Continents by number of countries

There are 7 continents in the world. All of them, except Antarctica, are home to millions, if not billions of people. Each continent is also home to many independent nation states. Asia is the largest and most populated continent, while Australia and Oceania are the smallest and least populated. Africa has the most nation states of any inhabited continent, while South America has the fewest countries.

1. Africa – 54

map of africa

There are 54 countries on the African continent. The most populous country in Africa is Nigeria, which has over 206 million people. The smallest and least populated country in Africa is the island country of Seychelles, located in the Indian Ocean. The largest country in Africa by land area is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in Central Africa.

Due to the legacy of colonialism, Africa’s borders largely do not reflect the continent’s demographics in a way that respects the national aspirations of the peoples of the continent. Thus, most African countries are multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious. This has often led to internal conflicts, often violent, in several African countries. Africa also has the dubious distinction of being the poorest continent in the world. Almost all African countries are developing countries, and some of these countries are among the least developed in the world.

2. Asia – 48

map of asia
Map of Asia.

There are a total of 48 countries in Asia. Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world. About 4.677 billion people live in Asia, which is more than half of the total world population. Two countries in Asia, China and India, are respectively the first and second most populous countries in the world. Five other Asian countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan and the Philippines, have more than 100 million inhabitants. The least populated country in Asia is the Sultanate of Brunei, which has only 437,000 inhabitants.

Asia is home to the 2n/a and 3rd largest economies, China and Japan, respectively. Japan is the continent’s most developed country and the only Asian member of the G7. Most countries on the Asian continent are developing countries. This includes China, even though it is the second largest economy in the world.

3. Europe – 44

European map
Map of Europe

There are 44 countries located on the European continent. The largest and most populous on the continent is Russia, which has a population of around 146 million. Russia, however, is a transcontinental country, meaning it contains territory on more than one continent. In fact, most of the Russian territory is not in Europe, but in Asia.

Other most populous countries in Europe include Germany, with a population of around 84 million; the United Kingdom, with 68 million; France, with 65 million, and Italy, with 60 million. Europe is also home to very small countries, such as Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and Liechtenstein. In fact, Europe is home to the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, which has less than 1,000 inhabitants.

Europe is the most developed continent in the world, as most of the countries it hosts are developed countries. Some, like Germany and the Scandinavian countries, are among the most developed in the world. Europe is also home to 4 of the 7 members that make up the G7. Germany, United Kingdom, France and Italy are the 4e6eseveneand 8e respectively the largest economies in the world.

4. North America – 23

Map of North America
Map of North America

The North American continent has 23 countries. The largest country in North America is the continent’s northernmost country, Canada, which is also the second largest country in the world. To the extent that Canada is large, however, it is sparsely populated. Only 38 million people live in Canada. In contrast, its big neighbor to the south, the United States of America, is home to a population of over 331 million.

The third largest country in North America is Mexico. It is also the second most populous country on the continent, with around 130 million people living within its borders. Compared to Canada, the United States and Mexico, the other North American countries are relatively small. There are 7 countries in Central America and 13 in the Caribbean. The smallest and least populated country in North America is the Caribbean island country of Saint Kitts and Nevis. North America is home to the largest economy in the world, that of the United States. The United States and Canada are the most developed countries in North America, while most other countries on the continent are considered developing countries.

5. Australia/Oceania – 14

Map of Oceania
Australia/Oceania map

From one’s point of view, Australia is a continent unto itself, although in some parts of the world it is considered part of the larger continent of Oceania, which also includes New Zealand, Papua- New Guinea and many other countries which mostly consist of small islands. Australia and Papua New Guinea are the first and second largest countries in Oceania respectively. Australia is the most populous country in Oceania, while the small island nation of Nauru is the smallest and least populated. In total, there are 14 countries in Oceania, including Australia.

Australia has the largest economy in Oceania. It and New Zealand are also the most developed countries in the region. Apart from Papua New Guinea, the economies of countries in Oceania are tiny compared to those of other countries. So much so, in fact, that these countries are heavily dependent on aid from larger, more advanced countries.

6. South America – 12

Map of South America
Map of South America.

South America contains 12 independent countries. By far the largest and most populous country on the continent is Brazil, which has a population of almost 214 million. That’s almost half the population of the whole continent. Moreover, Brazil is so big that it borders almost every other country on the continent. Five of South America’s ten largest cities are located in Brazil, including the continent’s largest city, Sao Paolo, which has a metropolitan population of approximately 12 million, making the city even more populous than some South American countries.

The second most populous country located on the South American continent is Colombia, with an estimated population of 51 million. Argentina follows closely with around 45 million inhabitants, followed by Peru with 33 million and Venezuela with 29 million. The other countries of the continent have a population of less than 20 million inhabitants. Suriname is the least populated country in South America, with only 587,000 people living within its borders. Most South American economies are still developing economies, including Brazil, which is the continent’s largest economy, and the 9e the biggest in the world.