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Countries in Oceania

The continent Oceania includes 14 countries located in the South Pacific areas of Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Despite being the world's smallest continent (excluding Antarctica) in terms of both area and population, Oceania still covers some 3,291,903 square miles and is home to more than 40 million inhabitants. Australia alone is a huge country—the sixth largest in the world (and technically the world's largest island), covering five time zones and an area of 7.7 million km² (3 million mi²).

Sources disagree upon the precise boundaries of Oceania. The broadest definitions consider everything between mainland Asia and the Americas to be part of Oceania, including Japan and the Aleutian Islands. By comparison, the narrowest definitions consider even Australia to be a separate continent and include only the islands of the South Pacific. The most widely accepted definition places the countries of not only Japan but also Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines in Asia (for both cultural and geographical regions), and collects the remaining fourteen countries of the South Pacific region as Oceania.

The countries of Oceania display a wide variety of life expectancies, economic standings, financial markets, overall quality of life, and scores on the Human Development Index released by the United Nations. The most developed nations in Oceania are inarguably Australia and New Zealand, which the World Bank ranks as high-income countries. In contrast, countries such as Tuvalu and Kiribati are considered middle-income countries that have much further to go in terms of sustaining a healthy economy and population.

The three most populous countries of Oceania are Australia (24.7 million), Papua New Guinea (8.4 million), and New Zealand (4.7 million). Population numbers drop quite dramatically after these three countries, as most of the remaining countries are small islands and archipelagos. Fiji and the Solomon Islands are relatively well-known and have fairly substantial populations of 912,241 and 623,281, respectively, but other island nations, such as New Caledonia (279,821), Tonga (109,008) and Palau (21,964), are much smaller in scale. The smallest islands in Oceania are Niue, which lies around 2400 km northeast of New Zealand, and Tokelau, a remote group of atolls located between Hawaii and New Zealand, with a tiny population of just 1,319.

Oceania also includes a number of territories which are not recognized as full countries by the United Nations.

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Country
Parent Country
Area (km²)
Area (mi²)
American SamoaUnited States199199
Cook IslandsNew Zealand240240
French PolynesiaFrance4.2K4.2K
GuamUnited States549549
New CaledoniaFrance18.6K18.6K
NiueNew Zealand261261
Northern Mariana IslandsUnited States464464
TokelauNew Zealand1212
Wallis and FutunaFrance274274

How many countries make up Oceania?

There are 9 countries that are considered part of Oceania.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources