How Many Countries are in Central America?

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe on September 4 2018 in Society

The map exhibiting the seven nations of Central America
The map exhibiting the seven nations of Central America

Central America is the southernmost part of the North American continent. Central America is bordered by Mexico to the north and Colombia to the southeast. The region is also bordered to the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Central America encompasses an area of 523,780 square kilometers and forms part of the Mesoamerican Biodiversity Hotspot. Central America is highly susceptible to seismic activities such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The region has a population of around 42,688,190 people spread across the seven countries that are part of it.

The following seven countries are considered to be a part of Central America:

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama

The Biggest Countries in Central America By Population


With a population of 14,373,472 people, the Republic of Guatemala is the largest country in Central America by population. The country covers an area of 108,890 square kilometers with a population density of 129 people per kilometer squared. The capital city of Guatemala is Guatemala City. The country is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the northeast by Belize, to the southwest by the Pacific Ocean and to the east the Caribbean Sea. Guatemala has an abundance of biological diversity including large numbers of endemic species and rich, distinctive cultures. The country is mainly mountainous with patches of deserts, valleys, and sand dunes. Guatemala is home to the Volcán Tajumulco Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Central America at 4220 meters above sea level. The country is constitutionally democratic and is governed by an elected president who is in charge as the head of state and government. Guatemala is home to the largest economy in Central America with a GDP per Capita of US$5,200.


The Republic of Honduras borders Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Honduras covers a total area of 112,090 km square and has a population of 8,448,465 people. The population density is 67 people per squared km and the capital city of the country is Tegucigalpa. Honduras' state and the government are headed by a democratically elected president. The country’s economic growth has averaged 7% over the past few years. Roman Catholicism is the most common religion with other faiths such as evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism also shaping the religion of the country.

El Salvador

The Republic of El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country out of the seven countries in Central America, with 292 people per km squared and a total population of 6,108,590 people. Most of the population belongs to the Mestizos ethnic group with Christianity being the dominant religion in the country. San Salvador is the largest city in the country and also the capital city of El Salvador. The country’s political system involves a democratically elected president who is both the head of state and the government. El Salvador’s economy has been affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The service sector dominates the economy followed by the industrial sector and agricultural sector.

Other countries making up the Central American region are Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize.

Central American Countries Are Rich In Biodiversity

7% of the world's biodiversity is found in Central America. The region serves as a major flyway for migratory birds in the Americas. Since Central America forms a bridge between North and South America, many species of both the Nearctic and Neotropic ecozones are found here. Costa Rica and Panama, the southern countries of Central America have greater biodiversity than Guatemala and Belize in the north. Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua located in the central part of the region have the least biodiversity in Central America.

Central American Countries

RankCountryPopulation (July 2013 est.)Area (km²)Population density (per km²)Capital
1 Guatemala14,373,472108,890129Guatemala City
2 Honduras8,448,465112,09067Tegucigalpa
3 El Salvador6,108,59021,040292San Salvador
4 Nicaragua5,788,531130,37344Managua
5 Costa Rica4,695,94251,10082San José
6 Panama3,559,40878,20044Panama City
7 Belize334,29722,96613Belmopan

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