Tropical countries are nations that are located in the tropics, the belt-shaped region of the Earth closest to the Equator, horizontally bordered by the Tropic of Cancer to the north and the Tropic of Capricorn to the south. The tropics make up about 40% of the planet's surface area and are home to approximately 40% of the world's population. Due to higher-than-average population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that the percentage of the world's population living in the tropics will reach 50% sometime in the late 2030s/2040s.
Tropical countries tend to have hotter, wetter, more humid weather than countries located in the middle latitudes/temperate regions and the polar regions. Most tropical countries have a tropical climate, in which the average monthly temperatures are always 18°C (64.4°F) or higher and the year consists of two seasons: the wet/rainy season, in which most rainfall occurs, and the dry season. Non-tropical climates do exist, however, as evidenced by dry regions such as the Sahara Desert and Australian Outback, the alpine tundra in parts of Chile and Peru, and the snowcaps on mountains such as Hawaii's Mauna Kea and New Guinea's Puncak Jaya. Ecosystems in tropical countries are diverse, including tropical rainforests, "dry" deciduous forests, and deserts.
Top 5 Most Surprising Tropical Countries
More than 125 of the world's countries and territories are geographically located at least partially in the tropics (a full list appears below). This includes several countries that may not be traditionally considered tropical countries.
|Argentina||The overwhelming majority of South America's second-largest country is located south of the Tropic of Capricorn, placing it firmly in a temperate zone. However, the northernmost tip stretches up to touch the tropics, earning it a spot on the list of tropical countries|
|Chile||Along with Argentina, this slender South American nation reaches further south than any other country, nearly touching Antarctica. However, just like Argentina, its northern end extends into the tropics.|
|China||Well over 90% of this massive Asian country rests in the temperate zone north of the Tropics, but its very southernmost tip dips down into the Tropic of Cancer.|
|Egypt||Even a passing mention of this African nation summons visions of pyramids, the sphinx, and sand as far as the eye can see. But the southernmost 15% (approximately) of its territory lies within the tropics.|
|United States||The U.S. mainland is entirely located in the temperate zone. However, Alaska touches the Arctic Circle and the island state of Hawaii is located entirely in the tropics, making the U.S. the only country that touches both the Arctic and the Tropics.|
Perhaps just as surprising are the countries one would imagine are tropical, but which in fact are located in temperate zones For example, neither North Korea nor South Korea are tropical countries. Nor are exotic, but temperate Morocco, Bhutan, and Tunisia.
For a full list of tropical countries and the continents in which they are located, see the table below.