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How Many Countries are in the World?

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Most of the current experts and international authorities agree on 194 countries in existence, however, different international bodies differ greatly on how many countries there are. The 194 countries does not include Kosovo (disclaimer), or  Palestine or Western Sahara or Taiwan or  Greenland or many other partly recognized states .

There are few questions that are more difficult to answer than the total number of countries in the world, as there is no single correct answer. When looking at official statistics from various governmental and international agencies from around the globe, a great deal of discrepancy is seen for this figure. Depending upon the source you acknowledge, there may be 189, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195 or 196 independent countries in existence upon our globe today.

Member States In The United Nations

As of May 1, 2008, the United Nations had 193 official members. This number does not include the Palestine or the Vatican/Holy See (who act as non-member observers), Taiwan (whose credentials have at large been rejected by the UN since 1971), or Kosovo (which is not a UN member, but does participate actively in actions of the UN’s International Monetary Fund and World Bank). (disclaimer)

How Many Countries Does The United States Recognize?

The US State Department recognizes 195 independent countries around the world, but that list of countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America. For example, it includes Kosovo, but does not officially include Taiwan, as China claims that Taiwan (the ROC) is simply a province of China. Such recognition is meant to appease trading partners of the US, and further its diplomatic objectives. Such geopolitical factors are by and in large why defining an official number of independent countries around the globe is such an arduous task.

Is Taiwan An Independent Country?

Taiwan (a.k.a. The Republic of China (ROC)) is a sovereign, unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic. Its jurisdiction is almost entirely comprised by the island of Taiwan, where the capital Taipei is located, and smaller holdings over adjacent islands amidst the East China, South China, and Philippine Seas, the Taiwan and Luzon Straits. The country was formed in 1949 after the then-in-power Nationalists were defeated by the Communists (who took over the Chinese mainland and most of Mongolia) and subsequently relocated to Taiwan. Although the Taiwanese (ROC) government is the remnant of the legitimate government in place before the Communists established the People’s Republic of China (PRC), many countries have failed to recognize it claims to sovereignty as a self-governing independent nation, as the economically and militarily powerful PRC has threatened to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions against those countries choosing to recognize Taiwan.

Is Western Sahara An Independent Country?

Western Sahara is a territory in northwest Africa whose governance has been in dispute between the native Sahrawi and the Kingdom of Morocco for more than 40 years.

Is Palestine An Independent Country?

The State of Palestine, carrying on the name held by the British possession predating the 1947 establishment of the State of Israel, is recognized by 136 UN members. An Algerian-based government in exile declared Palestine’s independence from Israel in 1988, and diplomatic contentions and combat between the two are still carried on to this very day

Is Kosovo An Independent Country?

Kosovo may very well have some of the least clear national boundaries and status concerning its independent sovereignty from among all of the world’s political entities today. Formerly a part of the Communist nation of Yugoslavia, after that country’s dissolution in 1991, Kosovo became part of the newly formed Serbia and Montenegro in 1992. After Serbia and Montenegro split in 2006, the Serbian province of Kosovo’s Parliament, with its majority Albanian population, elected to form a separate republic itself two years later. Today, recognition of the Republic of Kosovo receives mixed perceptions internationally, with Kosovo, 108 UN member countries, and Taiwan viewing it as its own independent nation, while Serbia and others view it as an autonomous Serbian province.

Is The United Kingdom One Country Or 4 Countries?

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, though considered individual countries themselves by many observers, are in fact constituent parts of the United Kingdom (UK), as recognized by the United Nations, United States, and European Union. Therefore, they are all included within the United Kingdom as a single country our list below. 

Is Greenland An Independent Country?

What about Greenland? In a nation-wide referendum, the people voted in favor of increased self-rule in November 2008 by an overwhelming majority vote. With the referendum, Greenland acquired complete responsibility for its own internal affairs in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government, and the Danish monarch still accepted as a head of state. In that regard, Greenland is still a part of Denmark, and not recognized as an official independent country. Technically, we consider it a constituent autonomous state: a self-governing political entity that is still within the realm of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Internationally Recognized Countries

National boundaries and sovereignties are constantly shifting, but our list of independent nations, shown below, provides a fairly complete picture of the globe’s geopolitical demarcations as they stand today. Please note that we don't say this list is the ONLY answer, just that it's the best answer we can provide with the information we have on hand.

A complete list of Countries by Continent

A complete list of Dependencies and Territories of the world

Two and Three Letter Country Codes

List Of Countries In The World

Countries profiles and maps included

(A) (B) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G)


(I) (J) (K) (L) (M) (N) (O)
  • Oman (Muscat) (AS)


(Q) (R) (S) (T) (U) (V) (Y) (Z)

Sources: worldatlas.com

A complete list of Countries by Continent

A complete list of Dependencies and Territories of the world

Two and Three Letter Country Codes

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This page was last modified on May 3, 2016.