The continent of Europe is home to some very populous countries, such as Russia, Germany, France, and the UK. But it is also home to countries that have very small populations. Many of Europe’s least populous countries have populations that are dwarfed by the continent’s big cities. Introducing Europe’s least populous countries.
The 10 Least Populous Countries In Europe
- Vatican City - 825
- San Marino - 33,860
- Liechtenstein - 38,020
- Monaco - 38,960
- Andorra - 77,140
- Iceland - 361,310
- Malta - 502,650
- Luxembourg - 619,900
- Montenegro - 622,140
- Estonia - 1,326,590
1. Vatican City - 825
The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is the least populous country, not just in Europe, but in the entire world. Just 825 people live in the 0.17 square miles (0.44 sq. km) that comprises Vatican City, which also makes it the smallest country in the world by land area. Vatican City is surrounded on all sides by the city of Rome, Italy’s capital. The tiny enclave’s ruler and head of state is the Pope, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The population of the Vatican is composed mostly of priests and nuns that hail from many different countries around the world.
2. San Marino - 33,860
Like Vatican City, San Marino is also surrounded by territory belonging to Italy. The country, located in the vicinity of north-central Italy, close to the Italian coastline that borders the Adriatic Sea, has just 33,860 people living within its tiny land mass of 23.6 square miles (61.2 square km). The people native to the tiny state refer to themselves as Sammarinese. Most of the rest of the population is Italian, and Italian is also the state’s official language.
3. Liechtenstein - 38,020
The tiny principality of Liechtenstein is sandwiched between the landlocked countries of Switzerland and Austria. In fact, it is one of just two countries in the world that are double landlocked. Liechtenstein’s population is just 38,020, most of whom speak German, the country’s official language. Most of the rest of the population in Liechtenstein hails from neighboring Switzerland and Austria. Like Vatican City and San Marino, Liechtenstein is very small in area, though it is bigger than both of them at 61.7 square miles (160 sq. km).
4. Monaco - 38,960
Monaco is located on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by France to its north, east, and west. It is the second smallest country in both Europe and the world by land area, comprising just 0.75 square miles (1.21 sq. km). Monaco’s population is just 38,960, but the fact that the people of this country are packed into such a small space makes it the most densely populated country in the world, with a population density of 68,212 people per square mile (26,337 per sq. km). While Monaco lacks in size and population, it certainly does not lack in wealth. In fact, 32% of the country’s population are millionaires.
5. Andorra - 77,140
Andorra is located in the Pyrenees Mountains, sandwiched between France and Spain. Its population is just 77,140. The country’s official language is Catalan, which is also spoken in the region of Catalonia that straddles the eastern part of the French-Spanish border. Interestingly, however, the largest ethnic group in Andorra are not native Andorrans, but Spaniards. The country’s capital and largest city is Andorra la Vella, which has more than 20 thousand residents.
6. Iceland - 361,310
Iceland is an island country located in the northern Atlantic Ocean, east of Greenland. Its population is just 361,310. While Iceland is not a small island, most of its people live in just 7% of its territory, located on the fertile coastline. Almost one third of Icelanders live in the capital, Reykjavik, which is also the country’s largest city. The vast majority of Iceland’s population are of Norse or Celtic descent. The country’s parliament, known as the Althing, is the world’s oldest practicing legislature, having been created by a constitution written in 930 CE.
7. Malta - 502,650
Malta is a small country composed of three islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian island of Sicily. Its population is 502,650, which makes it one of the ten most densely populated countries in the world. Malta’s population density is 3,574 people per square mile (1,380 per sq. km). Valletta, is the country’s capital, but the country’s largest city is Birkirkara, with more than 20 thousand residents.
8. Luxembourg - 619,900
Luxembourg is a small, landlocked country in Western Europe. It sits snuggly between the borders of Belgium, Germany, and France. The population of Luxembourg is 619,900, and the population density of the country is 626 people per square mile (242 per sq. km). Luxembourg’s capital and largest city bears the same name, and contains more than 76 thousand residents. German is the official language of Luxembourg, but the country also has its own dialect, known as Luxembourgian. French and English are also widely spoken in the country.
9. Montenegro - 622,140
Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is a small country in Southern Europe, located on the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered to the northwest by Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the northeast by Serbia, to the southeast by Kosovo and Albania, and to the southwest by the Adriatic Sea. The total population of Montenegro is 622,140. Montenegro’s capital and largest city is Podgorica, with a populace numbering more than 136 thousand.
10. Estonia - 1,326,590
Estonia is a small state located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, which lies to its west. To the east of Estonia is Russia. The Gulf of Finland borders Estonia to the north, and Latvia lies on its southern border. Formerly a republic of the Soviet Union, Estonia has a population of more than 1.3 million inhabitants. Many of these inhabitants live in Talinn, Estonia’s capital and largest city, with more than 394 thousand residents. Tartu, which boasts more than 100 thousand residents is the country’s second largest city.
Unranked Country: Cyprus - 1,198,580
Cyprus is an island country that lies south of Turkey and west of Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. Politically and economically, Cyprus is mostly linked to Europe, but is technically part of Asia. If Cyprus was part of Europe, it would be the 10th least populated country on the continent rather than Estonia, as it has a population just under 1.2 million. Nicosia, the capital and largest city of Cyprus, boasts more than 200 thousand residents.
The Future Of Europe’s Least Populous Countries
Europe’s least populated countries will likely remain such, as none of their populations are projected to grow very much in the future. All of these countries have traditionally maintained close political and economic ties with their neighbors. This tradition will likely continue, especially with the growing integration of Europe under the auspices of the European Union.