluntarily joined the organization and have agreed to abide by its principles and purposes, as outlined in the UN Charter.

To become a member state of the United Nations, a country must meet certain criteria. These criteria include being a sovereign state recognized by other UN member states, having the capacity to enter into relations with other states, and being willing to accept the obligations set forth in the UN Charter.

Membership in the United Nations provides countries with a platform to voice their concerns, participate in decision-making processes, and contribute to global initiatives. It also allows them to access resources, expertise, and support from other member states in addressing various challenges and promoting sustainable development.

Non-Member Observer States

Non-member observer states are entities that have a status in the international community, but are not full members of the United Nations. These states have limited rights and privileges compared to member states, but they still play a significant role in international affairs.

The United Nations recognizes two non-member observer states:

The Holy See

The Holy See, also known as the Vatican City, is the spiritual and governing headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It is located within the city of Rome, Italy. Despite its small size, the Holy See holds a unique position in international relations. It has observer status in various international organizations and participates in diplomatic negotiations.

The State of Palestine

The State of Palestine is a partially recognized state in the Middle East. It encompasses the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority governs parts of the West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. The State of Palestine has been recognized by numerous countries and has observer status in the United Nations. However, its full recognition as a sovereign state is still a subject of ongoing political negotiations.

Non-member observer states have limited voting rights in the United Nations General Assembly. They can participate in debates, submit proposals, and engage in diplomatic activities. However, they cannot vote on resolutions or become members of UN specialized agencies.

Despite their non-member status, the Holy See and the State of Palestine actively contribute to discussions on global issues, including peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. Their presence in the international community highlights the diverse range of entities involved in shaping global policies and decisions.

Categorization by Continent

Countries can be categorized by continent, which helps in understanding the distribution and diversity of nations across the globe. Here is a breakdown of the number of countries in each continent:

Africa (54 countries)

Africa is the second-largest continent in terms of both land area and population. It is home to 54 countries, making it the continent with the highest number of nations. From Algeria in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Nigeria in the west to Somalia in the east, Africa showcases a rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes.

Asia (48 countries)

Asia is the largest continent in terms of land area and population. It is known for its vast geographical expanse, ranging from the deserts of the Middle East to the mountains of the Himalayas. With 48 countries, including China, India, Japan, and Russia, Asia is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and traditions.

Europe (44 countries)

Europe, often considered a separate continent from Asia, is located primarily in the eastern hemisphere. It is known for its historical significance, architectural marvels, and diverse landscapes. With 44 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, Europe offers a blend of ancient history and modernity.

Latin America and the Caribbean (33 countries)

Latin America and the Caribbean encompass a region that stretches from Mexico in North America to Argentina in South America, including the islands of the Caribbean Sea. With 33 countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Cuba, this region is known for its vibrant cultures, stunning beaches, and rich biodiversity.

Oceania (14 countries)

Oceania is a region comprising thousands of islands scattered across the Pacific Ocean. It includes countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. With 14 countries, Oceania is known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse marine life, and indigenous cultures.

Northern America (2 countries)

Northern America consists of just two countries: Canada and the United States. These countries are located in the northern part of the American continent and share a border with each other. Northern America is known for its economic power, technological advancements, and diverse landscapes.

Varying Definitions and Disputed Territories

Determining the exact number of countries in the world can be a challenging task due to varying definitions and disputed territories. Different sources may have different criteria for what constitutes a country, leading to discrepancies in the count.

For example, some sources may consider territories with limited international recognition as separate countries, while others may not. This can result in variations in the total number of countries reported.

Additionally, there are disputed territories and regions where multiple countries may claim sovereignty. These disputes can further complicate the determination of the number of countries in the world.

Examples of disputed territories include Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan, and the South China Sea, where multiple countries have overlapping territorial claims.

It is important to note that the number of countries in the world is not fixed and can change over time as political situations evolve and new territories gain independence or international recognition.

Ranking by Population and Land Area

Understanding the diversity and size of countries can be achieved by examining their population and land area. One of the external sources we consulted provides a comprehensive table ranking countries based on these factors.

Population is a crucial indicator of a country’s size and influence. It reflects the number of people residing within its borders and can provide insights into its cultural, economic, and political dynamics. The table ranks countries from the most populous to the least populous, allowing us to identify the countries with the largest populations.

At the top of the list, we find China, with a population of over 1.4 billion people. India closely follows with a population exceeding 1.3 billion. The United States, Indonesia, and Pakistan complete the top five most populous countries.

On the other hand, land area refers to the physical territory occupied by a country. It can provide an understanding of a country’s geographical size and potential resources. The table also ranks countries based on land area, allowing us to identify the largest countries in terms of physical expanse.

At the top of the list for land area is Russia, with its vast territory spanning across Eurasia. Canada, the United States, China, and Brazil also rank high in terms of land area.

By examining the rankings based on population and land area, we can gain valuable insights into the diversity and size of countries around the world. It is important to note that these rankings may change over time as populations grow or shrink and borders may shift.


In conclusion, this blog post has provided a comprehensive overview of the number of countries in the world. According to the United Nations, there are 193 member countries, along with 2 recognized non-member observer states, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. However, it is important to note that the number of countries can vary depending on different sources and definitions.

We have also discussed the categorization of countries by continent, with Africa having 54 countries, Asia having 48 countries, Europe having 44 countries, Latin America and the Caribbean having 33 countries, Oceania having 14 countries, and Northern America having 2 countries.

Furthermore, we have highlighted the challenges in determining the exact number of countries, including disputed territories and varying definitions. It is important to recognize that the political landscape is constantly evolving, and new countries may emerge or existing ones may change their status.

We encourage readers to explore further and learn more about the countries of the world. Understanding the diversity and complexity of different nations can broaden our perspectives and foster a greater appreciation for global cultures and societies.


  1. https://www.worldometers.info/geography/how-many-countries-are-there-in-the-world/
  2. https://www.britannica.com/story/how-many-countries-are-there-in-the-world
  3. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/countries_of_the_world.htm

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