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How Many Countries are there in the World?

Territories, like Guam, are not considered countries by the United Nations.
Wales is a country that is part of the larger country of the United Kingdom.
Depending on the interpretation, there could be over 200 countries in the world, although the U.S. recognizes 193.
192 separate countries are members of the United Nations.
Though not recognized as a voting member, Vatican City enjoys permanent observer status in the United Nations.
Palestine is not recognized as a country by much of the world.
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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
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While it would appear to be a rather simple matter to determine how many countries there are in the world, it is in fact quite complex. This is due not only to the ever-shifting political landscape, but also because the term ‘countries’ is somewhat fluid and open to interpretation.

A narrow definition of what a country is might look at a well-established group — such as the United Nations — and take its list of recognized members. In the case of the United Nations, there are 193 recognized states, with 192 being members of the United Nations, and the Vatican City, which is a permanent observer with all rights of a member, save voting rights.

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One could also take an established definition for what a state is, and find all states which match those criteria. The most widely-accepted definition is given by the Montevideo Convention, from 1933. By these guidelines, a state must have a government, be in a position to interact with other states diplomatically, have a defined territory, and possess a permanent population. A rough count of these states would place the number of countries in the world at 201. That includes the 193 states recognized by the United Nations, as well as eight additional states. These are the Western Sahara, Taiwan, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. These states meet the criteria set out by the Montevideo Convention, but are all in a struggle with another, larger state, for independence, and so far have not been formally recognized by the United Nations.

An even broader definition could include some states which have been recognized by a number of countries, but have either failed to establish a steady government, or have failed to receive recognition by enough fellow states to truly meet the criteria of the Montevideo Convention. By adding in states such as the Cook Islands, Palestine, or the Chechen Republic, one could get to a much greater number of countries in the world — somewhere in the range of 210-230.

Going even broader, one can include countries that are part of a larger country, sometimes referred to as constituent countries. One obvious example of this would be the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — all making up the single country of the United Kingdom. In most counts of the countries in the world, these four countries are counted as one, but they could easily be counted as four instead. By including these sorts of countries there could be many hundreds, if not thousands, of countries in the world — especially if one were to start counting smaller states, such as California or Delaware in the United States, as independent in their own right.

Similarly, territories — such as the territory of Guam, a possession of the United States — are usually not counted in an official count, but are states by many criteria. These are referred to by the United Nations as Non-Self Governing Territories, and include an additional 16 territories.

So, how many countries are there in the world? 193 by the count of the United Nations. 193 also by the count of the United States Department of State. 201 by a tight interpretation of the Montevideo Conventions. Somewhere over 220 by a looser interpretation. And if we were to go by the number of countries that have their own domain suffix — such as .us for the United States, or .de for Germany — we would find 243. So there is no firm answer, but 193 is commonly accepted, and somewhere between 193 and 250 seems rather certain.

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Discuss this Article

anon943885
Post 138

I don't understand what you are all trying to say. Please give the correct answer! According to me, there are 249 countries in the world.

anon936526
Post 137

Clearly, there are 196 countries in the world.

anon927548
Post 136

There are 249 countries in the world.

anon925260
Post 135

Who gives a damn? The world is doomed because of borders.

anon356752
Post 133

204 is the final answer. It's done.

anon355713
Post 131

Nice details on anon337410 - Post 121. You just don't have a country #77, that's why your count is off.

anon355688
Post 130

I wanted to know how many countries there were. Just calm down people. You guys aren't in debate club, for crying out loud. I'm just going to stick with around 200.

anon354200
Post 129

They are more than 350 countries in the world, but it depends, because most countries that were recognized by the U.S.A. are not recognized by the other world powers and were not counted. Those countries include Kosovo, South Sudan, Taiwan, Greenland and many more.

anon353654
Post 127

Kosovo is part of Serbia, and it's not internationally recognized. They will never be part of the UN because Serbia did not recognize it, or Russia and China, who will veto on it. If you count them, than you can also count Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Republic of China (Taiwan), Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, Palestine, Western Sahara, Gibraltar -- and many others.

anon351365
Post 126

There are 223 countries.

anon351256
Post 125

It's funny. If you look at the Coca Cola website, they clearly state, "we operate in more than 200 countries around the world." So how can there be fewer than 200 in the first place? Clearly something must be wrong. I'm sure a company like Coca Cola knows its facts and has such knowledge on each market it sells in.

anon344324
Post 123

I think Sudan recently split into two?

anon337410
Post 121

1-Abkhazia; 2-Afghanistan; 3-Albania; 4-Algeria; 5-Andorra; 6-Angola; 7-Antigua and Barbuda; 8-Argentina; 9-Armenia; 10-Australia; 11-Austria; 12-Azerbaijan; 13-Bahrain; 14-Bangladesh; 15-Barbados; 16-Belarus; 17-Belgium; 18-Belize; 19-Benin; 20-Bhutan; 21-Bolivia; 22-Bosnia and Herzegovina; 23-Botswana; 24-Brazil; 25-Brunei; 26-Bulgaria; 27-Burkina Faso; 28-Bururndi; 29-Cambodia; 30-Cameroon; 31-Canada; 32-Cape Verde; 33-Central African Republic; 34-Chad; 35-Chile; 36-China; 37-Colombia; 38-Comoros; 39-Congo; 40-Costa Rica; 41-Croatia; 42-Cuba; 43-Curacao; 44-Cyprus; 45-Czech Republic; 46-Democratic Republic of the Congo; 47-Denmark; 48-Djibouti; 49-Dominica; 50-Dominican Republic; 51-East Timor; 52-Ecuador; 53-Egypt; 54-El Salvador; 55-England; 56-Equatorial Guinea; 57-Eritrea; 58-Estonia; 59-Ethiopia; 60-Federated States of Micronesia; 61-Fiji; 62-Finland; 63-France; 64-French Guiana; 65-French Polynesia; 66-Gabon; 67-Georgia; 68-Germany; 69-Ghana; 70-Greece; 71-Greenland; 72-Grenada; 73-Guadeloupe; 74-Guatemala; 75-Guinea Bissau; 76-Guinea; 78-Haiti; 79-Holy See; 80-Honduras; 81-Hungary; 82-Iceland; 83-India; 84-Indonesia; 85-Iran; 86-Iraq; 87-Ireland; 88-Israel; 89-Italy; 90-Ivory Coast; 91-Jamaica; 92-Japan; 93-Jordan; 94-Kenya; 95-Kiribati; 96-Kosovo; 97-Kuwait; 98-Kyrgyzstan; 99-Laos; 100-Latvia; 101-Lebanon; 102-Lesotho; 103-Liberia; 104-Libya; 105-Liechtenstein; 106-Lithuania; 107-Luxembourg; 108-Macedonia; 109-Madagascar; 110-Malawi; 111-Malaysia; 112-Maldives; 113-Mali; 114-Malta; 115-Marshall Islands; 116-Martinique; 117-Mauritania; 118-Mauritius; 119-Mexico; 120-Moldova; 121-Monaco; 122-Mongolia; 123-Montenegro; 124-Morocco; 125-Mozambique; 126-Myanmar; 127-Nagorno Karabakh; 128-Namibia; 129-Nauru; 130-Nepal; 131-New Zealand; 132-Nicaragua; 133-Niger; 134-Nigeria; 135-Niue; 136-North Korea; 137-Northern Ireland; 138-Norway; 139-Oman; 140-Pakistan; 141-Palau; 142-Palestine; 143-Panama; 144-Papua New Guinea; 145-Paraguay; 146-Peru; 147-Poland; 148-Portugal; 149-Qatar; 150-Romania; 151-Russia; 152-Rwanda; 153-Saint Kitts and Nevis; 154-Saint Lucia; 155-Samoa; 156-San Marino; 157-Sao Tome and Principe; 158-Saudi Arabia; 159-Scotland; 160-Senegal; 161-Serbia; 162-Seychelles; 163-Sierra Leone; 164-Singapore; 165-Slovakia; 166-Slovenia; 167-Solomon Islands; 168-Somalia; 169-South Africa; 170-South Korea; 171-South Ossetia; 172-South Sudan; 173-Spain; 174-Sri Lanka; 175-Sudan; 176-Suriname; 177-Swaziland; 178-Sweden; 179-Switzerland; 180-Syria; 181-Taiwan; 182-Tanzania; 183-Thailand; 184-The Bahamas; 185-The Gambia; 186-The Netherlands; 187-Togo; 188-Tonga; 189-Trinidan and Tobago; 190-Tunisia; 191-Turkey; 192-Turkmenistan; 193-Uganda; 194-Ukraine; 195-United Arab Emirates; 196-United States of America; 197-Uruguay; 198-Uzbekistan; 199-Vanuatu; 200-Venezuela; 201-Vietnam; 202-Wales; 203-Western Sahara; 204-Yemen; 205-Zambia; 206-Zimbabwe.

It was supposed to add up as 205, but I may have counted one country twice.

anon337379
Post 119

There are exactly 205 countries if you include abkhazia, curacao, greenland, vatican city, kosovo, england, scotland, wales, northern ireland, south ossetia, western sahara, montenegro, palestine, french guyana, taiwan, and nagorno karabakh, which are all partially on unrecognized countries.

anon296831
Post 116

It's 204. Count the world flags.

anon273140
Post 113

The point of the article is that any single number depends on your criteria for what a "country" is.

To state emphatically that there are "exactly 194" or "246, period!" or "over 300" is to miss the point. Some criteria will claim Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are separate countries, while others will consider them part of the United Kingdom. China considers Taiwan to be part of their country. The UN officially agrees, although informally, Taiwan is treated as a sovereign country by most nations. Northern Cyprus is recognized by only Turkey. And why would anyone consider the states of the United States to be separate countries? Or the territories? In other words, there is no set number of countries and there never will be.

anon252882
Post 112

Yes, anon191422 Post 109. We're all at least little confused, so keep your spirits up.

anon252557
Post 111

Kurdistan must also be recognized and added to the list!

anon209831
Post 110

the movie social network says it.s in 207. since FB rules the world now, that must be right.

anon191422
Post 109

Is the United States a country? I'm confused.

anon189838
Post 108

There are 205 countries if you include some of the countries such as mcdonald island, heard islan dhakit,i fiji, gibraltar, gaudelupe, guernsey and man in other countries. most are unknown too.

anon184348
Post 107

One country; god's country.

anon183943
Post 106

i hope tibet was classed as a separate country from china.

anon165724
Post 105

There are 192 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 192 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world. Although this number represents almost all of the countries in the world, there are still two recognized independent countries: the Vatican City and Kosovo.

The United States' State Department recognizes 194 independent countries around the world. Their list of 194 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies.

Meaning that over 98 percent of the western world sees that there are 194 countries. If you choose to disagree with this fact then you are disagreeing with the most intelligent minds in the world.

Depending on your definition of the word, the number of countries may vary. But, the definition here is without a doubt the one that you would agree with.

So to finish: There are 194 countries in the world.

David B., Associate Professor PhD, International Politics, Murdoch University

chas46
Post 98

#43 says it the best and most politely. If you were Dad's friend when I was growing up, don't think I'd be reading this now. Or if you married Mother.

chas46
Post 97

Impossible to tell. Like how many bird brains there are. Keeps changing every day. Though, I'm always counted among them, that you can be sure of.

anon163478
Post 96

As of May 2008, the United Nations has 192 members (including Montenegro and Serbia - the two newest nations). That number does not include the Vatican, and it doesn't (yet) include Kosovo (disclaimer).

anon160182
Post 95

Nagas declared the independence of their country Nagalim on 14 August 1945. These 5-million strong Nagas are Christians and they are yellow people like the Japanese. Burma and Hindustan have no right to continue their much-despised colonization of this Nagalim.

chas46
Post 94

Went quickly through the posts. #43 said it well and with good manners. Thank You. Countries and states are becoming like, states of mind.

anon157031
Post 93

number 25s comment is utter rubbish. I am English and live in England. I am not welsh, scottish or irish and neither do i live in those countries. We all have national sports teams in rugby, football, cricket etc.

In fact i am quite angry that such a comment has been made!

anon145468
Post 88

I overwhelmingly agree with number 43's opinion.

anon142847
Post 87

tell me just how many countries are in asia.

anon133600
Post 86

obviously there are over 450 countries, at least according to the latest U.N. data.

anon130097
Post 85

There are 192 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 192 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world.

There are still three recognized independent countries, the Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan (not recognized after 1971 due to China); so the total is 195.

The number of unrecognized countries is disputable.

anon128888
Post 83

please tell me how many countries there were in 2001.

anon128162
Post 82

i think there are 196 countries.

anon128161
Post 81

you are not clear about countries. There are 356 countries in the world.

anon124597
Post 79

There is a difference between "nations" and countries. Many "nations" such as "The Sikh Nation", The "Palestinian Nation", The "Mohawk Nation", The "Kurd Nation" are seeking recognition as "countries"; however, they are wannabes - on the global map.

The United States were formed as unified states, self-governing, yet no U.S. state has yet claimed and be recognized, successfully as an independent country. There are 193 universally recognized countries - educate yourself - then post instead of splitting school yard hairs and identifying your lack of education.

anon123061
Post 77

194 countries and that's that. --Geofreak

anon118183
Post 73

there are 195 countries.

anon113576
Post 71

there are 194 countries in the world.

anon111377
Post 69

you people are way too wrong. there are not flippin 300 countries. have you looked at a map? and i don't think it goes up to any more than 210, but 300, c'mon.

anon109743
Post 68
anon102936
Post 64

There are exactly 194 countries in the world!

anon98726
Post 63

23: The rest is just Socialist Fiction.

anon94502
Post 62

Please i really need to know the answer to this question. some people say we have 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 300. Please give actual answers. I'm confused. please kindly help with this answer because i really need to know.

anon92743
Post 60

i don't understand what you all are saying. some are saying 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 300. Please give actual answers. I'm confused.

anon91857
Post 57

194 excluding zimbabwe

anon89199
Post 56

You're all wrong. There are 249 countries in the world but if you included the states of america there'd be 301.

anon89029
Post 55

Not so smart citizens of the planet Earth, "there are no countries but just 1 great landmass known as the planet Earth"...

Earthlings need some proper education and must come out of their dark spheres.

anon88899
Post 54

There are 240 countries in the world.

anon83062
Post 50
anon79543
Post 48

In the next two years, a big country will born which is named Kurdistan-Kurdlan. Kurldland will will have a population of 45 million in Middle East between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Casso K.

anon78273
Post 47
anon76749
Post 45

I Ahtsham K., knew that there are 229 countries in

the all over world.

anon76584
Post 44

what is this? nobody can give a true answer. somebody says 192/194/195/200/300. which one is correct? you all make me confused.

anon76151
Post 43

Great article! Well tempered and objective, but still direct enough for answering the question. I'm sorry about the many posters who don't seem to understand why they cannot just state a firm number: the public are quite a literal bunch.

anon73911
Post 41
anon73198
Post 40

There are 300+ countries in the world.

anon72622
Post 39

You are wrong. there are only 246 countries.

anon71686
Post 38

I'm sorry to everyone that has put on an answer this but there are more than 300 countries in the world, so please check your answers.

anon71078
Post 37

There are 195 countries in the world.

anon70251
Post 36

164 countries

anon69490
Post 35

No, seriously, there are 194 countries in the world, my social studies teacher (an expert) said so. - March 2010

anon68321
Post 34

I think there are 215 countries in the world.

anon67854
Post 33

i think there are 435 countries belonging in the world but the truth is only 329 countries.

anon66199
Post 32

According to the CIA there are 249 countries in the world (including the Vatican city).

anon65619
Post 28

"By including these sorts of countries there could be many hundreds, if not thousands, of countries in the world – especially if one were to start counting smaller states, such as California or Delaware in the United States, as independent in their own right."

The difference here is that unlike states like taiwan or palestine, california and delaware do not seek independence.

If you add in the countries of native american nations alone, the count will be over 200.

It`s a biased count by the UN and ISO.

Consider this fact, there are about 7000 languages worldwide, give or take 100.

anon63989
Post 25

There are 195 countries in the world. These are self governing entities without binding ties to another nation. Thus the Vatican, Kosovo, and Taiwan are countries while England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Greenland and similar places are not.

anon60589
Post 24

I think its best to work with the UN figures that says 192.

anon60236
Post 23

Well, everything I keep reading on the internet says 196.

anon59583
Post 22

does it really matter? we are all doomed together.

anon59550
Post 21

233 countries.

anon58974
Post 20

you must be so specific to decide what a country is considered, do colonies count and etc. However there are 216 countries in the olympics. Thus would be a good estimate for the number of countries.

anon57947
Post 19

We live in Cae and we learn in school there are 237 not counting the vatican city.

anon57751
Post 18

Which is the correct answer?

anon56625
Post 16

Clearly the answer is 235. You're welcome.

anon56139
Post 15

195 is the final answer. It's done.

anon55059
Post 14

198 countries in the world.

anon55058
Post 13

i think there are 196 countries in the world.

anon54739
Post 11

i think there are 193 countries in the world.

anon46768
Post 9

Jehovah's witnesses preach Good News about God's Kingdom in 235 countries.

anon43914
Post 8

FIFA list 203 countries in their world football rankings.

anon37298
Post 7

U.S. State Department now recognizes 194 countries since the separation of Kosovo from Serbia.

anon37241
Post 6

how one can be sure about how many countries are there in the world? the contradictary statements on the net are confusing.please make sure of it in future.

anon36477
Post 5

Last time I saw in a 2009 encyclopedia, it followed the Montevideo Conventions and said 201 countries and that's what I follow.

anon36336
Post 4

You are not clear about how many countries there are in the world. how can i get clear about this. please give approximately how many countries in the world.

anon14064
Post 3

Newest Republic of the world is Federal Republic of Nepal. It was declared on 28th May 2008.

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