Asia is the world largest continent both in terms of size and population. The continent is known for its large and dense settlements and also large areas of extremely low population density. Below are the 10 least populated countries in Asia according to population data from the World Factbook.
10. Turkmenistan - 5,351,277
Turkmenistan is the 10th least populated country in Asia with 5,351,277 people. The country is spread over 491,210 square kilometers in Central Asia bordering the Caspian Sea as well as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Ashgabat is the capital city of Turkmenistan.85% of the population are ethnic Turkmen. Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan while Islam is the dominant religion.
9. Oman - 4,613,241
Oman is located in the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern region where it has coastlines on the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. As of 2017, the population of Oman is 4,613,241. Nearly half of the population lives in the capital city of Muscat and the surrounding areas. Thus, 78% of Oman’s population is urban in nature. Nearly 45% of Oman’s population comprises of expatriates mainly from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Morocco. Islam is the official religion and also a religion of the majority in Oman. Arabic is the official language.
8. Mongolia - 3,068,243
With mountains and deserts covering large parts of Mongolia, the country has very little arable land and hence is one of the least populated countries in Asia. As of 2016, the population of Mongolia has been estimated to be 3,068,243. Nearly 40 to 45% of the national population is based in and around the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian is the official and most widely spoken language while Buddhism is the largest religion in Mongolia.
7. Kuwait - 2,875,422
Kuwait is a Western Asian country that has a population of about 2,875,422 although Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates that the country's total population is actually 4,437,590 with nearly 70% comprising of expatriates. The high number of expatriates in the population have been identified by the Kuwaiti government as a problem and deportations plans have been initiated in the country. With the oil industry acting as the backbone of Kuwait’s economy, the country has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Islam is the dominant religion in Kuwait and Modern Standard Arabic is the official language although Kuwaiti Arabic is used in everyday life in the country.
6. Qatar - 2,314,307
Occupying territory in the Qatar Peninsula in Western Asia, Qatar is a sovereign nation with a coastline along the Persian Gulf and with Saudi Arabia forming its only land border. The population of the country fluctuates considerably due to the huge migrant workforce’s changing numbers. As of 2017, the population of the country was 2,314,307. Qataris themselves are only 12.10% of the population of the country while ethnic Indians account for 25% of the population. Arabic is the official language while Qatari Arabic is the country's local dialect. Islam is the religion of the majority in Qatar.
5. Bahrain - 1,410,942
Asia’s third smallest nation by size (780 square km), Bahrain is the 5th smallest in the continent by population. This small island nation in the Persian Gulf is home to a population of about 1,410,942 people. The archipelago of Bahrain is centered on the Bahrain Island which is surrounded by smaller islands and islets. A large percentage of the country’s population comprised of foreign nationals including a large workforce from South Asia. The country is also the fourth most densely populated of the world’s nations. Al Muharraq and Manama are two cities of the country which hosts the major proportion of the country’s population. Islam is the official religion with Muslims account form about 70.2% of the population. Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, although English is also spoken widely across the country.
4. Timor-Leste - 1,291,358
An island nation in Maritime Southeast Asia, East Timor occupies an area of 14,874 square km in the eastern half of the Timor island. The country is the seventh smallest country in Asia by population. As of 2017, the population of East Timor is 1,291,358 people. The Austronesian and Papuans are the major ethnic groups inhabiting the country and as such both Austronesian and Papuan languages are spoken in Timor-Leste. Christianity is the most popular religion in East Timor.
3. Bhutan - 758,288
Bhutan is a small, mountainous country in South Asia. Located in the heart of the Eastern Himalayas, the country is endowed with natural beauty and a unique culture. The third least populated nation in Asia, Bhutan has a population of only 758,288 living in an area of 38,394 square km. The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha while Ngalop and the Sharchop are the two major ethnic groups of the Bhutanese population. Lama Buddhism is the religion followed by 75.3% of the Bhutanese.
2. Brunei Darussalam - 443,593
Brunei is a small country located in the Borneo island’s northern side in Southeast Asia. The country is nearly completely surrounded by Sarawak, a Malaysian state with the exception of a coastline along the South China Sea. Brunei is the second least populated country in Asia with a population of only 443,593, as of 2017. 76% of the population inhabit urban areas. Ethnic Malay constitute 65.7% of the population and Standard Malay is the official language of Brunei. Islam is the religion of the majority in this country.
1. Maldives - 392,709
The Maldives consists of a series of 26 atolls dispersed through an area of 298 square km in the Indian Ocean. The South Asian island nation is located to the southwest of Sri Lanka and India. With a population of only 392,709, Maldives is the smallest Asian nation both by size and population. Although the country is the least populated Asian nation, it has one of the world’s highest birth rates. As a result, the limited resources of the islands are strained and the wildlife is at threat. The Dhivehi constitute the biggest ethnic group while Sunni Islam is the state religion of the country. Maldivian, an Indo-Aryan language, is the national language of the Maldives.