The Largest Countries in the World

Infographic: map highlighting the 10 largest countries in the world.
  • Russia has the largest area of any country in the world and represents 11% of the world's land mass.
  • China is larger than the 50 states of the United States of America. However, it is smaller than the US once you consider all of the US's territories.
  • Canada is the second largest country in the world but has a very small population density.

From Cape Horn all the way to the Arctic Circle, the world’s largest countries provide a beautiful snapshot of the variety of geography, climate, and wildlife on the planet. Collectively, the world’s largest countries contain rainforest and tundra, mountains and valleys, coastline and desert.

As we explore the largest nations of the world, we visit five different continents, some of the world’s most spectacular geography, and every type of climate imaginable.

Excitingly, it’s always changing, too: history has taught that geopolitical boundaries shift dramatically as the centuries pass. In the next decades, who’s to say which countries will become the world’s largest?

When 11.5 percent of all the land in the entire world is claimed by just one country, it’s not surprising to learn that the tenth largest country (Algeria) could fit into the largest (Russia) seven times over. When all 10 of the world's largest countries are taken together, they total 49% of the earth's entire 149 million square kilometres of land.

The 10 Largest Countries In The World (by total area)

  1. Russia - 17,098,242 sq. km
  2. Canada- 9,984,670 sq. km
  3. United States - 9,833,517 sq. km
  4. China - 9,596,960 sq. km
  5. Brazil - 8,515,770 sq. km
  6. Australia - 7,741,220 sq. km
  7. India - 3,287,263 sq. km
  8. Argentina - 2,780,400 sq. km
  9. Kazakhstan - 2,724,900 sq. km
  10. Algeria - 2,381,741 sq. km

Rankings By Land Area Only

The above data has been derived from CIA World Factbook and ranks countries based on total area that is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. However, it must be remembered that the rankings change when the countries are ordered by land area only. For example, Canada has the highest number of lakes in the world and when the country's area occupied by water bodies is subtracted from its total area, it ranks as the fourth largest country with China and the United States ranking above it.

Size And Population Not Connected

Another notable observation is that the largest countries in the world are not necessarily the world's most popluated countries as well. Although they have larger land masses, extremes of climate and terrain in countries like Russia and Canada limit human habitation over larger parts of their territory. The three most populous countries in the world, China, India, and the US rank fourth, third, and seventh on the list above.

1. Russia: 17,098,242 sq.km

Russia’s 17.1 million square kilometers easily make it the world’s largest by area. In fact, if Russia were to lop off 7 million square kilometers, it would still be the largest—and the lopped-off section would rank seventh overall! It represents equivalent to 11% of the world's landmass.

Like China, Russia, a transcontinental country stretching from Asia to Europe, borders 16 countries. It has 9 different times zones! Despite being the world's largest country, Russia is extremely sparsely populated and hosts only about 2% of the world's population. 

Russia's origin can be traced to the Kievan Rus of the 9th century which expanded under the rule of Viking chieftain Rurik. Another notable expansion of territory occurred in the late 16th century during the rule of Ivan the Terrible, the first official tsar of Russia. By the early 18th century, Russia became the world's third-biggest empire and constituted the largest part of the Soviet Union when the latter was established. On December 25, 1991, the Russian Federation or Russia that we know today was born with the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

2. Canada - 9,984,670 sq.km

Canada’s 9.984 million square kilometers make it the largest country in the western hemisphere and in North America. The United Kingdom would fit into Canada by more than 40 times! However, an interesting point to note is that 9% of the country's surface is occupied by lakes. The country hosts about 50% of the world's natural lakes. If the water area of the lakes is left out, Canada would be smaller than the US by land size alone.

Canada also has the world's longest coastline at 202,080-kilometer. It is bordered by three oceans: Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific to the east, north, and west, respectively. To the south, the country borders the United States for nearly 9,000 kilometers making it the world's longest land border! Like Russia, Canada also has a comparatively small population compared to size with most of it concentrated within 100 km of the Canada-USA border. 

3. United States of America - 9,833,517 sq.km

The United States ranks third on the list with a total area of 9.83 million square kilometers. The contiguous states and District of Columbia constitute 83.65% of the total area of the country. The rest belongs to Alaska, Hawaii, and the insular US territories. The country shares its land borders with only two nations, Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. With a coastline of 19,924 km, the country ranks 8th in the world in terms of coastline length.

In terms of population, the US again ranks third among the countries of the world but its population is way lower than that of China and India both of which have populations of over a billion. The US has an estimated population of over 330 million. 

4. People’s Republic of China - 9,596,960 sq.km

With a total area of 9.59 million sq. km, China ranks as the world's fourth-largest country. It is the largest country in Asia located entirely in the continent as Russia extends into Europe. China borders 14 countries. By land area alone, however, it comes in second place. However, the determination of the exact size of China is a matter of great debate as the country claims many territories challenged by border disputes like Taiwan, South Tibet, Aksai Chin, and others. 

Unlike Russia and Canada, however, China's also ranks high on the population scale. In fact, it is the world's most populated nation with over 1.4 billion people. The population is distributed unevenly across its vast territory.

5. Brazil - 8,515,770 sq.km

With 8,515,767 sq. km, Brazil ranks fifth on this list and is South America's biggest country by size. It occupies 47.3% of the land area of the continent. The country has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers. Brazil borders all other South American countries except for Chile and Ecuador. It has four time zones. Brazil is also the world's longest country extending for 4,395 kilometers from north to south. Both the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn runs through Brazil, the only country where this happens.

6. Australia - 7,741,220 sq.km

With 7.74 million sq. km, the island country of Australia is the world's sixth-largest country by size. The approximately 4.4 million square kilometer difference between Australia and India represents the second-largest size difference between countries ranked consecutively in the top 10. Australia is over twice the size of India.

It’s the largest country in Oceania by far. Technically it is so large that it doesn’t even qualify as an island but as a continental landmass. The vast majority of its population lives in coastal cities like Sydney in the east and Perth in the west, and with good reason: the Australian Outback is one of the world’s driest and hottest regions. 

7. India - 3,287,263 sq.km

The world's seventh-largest country, India, is located in South Asia where it covers an area of 3.28 million square kilometers. The country has a land border of 15,000 kilometers and a coastline of 7,516.6 kilometers. It shares its land borders with seven countries.

Although seventh on this list, India ranks second on the list of the world's most populated countries. It has a population of over 1.3 billion and it is estimated that India will surpass China to become rank number one in population by 2027.

8. Argentina: 2,780,400 sq.km

Argentina from South America, the world’s 32nd most populous country, is the world’s eighth-largest, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world by area. It borders five other countries. Its 2.78 million square kilometers include some of the most varied geography and climate in the world.

9. Kazakhstan - 2,724,900 sq.km

The transcontinental country of Kazakhstan covers an area of 2,72 million square kilometers in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Formerly part of the USSR, the largest nation in the world for most of the 20th century, Kazakhstan’s current main claim to fame is its status as the largest landlocked country in the world—and the only landlocked country in the top 10. Kazakhstan is equivalent in size to Western Europe and is bordered by five countries. 

10. Algeria - 2,381,741 sq.km

The only African country on this list of 10 largest countries in the world, Algeria ranks number 10 with an area of 2.38 square kilometers in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is bordered by six countries and the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The southern part of the country is occupied mostly by the Sahara Desert.

50 Largest Countries in the World By Area

RankCountry/TerritoryArea in sq. Km
1Russia 17,098,242
2Canada 9,984,670
3United States 9,833,517
4China 9,596,960
5Brazil 8,515,770
6Australia 7,741,220
7India 3,287,263
8Argentina 2,780,400
9Kazakhstan 2,724,900
10Algeria 2,381,741
11Congo, Democratic of the 2,344,858
12Greenland 2,166,086
13Saudi Arabia 2,149,690
14Mexico 1,964,375
15Indonesia 1,904,569
16Sudan 1,861,484
17Libya 1,759,540
18Iran 1,648,195
19Mongolia 1,564,116
20Peru 1,285,216
21Chad 1,284,000
22Niger 1,267,000
23Angola 1,246,700
24Mali 1,240,192
25South Africa 1,219,090
26Colombia 1,138,910
27Ethiopia 1,104,300
28Bolivia 1,098,581
29Mauritania 1,030,700
30Egypt 1,001,450
31Tanzania 947,300
32Nigeria 923,768
33Venezuela 912,050
34Namibia 824,292
35Mozambique 799,380
36Pakistan 796,095
37Turkey 783,562
38Chile 756,102
39Zambia 752,618
40Burma 676,578
41Afghanistan 652,230
42South Sudan 644,329
43France 643,801
44Somalia 637,657
45Central African Republic622,984
46Ukraine 603,550
47Madagascar 587,041
48Botswana 581,730
49Kenya 580,367
50Yemen 527,968
51Thailand 513,120
52Spain 505,370
53Turkmenistan 488,100
54Cameroon 475,440
55Papua New Guinea 462,840
56Sweden 450,295
57Uzbekistan 447,400
58Morocco 446,550
59Iraq 438,317
60Paraguay 406,752
61Zimbabwe 390,757
62Japan 377,915
63Germany 357,022
64Congo, Republic of the342,000
65Finland 338,145
66Vietnam 331,210
67Malaysia 329,847
68Norway 323,802
69Cote d'Ivoire 322,463
70Poland 312,685
71Oman 309,500
72Italy 301,340
73Philippines 300,000
74Ecuador 283,561
75Burkina Faso 274,200
76New Zealand 268,838
77Gabon 267,667
78Western Sahara 266,000
79Guinea 245,857
80United Kingdom 243,610
81Uganda 241,038
82Ghana 238,533
83Romania 238,391
84Laos 236,800
85Guyana 214,969
86Belarus 207,600
87Kyrgyzstan 199,951
88Senegal 196,722
89Syria 185,180
90Cambodia 181,035
91Uruguay 176,215
92Suriname 163,820
93Tunisia 163,610
94Bangladesh 148,460
95Nepal 147,181
96Tajikistan 144,100
97Greece 131,957
98Nicaragua 130,370
99Korea, North 120,538
100Malawi 118,484
101Eritrea 117,600
102Benin 112,622
103Honduras 112,090
104Liberia 111,369
105Bulgaria 110,879
106Cuba 110,860
107Guatemala 108,889
108Iceland 103,000
109Korea, South 99,720
110Hungary 93,028
111Portugal 92,090
112Jordan 89,342
113Azerbaijan 86,600
114Austria 83,871
115United Arab Emirates83,600
116Czechia 78,867
117Serbia 77,474
118Panama 75,420
119Sierra Leone 71,740
120Ireland 70,273
121Georgia 69,700
122Sri Lanka 65,610
123Lithuania 65,300
124Latvia 64,589
125Svalbard 62,045
126Togo 56,785
127Croatia 56,594
128Bosnia and Herzegovina51,197
129Costa Rica 51,100
130Slovakia 49,035
131Dominican Republic48,670
132Estonia 45,228
133Denmark 43,094
134Netherlands 41,543
135Switzerland 41,277
136Bhutan 38,394
137Guinea-Bissau 36,125
138Taiwan 35,980
139Moldova 33,851
140Belgium 30,528
141Lesotho 30,355
142Armenia 29,743
143Solomon Islands 28,896
144Albania 28,748
145Equatorial Guinea 28,051
146Burundi 27,830
147Haiti 27,750
148Rwanda 26,338
149Macedonia 25,713
150Djibouti 23,200
151Belize 22,966
152El Salvador 21,041
153Israel 20,770
154Slovenia 20,273
155New Caledonia 18,575
156Fiji 18,274
157Kuwait 17,818
158Swaziland 17,364
159Timor-Leste 14,874
160Bahamas, The 13,880
161Montenegro 13,812
162Vanuatu 12,189
163Falkland Islands 12,173
164Qatar 11,586
165Gambia, The 11,300
166Jamaica 10,991
167Kosovo 10,887
168Lebanon 10,400
169Cyprus 9,251
170Puerto Rico 9,104
171West Bank 5,860
172Brunei 5,765
173Trinidad and Tobago5,128
174French Polynesia 4,167
175Cabo Verde 4,033
176South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands 3,903
177Samoa 2,831
178Luxembourg 2,586
179Comoros 2,235
180Mauritius 2,040
181Virgin Islands 1,910
182Faroe Islands 1,393
183Hong Kong 1,108
184Sao Tome and Principe964
185Turks and Caicos Islands948
186Kiribati 811
187Bahrain 760
188Dominica 751
189Tonga 747
190Micronesia, Federated States of702
191Singapore 697
192Saint Lucia 616
193Isle of Man 572
194Guam 544
195Andorra 468
196Northern Mariana Islands464
197Palau 459
198Seychelles 455
199Curacao 444
200Antigua and Barbud443
201Barbados 430
202Heard Island and Mc Donald Islands412
203Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha394
204Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 389
205Jan Mayen 377
206Gaza Strip 360
207Grenada 344
208Malta 316
209Maldives 298
210Cayman Islands 264
211Saint Kitts and Nevis261
212Niue 260
213Saint Pierre and Miquelon242
214Cook Islands 236
215American Samoa 199
216Marshall Islands 181
217Aruba 180
218Liechtenstein 160
219British Virgin Islands151
220Wallis and Futuna 142
221Christmas Island 135
222Dhekelia 131
223Akrotiri 123
224Jersey 116
225Montserrat 102
226Anguilla 91
227Guernsey 78
228San Marino 61
229British Indian Ocean Territory60
230French Southern and Antarctic Islands55
231Saint Martin 54
232Bermuda 54
233Bouvet Island 49
234Pitcairn Islands 47
235Norfolk Island 36
236Sint Maarten 34
237Macau 28
238Tuvalu 26
239Saint Barthelemy 25
240United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuge22
241Nauru 21
242Cocos (Keeling) Islands14
243Tokelau 12
244Paracel Islands 8
245Gibraltar 7
246Wake Island 7
247Clipperton Island 6
248Navassa Island 5
249Spratly Islands 5
250Ashmore and Cartier Islands5
251Coral Sea Islands 3
252Monaco 2
253Holy See (Vatican City)0
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