World Facts

The Least Populated Countries In The World

Geographical isolation, small land areas, and harsh weather all contribute to many of these minute population sizes.

The images that we are used to when we talk about many countries are usually those of excess: large masses of land, numerous roads and buildings, and large groups of people. Particularly, when discussing the populations of countries, people expect such numbers to be in the millions rather the tens of thousands. Nevertheless, there are indeed countries with very small populations that rarely grab our attention in the news, and subsequently not many people are aware of their existence. When you mention the name of a large country with a similarly huge population to any average person on the streets, he or she is likely to have some idea of its existence or even where its located. On the other hand, if you mention a small British territory in the Caribbean to the average person, chances are that he or she will not have any scope of knowledge pertaining to it.

​Smallest National Populations

With a population of only 792 people, Vatican City has the smallest population of any country in the world. Vatican City is also the smallest country in the world by land area. The Pacific nation of Tuvalu is the second most populated country in the world, with only 11,192 residents. Tokelau, Niue, the Falkland Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Montserrat, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon all have smaller populations than Tuvalu, but they are territories of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and France, respectively, and so are not included on the list of the world's least populated countries.

Factors Contributing to Small Population Sizes

The countries that are least populated in the world are often also some of the most isolated. A majority of them are small islands that are expensive or otherwise inconvenient to reach, meaning that the most common conventional means of travel to them is via a private plane or ship. Therefore, fewer people tend to visit or migrate to these locales. There are also countries that are located in places with very harsh weather conditions that do not appeal to many people. Most of the Islands in the West Indies and the Caribbean have very small populations because of the small sizes of their landmasses. They can therefore only accommodate a small number of people because of limited space resources. These isolated islands do not present a lot of options to their young populations looking for new challenges and prospects in terms of career development, while faraway images of the skyscrapers of New York or studios of Los Angeles promise far more opportunities. In many places, a combination of adverse weather conditions and small size has greatly contributed to their small populations. While there are many factors that leave fewer people desiring to migrate to the least populated countries, those listed above are the most common reasons.

Prospects for Growth

Statistics indicate that most people would rather use these less populated places for a remote vacation while continuing to live in populated countries. Aside from a few countries like the Vatican City, Monaco and Liechtenstein which border other European nations, most of the least populated countries are far more isolated and seem inaccessible to most people. There is little likelihood for many of the least populated countries in the world to witness a marked increase in the size of population anytime soon. In fact, many of the reasons that have left them with so few residents are largely unchangeable, and many of those listed are actually losing people as they seek lives elsewhere.

Countries With The Smallest Populations

1Vatican City451
4San Marino31,595
7Marshall Islands52,898
8Northern Mariana Islands54,541
9St. Kitts and Nevis54,944
10American Samoa55,434
12Cayman Islands59,172
16Antigua and Barbuda90,900
19Micronesia, Fed. Sts.104,044
20Virgin Islands (U.S.)104,170
23St. Vincent and the Grenadines109,360
26Sao Tome and Principe186,342
29New Caledonia266,000
30French Polynesia279,781

More in World Facts