Largest Countries In The World 2021

map placeholder

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 is exactly what its name implies: The area of all the land—and only land—in a given country.
  • Total area, sometimes referred to as Country area, 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:

Country Land Area (km²) Total Area (km²)
Canada 8,965,590 9,879,750
United States 9,147,420 9,831,510

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.

Largest Countries In The World 2021

Rank Country Area km² Area (mi²) % of Earth's Area
1Russia17,098,2506,599,921 mi²11.52%
2Canada9,879,7503,854,083 mi²6.73%
3United States9,831,5103,617,827 mi²6.31%
4China9,600,0133,746,887 mi²6.54%
5Brazil8,515,7703,287,086 mi²5.74%
6Australia7,741,2202,969,121 mi²5.18%
7India3,287,2601,269,010 mi²2.21%
8Argentina2,780,4001,073,234 mi²1.87%
9Kazakhstan2,724,9021,051,811 mi²1.84%
10Algeria2,381,741919,352 mi²1.60%
11Dr Congo2,344,860905,115 mi²1.58%
12Saudi Arabia2,149,690829,780 mi²1.45%
13Mexico1,964,375758,249 mi²1.32%
14Indonesia1,916,862.20735,164 mi²1.28%
15Sudan1,854,105.41728,022 mi²1.27%
16Libya1,759,540679,182 mi²1.19%
17Iran1,745,150636,203 mi²1.11%
18Mongolia1,564,116603,746 mi²1.05%
19Peru1,285,220496,093 mi²0.87%
20Chad1,284,000495,624 mi²0.86%
21Niger1,267,000489,062 mi²0.85%
22Angola1,246,700481,226 mi²0.84%
23Mali1,240,190478,714 mi²0.84%
24South Africa1,219,090471,320 mi²0.82%
25Colombia1,141,750440,715 mi²0.77%
26Ethiopia1,136,242.50426,260 mi²0.74%
27Bolivia1,098,580424,052 mi²0.74%
28Mauritania1,030,700397,850 mi²0.69%
29Egypt1,001,450386,946 mi²0.68%
30Tanzania947,300364,804 mi²0.64%
31Nigeria923,770356,574 mi²0.62%
32Venezuela912,050353,748 mi²0.62%
33Namibia824,290318,687 mi²0.56%
34Mozambique799,380309,414 mi²0.54%
35Pakistan796,100340,418 mi²0.59%
36Turkey785,350302,455 mi²0.53%
37Chile756,700291,855 mi²0.51%
38Zambia752,610290,508 mi²0.51%
39Myanmar676,590261,159 mi²0.46%
40Afghanistan652,860251,761 mi²0.44%
41South Sudan646,883239,222 mi²0.42%
42Somalia637,660246,136 mi²0.43%
43Norway625,218124,988 mi²0.22%
44Central African Republic622,980240,472 mi²0.42%
45Ukraine603,550232,951 mi²0.41%
46Madagascar587,295226,598 mi²0.40%
47Botswana581,730224,652 mi²0.39%
48Kenya580,370224,022 mi²0.39%
49France549,087212,954 mi²0.37%
50Sweden528,861.06173,814 mi²0.30%
51Yemen527,970203,796 mi²0.36%
52Thailand513,120198,064 mi²0.35%
53Spain505,952.80195,313 mi²0.34%
54Turkmenistan488,100188,407 mi²0.33%
55Cameroon475,440183,521 mi²0.32%
56Papua New Guinea462,840178,656 mi²0.31%
57Uzbekistan448,924172,696 mi²0.30%
58Morocco446,550172,368 mi²0.30%
59Iraq435,052169,190 mi²0.30%
60Greenland410,450836,109 mi²1.46%
61Paraguay406,752157,006 mi²0.27%
62Zimbabwe390,760150,832 mi²0.26%
63Japan377,974145,881 mi²0.25%
64Germany357,580137,846 mi²0.24%
65Republic Of The Congo342,000132,012 mi²0.23%
66Finland338,460130,632 mi²0.23%
67Vietnam331,310127,848 mi²0.22%
68Malaysia330,241.20127,690 mi²0.22%
69Ivory Coast322,460124,471 mi²0.22%
70Poland312,690120,694 mi²0.21%
71Oman309,500119,467 mi²0.21%
72Italy302,068116,316 mi²0.20%
73Philippines300,000132,148 mi²0.23%
74Burkina Faso274,220105,365 mi²0.18%
75New Zealand267,710104,400 mi²0.18%
76Gabon267,670103,320 mi²0.18%
77Western Sahara266,000102,676 mi²0.18%
78Ecuador256,370106,861 mi²0.19%
79Guinea245,86094,901 mi²0.17%
80United Kingdom243,61093,759 mi²0.16%
81Uganda241,55093,238 mi²0.16%
82Ghana238,53092,074 mi²0.16%
83Romania238,40092,019 mi²0.16%
84Laos236,80091,405 mi²0.16%
85Guyana214,97082,978 mi²0.14%
86Belarus207,60080,134 mi²0.14%
87Kyrgyzstan199,94977,181 mi²0.13%
88Senegal196,71075,935 mi²0.13%
89Syria185,18071,479 mi²0.12%
90Cambodia181,04069,880 mi²0.12%
91Uruguay176,22069,879 mi²0.12%
92Suriname163,82063,235 mi²0.11%
93Tunisia163,61063,153 mi²0.11%
94Bangladesh147,57056,962 mi²< 0.1%
95Nepal147,18056,812 mi²< 0.1%
96Tajikistan141,38055,237 mi²< 0.1%
97Greece131,96050,948 mi²< 0.1%
98Nicaragua130,37050,324 mi²< 0.1%
99Eritrea121,765.8245,394 mi²< 0.1%
100North Korea120,54046,528 mi²< 0.1%
101Malawi118,48045,735 mi²< 0.1%
102Benin114,76043,472 mi²< 0.1%
103Honduras112,49043,422 mi²< 0.1%
104Liberia111,37042,988 mi²< 0.1%
105Bulgaria111,00042,799 mi²< 0.1%
106Cuba109,88042,415 mi²< 0.1%
107Guatemala108,89042,031 mi²< 0.1%
108Iceland103,00039,758 mi²< 0.1%
109South Korea100,40038,681 mi²< 0.1%
110United Arab Emirates98,647.9032,270 mi²< 0.1%
111Hungary93,03035,909 mi²< 0.1%
112Portugal92,23035,547 mi²< 0.1%
113Jordan89,31834,486 mi²< 0.1%
114Serbia88,36034,107 mi²< 0.1%
115Croatia88,07321,845 mi²< 0.1%
116Azerbaijan86,60033,428 mi²< 0.1%
117Austria83,87932,374 mi²< 0.1%
118Panama75,32029,111 mi²< 0.1%
119Sierra Leone72,30027,692 mi²< 0.1%
120Ireland70,28027,125 mi²< 0.1%
121Georgia69,70026,904 mi²< 0.1%
122Sri Lanka65,61025,325 mi²< 0.1%
123Lithuania65,29025,206 mi²< 0.1%
124Latvia64,59424,920 mi²< 0.1%
125Togo56,79021,919 mi²< 0.1%
126Bosnia And Herzegovina51,21019,767 mi²< 0.1%
127Costa Rica51,10019,725 mi²< 0.1%
128Slovakia49,03018,928 mi²< 0.1%
129Dominican Republic48,67018,787 mi²< 0.1%
130Estonia45,34017,458 mi²< 0.1%
131Denmark42,92016,634 mi²< 0.1%
132Netherlands41,54016,154 mi²< 0.1%
133Switzerland41,290.3915,936 mi²< 0.1%
134Bhutan38,39014,820 mi²< 0.1%
135Guinea Bissau36,13013,944 mi²< 0.1%
136Taiwan35,96013,970 mi²< 0.1%
137Moldova33,85013,065 mi²< 0.1%
138Belgium30,53011,784 mi²< 0.1%
139Lesotho30,36011,717 mi²< 0.1%
140Armenia29,74011,481 mi²< 0.1%
141Solomon Islands28,90011,154 mi²< 0.1%
142Albania28,75011,097 mi²< 0.1%
143Equatorial Guinea28,05010,828 mi²< 0.1%
144Burundi27,83010,744 mi²< 0.1%
145Haiti27,75010,712 mi²< 0.1%
146Rwanda26,34010,166 mi²< 0.1%
147North Macedonia25,7109,925 mi²< 0.1%
148Djibouti23,2008,955 mi²< 0.1%
149Belize22,9708,865 mi²< 0.1%
150Israel22,0708,017 mi²< 0.1%
151El Salvador21,0408,122 mi²< 0.1%
152Slovenia20,4807,825 mi²< 0.1%
153New Caledonia18,5807,170 mi²< 0.1%
154Fiji18,2707,053 mi²< 0.1%
155Kuwait17,8206,878 mi²< 0.1%
156Eswatini17,3606,703 mi²< 0.1%
157Timor Leste14,8705,741 mi²< 0.1%
158Bahamas13,8805,382 mi²< 0.1%
159Montenegro13,8105,331 mi²< 0.1%
160Vanuatu12,1904,705 mi²< 0.1%
161Falkland Islands12,1704,699 mi²< 0.1%
162Qatar11,4904,472 mi²< 0.1%
163Gambia11,3004,126 mi²< 0.1%
164Jamaica10,9904,243 mi²< 0.1%
165Lebanon10,4504,034 mi²< 0.1%
166Cyprus9,2503,571 mi²< 0.1%
167Puerto Rico8,8703,424 mi²< 0.1%
168Palestine6,0202,401 mi²< 0.1%
169Brunei5,7702,225 mi²< 0.1%
170Trinidad And Tobago5,1301,980 mi²< 0.1%
171Bermuda4,29021 mi²< 0.1%
172French Polynesia3,4711,608 mi²< 0.1%
173Samoa2,8401,097 mi²< 0.1%
174Luxembourg2,590998 mi²< 0.1%
175Reunion2,520969 mi²< 0.1%
176Mauritius2,040787 mi²< 0.1%
177Comoros1,861719 mi²< 0.1%
178Guadeloupe1,630628 mi²< 0.1%
179Faroe Islands1,396538 mi²< 0.1%
180Martinique1,130435 mi²< 0.1%
181Hong Kong1,110426 mi²< 0.1%
182Sao Tome And Principe960372 mi²< 0.1%
183Turks And Caicos Islands950366 mi²< 0.1%
184Kiribati810313 mi²< 0.1%
185Bahrain783295 mi²< 0.1%
187Dominica750290 mi²< 0.1%
186Tonga750288 mi²< 0.1%
188Singapore726274 mi²< 0.1%
189Micronesia700271 mi²< 0.1%
190Saint Lucia620238 mi²< 0.1%
191Isle Of Man570221 mi²< 0.1%
192Guam540212 mi²< 0.1%
193Andorra470181 mi²< 0.1%
196Palau460177 mi²< 0.1%
195Northern Mariana Islands460179 mi²< 0.1%
194Seychelles460174 mi²< 0.1%
197Antigua And Barbuda440171 mi²< 0.1%
198Barbados430166 mi²< 0.1%
199Saint Vincent And The Grenadines390150 mi²< 0.1%
200Mayotte374144 mi²< 0.1%
201United States Virgin Islands350134 mi²< 0.1%
202Grenada340133 mi²< 0.1%
203Malta320122 mi²< 0.1%
204Maldives300116 mi²< 0.1%
205Cayman Islands264102 mi²< 0.1%
207Niue260100 mi²< 0.1%
206Saint Kitts And Nevis260101 mi²< 0.1%
209Saint Pierre And Miquelon24093 mi²< 0.1%
208Cook Islands24091 mi²< 0.1%
210American Samoa20077 mi²< 0.1%
212Marshall Islands18070 mi²< 0.1%
211Aruba18069 mi²< 0.1%
213Liechtenstein16062 mi²< 0.1%
214British Virgin Islands15058 mi²< 0.1%
215Wallis And Futuna14055 mi²< 0.1%
216Montserrat10039 mi²< 0.1%
217Anguilla9035 mi²< 0.1%
218Monaco74.921 mi²< 0.1%
219San Marino6024 mi²< 0.1%
220Saint Martin5020 mi²< 0.1%
221Sint Maarten3413 mi²< 0.1%
222Macau32.9012 mi²< 0.1%
223Tuvalu3010 mi²< 0.1%
225Saint Barthelemy208 mi²< 0.1%
224Nauru208 mi²< 0.1%
227Tokelau105 mi²< 0.1%
226Gibraltar102 mi²< 0.1%

Largest Countries In The World 2021