Smallest Countries 2019

There are many ways of defining which countries are technically the smallest countries in the world. It all comes down to what variable you take into consideration when determining the smallest countries. For example, if you look solely at population size, the list of smallest countries will differ from the order that lists countries based on total area.

Population size and total area are the two most defining ways of classifying countries based on overall size, so we’ll focus on these variables. Let’s look at the smallest countries in the world from these two different angles and see what trends we can find!

Smallest Countries by Population

The population size of a country is estimated during the census that is taken every ten years. In the United States, for example, there is actually a requirement set in metaphorical stone that requires the government to take a headcount of every single person that resides in the United States at that time.

The very first US census was conducted in 1940, and every year thereafter, the census has been a once-a-decade ordeal. In other words, the Census Bureau of the United States of America performs a decennial census. Prior to the official decennial census, there were similar acts of counting the number of people in the US and recording the population. These documents are kept safe by the National Archives and Records Administration of the USA.

To give you an idea of how population sizes can drastically change from one decade to the next, let’s take a look at the results of the United States census since the very beginning…

  • 1940 - 132,164,569 people
  • 1950 - 150,697,361 people
  • 1960 - 179,323,175 people
  • 1970 - 203,302,031 people
  • 1980 - 226,545,805 people
  • 1990 - 248,709,873 people
  • 2000 - 281,421,906 people
  • 2010 - 308,745,538 people

The year is currently 2019, so the ninth census to ever be taken of the population in the USA will occur next year in 2020. So, now that we’ve covered the process of determining the population of a country, as well as discussing how often populations are usually taken, let’s look at countries based on population size on a much more global scale.

Smallest Countries in Terms of Population

What is the least populated country in the world? The smallest country in terms of population is Vatican City. Here is the most recent list of the top thirty smallest countries based on population size alone, followed by their respective current populations…

  1. Vatican City - 1,000 people
  2. Tuvalu - 11,052 people
  3. Nauru - 11,359 people
  4. Palau - 21,431 people
  5. Monaco - 30,645 people
  6. San Marino - 33,537 people
  7. Liechtenstein - 38,244 people
  8. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 52,715 people
  9. Dominica - 73,897 people
  10. Marshall Islands - 74,539 people
  11. Andorra - 76,965 people
  12. Seychelles - 93,920 people
  13. Antigua and Barbuda - 94,731 people
  14. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 102,089 people
  15. The Federated States of Micronesia - 104,196 people
  16. Tonga - 106,479 people
  17. Kiribati - 108,145 people
  18. Grenada - 111,724 people
  19. Saint Lucia - 164,994 people
  20. Samoa - 200,108 people
  21. Sao Tome and Principe - 201,025 people
  22. Vanuatu - 282,814 people
  23. Barbados - 292,336 people
  24. Bahamas - 329,988 people
  25. Iceland - 339,988 people
  26. Belize - 360,346 people
  27. Maldives - 392,709 people
  28. Malta - 416,338 people
  29. Brunei - 443,593 people
  30. Cape Verde - 560,899 people

Smallest Countries by Total Area

The total area of a country refers to how much land is encompassed by the country’s borders. Often denoted in terms of miles squared or kilometers squared, the total area of a country is a numerical value of the country’s physical size.

Oftentimes, total area and population size go hand-in-hand. The total area usually determines the population size, because you cannot make more room, but you can control how many people live in a given area. However, there is not always a reasonable ratio between total area and population size, so a country that is one of the smallest in terms of population doesn’t necessarily end up being small in terms of total area.

What is the smallest country in the world by area? The country with the smallest area is Vatican City. Here is the conclusive list of the top thirty-four smallest countries based on total area...

Smallest Countries in Terms of Total Area

  1. Vatican City - 0.17 square miles
  2. Monaco - 0.78 square miles
  3. Gibraltar - 23.94 square miles
  4. Tokelau - 48.26 square miles
  5. Nauru - 84.17 square miles
  6. Tuvalu - 1,007.73 square miles
  7. Macau - 1,162.94 square miles
  8. Saint Martin - 2,054.06 square miles
  9. Bermuda - 2,093.06 square miles
  10. San Marino - 2,364.49 square miles
  11. Guernsey - 3,023.18 square miles
  12. Anguilla - 3,527.04 square miles
  13. Montserrat - 3,953.3 square miles
  14. Jersey - 4,496.16 square miles
  15. Wallis and Futuna - 5,503.89 square miles
  16. The British Virgin Islands - 5,852.54 square miles
  17. Liechtenstein - 6,201.57 square miles
  18. Aruba - 6976.48 square miles
  19. Marshall Islands - 7,015.48 square miles
  20. American Samoa - 7,713.16 square miles
  21. Cook Islands - 9,147.15 square miles
  22. Saint Pierre and Miquelon - 9,379.58 square miles
  23. Niue - 100,425.17 square miles
  24. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 100,811.66 square miles
  25. Cayman Islands - 101,970.35 square miles
  26. Maldives - 115,875.44 square miles
  27. Malta - 122,055.39 square miles
  28. Grenada - 132,870 square miles
  29. The United States Virgin Islands - 134,029.19 square miles
  30. Mayotte - 144,457.81 square miles
  31. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 150,251.66 square miles
  32. Barbados - 166,088.02 square miles
  33. Antigua and Barbuda - 170,723.18 square miles
  34. Curacao - 171,495.38 square miles

If you look closely at the two lists, there are multiple countries that can be found on both lists of smallest countries. This finding makes a lot of sense because countries that have a total area on the smaller side will often have a smaller population. Otherwise, the severity of overcrowding would be nearly unbearable.

While there are some instances in which relocating and moving to a lesser-populated country is possible, it is not always realistic for hundreds of individuals to up and relocate to another country simply because so many people already live in their homeland. In cases such as this, there is less of a correlation between a small amount of land and a smaller population.

Another exception to the assumption that a smaller land mass means less people is that some locations are incredibly remote or they are inhabited primarily by native people, so immigration is less likely to occur in these areas of the world. The outcome that you find with places under these circumstances is that the total area is quite massive, but the population size is far smaller than you would think for an area of that magnitude.

Rank Flag Name Population 2019 Area Area (mi²) % of Earth's Area Growth Rate Region Subregion
1Cape Verde549,9354,033 km²1,557 mi²< 0.1%1.13%AfricaWestern Africa
2Maldives530,953300 km²116 mi²< 0.1%2.96%AsiaSouthern Asia
3Malta440,372316 km²122 mi²< 0.1%0.26%EuropeSouthern Europe
4Brunei433,2855,765 km²2,225 mi²< 0.1%1.01%AsiaSouth-Eastern Asia
5Belize390,35322,966 km²8,865 mi²< 0.1%1.90%AmericasCentral America
6Bahamas389,48213,943 km²5,382 mi²< 0.1%1.00%AmericasCaribbean
7Iceland339,031103,000 km²39,758 mi²< 0.1%0.69%EuropeNorthern Europe
8Vanuatu299,88212,189 km²4,705 mi²< 0.1%2.46%OceaniaMelanesia
9Barbados287,025430 km²166 mi²< 0.1%0.13%AmericasCaribbean
10Sao Tome And Principe215,056964 km²372 mi²< 0.1%1.91%AfricaMiddle Africa
11Samoa197,0972,842 km²1,097 mi²< 0.1%0.49%OceaniaPolynesia
12Saint Lucia182,790616 km²238 mi²< 0.1%0.50%AmericasCaribbean
13Kiribati117,606811 km²313 mi²< 0.1%1.52%OceaniaMicronesia
14Grenada112,003344 km²133 mi²< 0.1%0.49%AmericasCaribbean
15Saint Vincent And The Grenadines110,589389 km²150 mi²< 0.1%0.34%AmericasCaribbean
16Tonga104,494747 km²288 mi²< 0.1%1.26%OceaniaPolynesia
17Seychelles97,739452 km²174 mi²< 0.1%0.66%AfricaEastern Africa
18Antigua And Barbuda97,118442 km²171 mi²< 0.1%0.86%AmericasCaribbean
19Andorra77,142468 km²181 mi²< 0.1%0.18%EuropeSouthern Europe
20Dominica71,808751 km²290 mi²< 0.1%0.26%AmericasCaribbean
21Marshall Islands58,791181 km²70 mi²< 0.1%0.65%OceaniaMicronesia
22Saint Kitts And Nevis52,823261 km²101 mi²< 0.1%0.73%AmericasCaribbean
23Monaco38,9642.02 km²1 mi²< 0.1%0.73%EuropeWestern Europe
24Liechtenstein38,019160 km²62 mi²< 0.1%0.29%EuropeWestern Europe
25San Marino33,86061 km²24 mi²< 0.1%0.22%EuropeSouthern Europe
26Palau18,008459 km²177 mi²< 0.1%0.56%OceaniaMicronesia
27Tuvalu11,64626 km²10 mi²< 0.1%1.20%OceaniaPolynesia
28Nauru10,75621 km²8 mi²< 0.1%0.81%OceaniaMicronesia
29Vatican City7990.44 km² mi²< 0.1%-0.25%EuropeSouthern Europe