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Largest Countries in the World 2023

What are the largest countries in the world? The answers may surprise you. Maps can be misleading, so they're especially unhelpful for size comparisons. A much more accurate solution is to compare the actual area of each country. Area is typically measured in either square miles (mi²) or square kilometers (km²)—though, in certain circumstances (especially agricultural uses), hectares may also be also used.

Every country actually has two different measurements of area: land area, which is the area of all the land—and only land—in a given country and total area, sometimes referred to as Country area, which includes a country's land area as well as all the area taken up by lakes, reservoirs, inland rivers, and sometimes coastal and territorial waters.

For some countries, the difference between these two measurements is significant. For example:

CountryLand Area (km²)Total Area (km²)
Canada8,965,5909,879,750
United States9,147,4209,831,510

Note that the U.S. has a greater land area. But once Canada's more than two million lakes and inland waterways are added in, it takes the prize as the larger (and presumably wetter) of the two countries.

Top 10 Largest Countries in the World (by total area km²):

  1. Russia — 17,098,250 km²
  2. Canada — 9,879,750 km²
  3. China — 9,600,013 km²
  4. United States — 9,525,067 - 9,831,510 km²
  5. Brazil — 8,515,770 km²
  6. Australia — 7,741,220 km²
  7. India — 3,287,260 km²
  8. Argentina — 2,780,400 km²
  9. Kazakhstan — 2,724,902 km²
  10. Algeria — 2,381,741 km²

Not surprisingly, the largest country in the world is Russia, which spans a vast 17,098,250 km² across Eastern Europe and Asia. This is followed by Canada (9,879,750 km²) and its aforementioned two million lakes. The country ranked third changes depending upon the source of the comparison. Encyclopedia Britannica gives the third slot to China (9,600,013 km²) and places the United States in fourth. However, other sources, such as the United Nations and the CIA World Factbook, display a larger area for the U.S. and rank it above China.

The difference between the high and low estimates for the U.S. appears to be because one includes coastal and territorial waters, but the other does not. However, considering China's area does not seem to include coastal and territorial waters, and the U.S. is smaller than China until those waters are added to the mix, we'd give the nod to China. Source-to-source discrepancies such as this are common, even understandable. Determining the precise area of a sizable and irregularly shaped landmass is no small task, and there are no universally accepted guidelines for completing it. Some countries may measure their area using satellite surveys, and others may rely upon mathematical computations and manual estimates. Moreover, different countries have different philosophies regarding the inclusion of areas such as overseas territories, disputed regions, and (as mentioned above) various bodies of water. Whichever countries are third- and fourth-largest, South America's largest country, Brazil (8,515,770 km²), has a lock on fifth place. The only country in the world with the exact same name as its continent, Australia (7,714,220 km²), rounds out the top six.

Technically, the largest country in both Asia and Europe is Russia. However, because Russia is considered a European country in terms of culture and population, many sources designate Russia as the largest European country and grant the title of Asia's largest country to China. After Russia, the second-largest country in Europe is another judgment call: If considering the area of the mainland only, Ukraine's 603,550 km² would be the second-largest area. However, if one counts not only mainland France but also its overseas departments (such as Martinique and Mayotte), its area swells to 640,679 km², giving France the edge. Africa's largest country is Algeria (2,381,741 km²).

The smallest countries in the world are predominantly in Europe, Oceania, and the Americas. Vatican City is the smallest country in the world at a tiny 0.44 km², followed by Monaco at 2.02 km², both in Europe. Next are Nauru (21 km²) and Tuvalu (26 km²), both island countries in Oceania. The smallest country in the Americas is another island country, Saint Kitts and Nevis, which has an area of only 261 km².

Finally, what if the phrase "largest country" is actually a reference to a country's population rather than its physical size? The countries with the largest populations on Earth are (in order): China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and Pakistan. For a full list of the largest (and smallest) countries in the world, check out the table below.

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Country
Area (km²)
% of Earth's Area
Continent
Russia17.1M11.52%Europe
Canada10M6.73%North America
China9.7M6.54%Asia
United States9.4M6.31%North America
Brazil8.5M5.74%South America
Australia7.7M5.18%Oceania
India3.3M2.21%Asia
Argentina2.8M1.87%South America
Kazakhstan2.7M1.84%Asia
Algeria2.4M1.6%Africa
DR Congo2.3M1.58%Africa
Greenland2.2M1.46%North America
Saudi Arabia2.1M1.45%Asia
Mexico2M1.32%North America
Indonesia1.9M1.28%Asia
Sudan1.9M1.27%Africa
Libya1.8M1.19%Africa
Iran1.6M1.11%Asia
Mongolia1.6M1.05%Asia
Peru1.3M0.87%South America
Chad1.3M0.86%Africa
Niger1.3M0.85%Africa
Angola1.2M0.84%Africa
Mali1.2M0.84%Africa
South Africa1.2M0.82%Africa
Colombia1.1M0.77%South America
Ethiopia1.1M0.74%Africa
Bolivia1.1M0.74%South America
Mauritania1M0.69%Africa
Egypt1M0.68%Africa
Tanzania945.1K0.64%Africa
Nigeria923.8K0.62%Africa
Venezuela916.4K0.62%South America
Pakistan881.9K0.59%Asia
Namibia825.6K0.56%Africa
Mozambique801.6K0.54%Africa
Turkey783.6K0.53%Asia
Chile756.1K0.51%South America
Zambia752.6K0.51%Africa
Myanmar676.6K0.46%Asia
Afghanistan652.2K0.44%Asia
Somalia637.7K0.43%Africa
Central African Republic623K0.42%Africa
South Sudan619.7K0.42%Africa
Ukraine603.5K0.41%Europe
Madagascar587K0.4%Africa
Botswana582K0.39%Africa
Kenya580.4K0.39%Africa
France551.7K0.37%Europe
Yemen528K0.36%Asia
Thailand513.1K0.35%Asia
Spain506K0.34%Europe
Turkmenistan488.1K0.33%Asia
Cameroon475.4K0.32%Africa
Papua New Guinea462.8K0.31%Oceania
Sweden450.3K0.3%Europe
Uzbekistan447.4K0.3%Asia
Morocco446.6K0.3%Africa
Iraq438.3K0.3%Asia
Paraguay406.8K0.27%South America
Zimbabwe390.8K0.26%Africa
Japan377.9K0.25%Asia
Germany357.1K0.24%Europe
Philippines342.4K0.23%Asia
Republic of the Congo342K0.23%Africa
Finland338.4K0.23%Europe
Vietnam331.2K0.22%Asia
Malaysia330.8K0.22%Asia
Norway323.8K0.22%Europe
Ivory Coast322.5K0.22%Africa
Poland312.7K0.21%Europe
Oman309.5K0.21%Asia
Italy301.3K0.2%Europe
Ecuador276.8K0.19%South America
Burkina Faso273K0.18%Africa
New Zealand270.5K0.18%Oceania
Gabon267.7K0.18%Africa
Western Sahara266K0.18%Africa
Guinea245.9K0.17%Africa
United Kingdom242.9K0.16%Europe
Uganda241.6K0.16%Africa
Ghana238.5K0.16%Africa
Romania238.4K0.16%Europe
Laos236.8K0.16%Asia
Guyana215K0.14%South America
Belarus207.6K0.14%Europe
Kyrgyzstan200K0.13%Asia
Senegal196.7K0.13%Africa
Syria185.2K0.12%Asia
Cambodia181K0.12%Asia
Uruguay181K0.12%South America
Suriname163.8K0.11%South America
Tunisia163.6K0.11%Africa
Bangladesh147.6K< 0.1%Asia
Nepal147.2K< 0.1%Asia
Tajikistan143.1K< 0.1%Asia
Greece132K< 0.1%Europe
Nicaragua130.4K< 0.1%North America
North Korea120.5K< 0.1%Asia
Malawi118.5K< 0.1%Africa
Eritrea117.6K< 0.1%Africa
Benin112.6K< 0.1%Africa
Honduras112.5K< 0.1%North America
Liberia111.4K< 0.1%Africa
Bulgaria110.9K< 0.1%Europe
Cuba109.9K< 0.1%North America
Guatemala108.9K< 0.1%North America
Iceland103K< 0.1%Europe
South Korea100.2K< 0.1%Asia
Hungary93K< 0.1%Europe
Portugal92.1K< 0.1%Europe
Jordan89.3K< 0.1%Asia
Serbia88.4K< 0.1%Europe
Azerbaijan86.6K< 0.1%Asia
Austria83.9K< 0.1%Europe
United Arab Emirates83.6K< 0.1%Asia
French Guiana83.5K< 0.1%South America
Czech Republic78.9K< 0.1%Europe
Panama75.4K< 0.1%North America
Sierra Leone71.7K< 0.1%Africa
Ireland70.3K< 0.1%Europe
Georgia69.7K< 0.1%Asia
Sri Lanka65.6K< 0.1%Asia
Lithuania65.3K< 0.1%Europe
Latvia64.6K< 0.1%Europe
Togo56.8K< 0.1%Africa
Croatia56.6K< 0.1%Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina51.2K< 0.1%Europe
Costa Rica51.1K< 0.1%North America
Slovakia49K< 0.1%Europe
Dominican Republic48.7K< 0.1%North America
Estonia45.2K< 0.1%Europe
Denmark43.1K< 0.1%Europe
Netherlands41.9K< 0.1%Europe
Switzerland41.3K< 0.1%Europe
Bhutan38.4K< 0.1%Asia
Taiwan36.2K< 0.1%Asia
Guinea Bissau36.1K< 0.1%Africa
Moldova33.8K< 0.1%Europe
Belgium30.5K< 0.1%Europe
Lesotho30.4K< 0.1%Africa
Armenia29.7K< 0.1%Asia
Solomon Islands28.9K< 0.1%Oceania
Albania28.7K< 0.1%Europe
Equatorial Guinea28.1K< 0.1%Africa
Burundi27.8K< 0.1%Africa
Haiti27.8K< 0.1%North America
Rwanda26.3K< 0.1%Africa
North Macedonia25.7K< 0.1%Europe
Djibouti23.2K< 0.1%Africa
Belize23K< 0.1%North America
El Salvador21K< 0.1%North America
Israel20.8K< 0.1%Asia
Slovenia20.3K< 0.1%Europe
New Caledonia18.6K< 0.1%Oceania
Fiji18.3K< 0.1%Oceania
Kuwait17.8K< 0.1%Asia
Eswatini17.4K< 0.1%Africa
Timor Leste14.9K< 0.1%Asia
Bahamas13.9K< 0.1%North America
Montenegro13.8K< 0.1%Europe
Vanuatu12.2K< 0.1%Oceania
Falkland Islands12.2K< 0.1%South America
Qatar11.6K< 0.1%Asia
Jamaica11K< 0.1%North America
Gambia10.7K< 0.1%Africa
Lebanon10.5K< 0.1%Asia
Cyprus9.3K< 0.1%Europe
Puerto Rico8.9K< 0.1%North America
Palestine6.2K< 0.1%Asia
Brunei5.8K< 0.1%Asia
Trinidad and Tobago5.1K< 0.1%North America
French Polynesia4.2K< 0.1%Oceania
Cape Verde4K< 0.1%Africa
Samoa2.8K< 0.1%Oceania
Luxembourg2.6K< 0.1%Europe
Reunion2.5K< 0.1%Africa
Mauritius2K< 0.1%Africa
Comoros1.9K< 0.1%Africa
Guadeloupe1.6K< 0.1%North America
Faroe Islands1.4K< 0.1%Europe
Martinique1.1K< 0.1%North America
Hong Kong1.1K< 0.1%Asia
Sao Tome and Principe964< 0.1%Africa
Turks and Caicos Islands948< 0.1%North America
Kiribati811< 0.1%Oceania
Bahrain765< 0.1%Asia
Dominica751< 0.1%North America
Tonga747< 0.1%Oceania
Singapore710< 0.1%Asia
Micronesia702< 0.1%Oceania
Saint Lucia616< 0.1%North America
Isle of Man572< 0.1%Europe
Guam549< 0.1%Oceania
Andorra468< 0.1%Europe
Northern Mariana Islands464< 0.1%Oceania
Palau459< 0.1%Oceania
Seychelles452< 0.1%Africa
Curacao444< 0.1%North America
Antigua and Barbuda442< 0.1%North America
Barbados430< 0.1%North America
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines389< 0.1%North America
Mayotte374< 0.1%Africa
United States Virgin Islands347< 0.1%North America
Grenada344< 0.1%North America
Malta316< 0.1%Europe
Maldives300< 0.1%Asia
Wallis and Futuna274< 0.1%Oceania
Cayman Islands264< 0.1%North America
Saint Kitts and Nevis261< 0.1%North America
Niue261< 0.1%Oceania
Saint Pierre and Miquelon242< 0.1%North America
Cook Islands240< 0.1%Oceania
American Samoa199< 0.1%Oceania
Marshall Islands181< 0.1%Oceania
Aruba180< 0.1%North America
Liechtenstein160< 0.1%Europe
British Virgin Islands151< 0.1%North America
Jersey116< 0.1%Europe
Montserrat102< 0.1%North America
Anguilla91< 0.1%North America
Guernsey78< 0.1%Europe
San Marino61< 0.1%Europe
Bermuda54< 0.1%North America
Saint Martin53< 0.1%North America
Sint Maarten34< 0.1%North America
Macau33< 0.1%Asia
Tuvalu26< 0.1%Oceania
Nauru21< 0.1%Oceania
Saint Barthelemy21< 0.1%North America
Tokelau12< 0.1%Oceania
Gibraltar7< 0.1%Europe
Monaco2< 0.1%Europe
Vatican City< 1< 0.1%Europe
showing: 234 rows

What are the 10 largest countries in the world?

The 10 countries with the largest area are Russia, Canada, China, the United States, Brazil, Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakhstan, and Algeria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources