Smallest Countries 2020

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 on August 2, 1790 and has been conducted every ten years since then. 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 1940:

  • 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 next United States Census will be taken 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
  2. Tuvalu - 11,192
  3. Nauru – 13,649
  4. Palau - 21,729
  5. San Marino - 33,400
  6. Liechtenstein - 38,547
  7. Monaco – 38,695
  8. Saint Kitts and Nevis – 55,345
  9. Marshall Islands – 58,889
  10. Dominica - 73,925
  11. Andorra - 76,965
  12. Seychelles - 95,843
  13. Antigua and Barbuda – 102,012
  14. The Federated States of Micronesia - 105,544
  15. Tonga – 108,020
  16. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 109,897
  17. Grenada - 113,003
  18. Kiribati – 116,398
  19. Saint Lucia – 182,790
  20. Samoa – 197,097
  21. Sao Tome and Principe – 215,056
  22. Barbados – 287,025
  23. Vanuatu – 299,882
  24. Iceland – 360,390
  25. Bahamas – 389,482
  26. Belize – 390,353
  27. Brunei – 433,285
  28. Malta – 493,559
  29. Maldives – 530,593
  30. Cape Verde – 549,935

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. San Marino – 24 square miles
  5. Tokelau - 48.26 square miles
  6. Nauru - 84.17 square miles
  7. Tuvalu - 1,007.73 square miles
  8. Macau - 1,162.94 square miles
  9. Saint Martin - 2,054.06 square miles
  10. Bermuda - 2,093.06 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

Trends Between the Two Categories of Determining the Smallest Countries

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.

Smallest Countries 2020