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How Many Countries are There in the World?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
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While it would appear to be a rather simple matter to determine how many countries there are in the world, it is in fact quite complex. This is due not only to the ever-shifting political landscape, but also because the term ‘countries’ is somewhat fluid and open to interpretation.

A narrow definition of what a country is might look at a well-established group — such as the United Nations — and take its list of recognized members. In the case of the United Nations, there are 193 recognized states, with 192 being members of the United Nations, and the Vatican City, which is a permanent observer with all rights of a member, save voting rights.

One could also take an established definition for what a state is, and find all states which match those criteria. The most widely-accepted definition is given by the Montevideo Convention, from 1933. By these guidelines, a state must have a government, be in a position to interact with other states diplomatically, have a defined territory, and possess a permanent population. A rough count of these states would place the number of countries in the world at 201. That includes the 193 states recognized by the United Nations, as well as eight additional states. These are the Western Sahara, Taiwan, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. These states meet the criteria set out by the Montevideo Convention, but are all in a struggle with another, larger state, for independence, and so far have not been formally recognized by the United Nations.

An even broader definition could include some states which have been recognized by a number of countries, but have either failed to establish a steady government, or have failed to receive recognition by enough fellow states to truly meet the criteria of the Montevideo Convention. By adding in states such as the Cook Islands, Palestine, or the Chechen Republic, one could get to a much greater number of countries in the world — somewhere in the range of 210-230.

Going even broader, one can include countries that are part of a larger country, sometimes referred to as constituent countries. One obvious example of this would be the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — all making up the single country of the United Kingdom. In most counts of the countries in the world, these four countries are counted as one, but they could easily be counted as four instead. By including these sorts of countries there could be many hundreds, if not thousands, of countries in the world — especially if one were to start counting smaller states, such as California or Delaware in the United States, as independent in their own right.

Similarly, territories — such as the territory of Guam, a possession of the United States — are usually not counted in an official count, but are states by many criteria. These are referred to by the United Nations as Non-Self Governing Territories, and include an additional 16 territories.

So, how many countries are there in the world? 193 by the count of the United Nations. 193 also by the count of the United States Department of State. 201 by a tight interpretation of the Montevideo Conventions. Somewhere over 220 by a looser interpretation. And if we were to go by the number of countries that have their own domain suffix — such as .us for the United States, or .de for Germany — we would find 243. So there is no firm answer, but 193 is commonly accepted, and somewhere between 193 and 250 seems rather certain.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon998171 — On Apr 19, 2017

There are 200 countries in the world: the 193 members of the UN + Kosovo + Western Sahara + Taiwan + Vatican City. Remember the UK is 4 countries, not 1 country.

By anon996364 — On Aug 18, 2016

Who is the U.S.A to say who is or is not a country anyways They want to be head of the world under a "new world order." You can ship packages to 243 countries.

By anon989884 — On Mar 26, 2015

188 is the answer.

By anon989148 — On Feb 21, 2015

There are 217 countries in the world. I counted 197 countries, of which 193 are UN members, 2 observer states, Taiwan, and Kosovo. It's also composed of 20 countries: Greenland, Scotland, England, French Guiana, Puerto Rico, Wales, Northern Ireland, Western Sahara, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Sint Maarten, Alaska, Cook Islands, Northern Cyprus, Catalonia, New Caledonia, and Christmas Island.

By anon989131 — On Feb 20, 2015

I count 249 countries and add 46 members of UNPO (Unpresented Nations and Peoples Organization) and add England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and District of Columbia.

By anon943885 — On Apr 04, 2014

I don't understand what you are all trying to say. Please give the correct answer! According to me, there are 249 countries in the world.

By anon936526 — On Mar 02, 2014

Clearly, there are 196 countries in the world.

By anon927548 — On Jan 24, 2014

There are 249 countries in the world.

By anon925260 — On Jan 10, 2014

Who gives a damn? The world is doomed because of borders.

By anon356752 — On Nov 28, 2013

204 is the final answer. It's done.

By anon355713 — On Nov 19, 2013

Nice details on anon337410 - Post 121. You just don't have a country #77, that's why your count is off.

By anon355688 — On Nov 18, 2013

I wanted to know how many countries there were. Just calm down people. You guys aren't in debate club, for crying out loud. I'm just going to stick with around 200.

By anon354200 — On Nov 06, 2013

They are more than 350 countries in the world, but it depends, because most countries that were recognized by the U.S.A. are not recognized by the other world powers and were not counted. Those countries include Kosovo, South Sudan, Taiwan, Greenland and many more.

By anon353654 — On Nov 01, 2013

Kosovo is part of Serbia, and it's not internationally recognized. They will never be part of the UN because Serbia did not recognize it, or Russia and China, who will veto on it. If you count them, than you can also count Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Republic of China (Taiwan), Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, Palestine, Western Sahara, Gibraltar -- and many others.

By anon351365 — On Oct 13, 2013

There are 223 countries.

By anon351256 — On Oct 12, 2013

It's funny. If you look at the Coca Cola website, they clearly state, "we operate in more than 200 countries around the world." So how can there be fewer than 200 in the first place? Clearly something must be wrong. I'm sure a company like Coca Cola knows its facts and has such knowledge on each market it sells in.

By anon344324 — On Aug 08, 2013

I think Sudan recently split into two?

By anon337410 — On Jun 05, 2013

1-Abkhazia; 2-Afghanistan; 3-Albania; 4-Algeria; 5-Andorra; 6-Angola; 7-Antigua and Barbuda; 8-Argentina; 9-Armenia; 10-Australia; 11-Austria; 12-Azerbaijan; 13-Bahrain; 14-Bangladesh; 15-Barbados; 16-Belarus; 17-Belgium; 18-Belize; 19-Benin; 20-Bhutan; 21-Bolivia; 22-Bosnia and Herzegovina; 23-Botswana; 24-Brazil; 25-Brunei; 26-Bulgaria; 27-Burkina Faso; 28-Bururndi; 29-Cambodia; 30-Cameroon; 31-Canada; 32-Cape Verde; 33-Central African Republic; 34-Chad; 35-Chile; 36-China; 37-Colombia; 38-Comoros; 39-Congo; 40-Costa Rica; 41-Croatia; 42-Cuba; 43-Curacao; 44-Cyprus; 45-Czech Republic; 46-Democratic Republic of the Congo; 47-Denmark; 48-Djibouti; 49-Dominica; 50-Dominican Republic; 51-East Timor; 52-Ecuador; 53-Egypt; 54-El Salvador; 55-England; 56-Equatorial Guinea; 57-Eritrea; 58-Estonia; 59-Ethiopia; 60-Federated States of Micronesia; 61-Fiji; 62-Finland; 63-France; 64-French Guiana; 65-French Polynesia; 66-Gabon; 67-Georgia; 68-Germany; 69-Ghana; 70-Greece; 71-Greenland; 72-Grenada; 73-Guadeloupe; 74-Guatemala; 75-Guinea Bissau; 76-Guinea; 78-Haiti; 79-Holy See; 80-Honduras; 81-Hungary; 82-Iceland; 83-India; 84-Indonesia; 85-Iran; 86-Iraq; 87-Ireland; 88-Israel; 89-Italy; 90-Ivory Coast; 91-Jamaica; 92-Japan; 93-Jordan; 94-Kenya; 95-Kiribati; 96-Kosovo; 97-Kuwait; 98-Kyrgyzstan; 99-Laos; 100-Latvia; 101-Lebanon; 102-Lesotho; 103-Liberia; 104-Libya; 105-Liechtenstein; 106-Lithuania; 107-Luxembourg; 108-Macedonia; 109-Madagascar; 110-Malawi; 111-Malaysia; 112-Maldives; 113-Mali; 114-Malta; 115-Marshall Islands; 116-Martinique; 117-Mauritania; 118-Mauritius; 119-Mexico; 120-Moldova; 121-Monaco; 122-Mongolia; 123-Montenegro; 124-Morocco; 125-Mozambique; 126-Myanmar; 127-Nagorno Karabakh; 128-Namibia; 129-Nauru; 130-Nepal; 131-New Zealand; 132-Nicaragua; 133-Niger; 134-Nigeria; 135-Niue; 136-North Korea; 137-Northern Ireland; 138-Norway; 139-Oman; 140-Pakistan; 141-Palau; 142-Palestine; 143-Panama; 144-Papua New Guinea; 145-Paraguay; 146-Peru; 147-Poland; 148-Portugal; 149-Qatar; 150-Romania; 151-Russia; 152-Rwanda; 153-Saint Kitts and Nevis; 154-Saint Lucia; 155-Samoa; 156-San Marino; 157-Sao Tome and Principe; 158-Saudi Arabia; 159-Scotland; 160-Senegal; 161-Serbia; 162-Seychelles; 163-Sierra Leone; 164-Singapore; 165-Slovakia; 166-Slovenia; 167-Solomon Islands; 168-Somalia; 169-South Africa; 170-South Korea; 171-South Ossetia; 172-South Sudan; 173-Spain; 174-Sri Lanka; 175-Sudan; 176-Suriname; 177-Swaziland; 178-Sweden; 179-Switzerland; 180-Syria; 181-Taiwan; 182-Tanzania; 183-Thailand; 184-The Bahamas; 185-The Gambia; 186-The Netherlands; 187-Togo; 188-Tonga; 189-Trinidan and Tobago; 190-Tunisia; 191-Turkey; 192-Turkmenistan; 193-Uganda; 194-Ukraine; 195-United Arab Emirates; 196-United States of America; 197-Uruguay; 198-Uzbekistan; 199-Vanuatu; 200-Venezuela; 201-Vietnam; 202-Wales; 203-Western Sahara; 204-Yemen; 205-Zambia; 206-Zimbabwe.

It was supposed to add up as 205, but I may have counted one country twice.

By anon337379 — On Jun 04, 2013

There are exactly 205 countries if you include abkhazia, curacao, greenland, vatican city, kosovo, england, scotland, wales, northern ireland, south ossetia, western sahara, montenegro, palestine, french guyana, taiwan, and nagorno karabakh, which are all partially on unrecognized countries.

By anon296831 — On Oct 13, 2012

It's 204. Count the world flags.

By anon273140 — On Jun 05, 2012

The point of the article is that any single number depends on your criteria for what a "country" is.

To state emphatically that there are "exactly 194" or "246, period!" or "over 300" is to miss the point. Some criteria will claim Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are separate countries, while others will consider them part of the United Kingdom. China considers Taiwan to be part of their country. The UN officially agrees, although informally, Taiwan is treated as a sovereign country by most nations. Northern Cyprus is recognized by only Turkey. And why would anyone consider the states of the United States to be separate countries? Or the territories? In other words, there is no set number of countries and there never will be.

By anon252882 — On Mar 07, 2012

Yes, anon191422 Post 109. We're all at least little confused, so keep your spirits up.

By anon252557 — On Mar 06, 2012

Kurdistan must also be recognized and added to the list!

By anon209831 — On Aug 28, 2011

the movie social network says it.s in 207. since FB rules the world now, that must be right.

By anon191422 — On Jun 28, 2011

Is the United States a country? I'm confused.

By anon189838 — On Jun 24, 2011

There are 205 countries if you include some of the countries such as mcdonald island, heard islan dhakit,i fiji, gibraltar, gaudelupe, guernsey and man in other countries. most are unknown too.

By anon184348 — On Jun 08, 2011

One country; god's country.

By anon183943 — On Jun 06, 2011

i hope tibet was classed as a separate country from china.

By anon165724 — On Apr 05, 2011

There are 192 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 192 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world. Although this number represents almost all of the countries in the world, there are still two recognized independent countries: the Vatican City and Kosovo.

The United States' State Department recognizes 194 independent countries around the world. Their list of 194 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies.

Meaning that over 98 percent of the western world sees that there are 194 countries. If you choose to disagree with this fact then you are disagreeing with the most intelligent minds in the world.

Depending on your definition of the word, the number of countries may vary. But, the definition here is without a doubt the one that you would agree with.

So to finish: There are 194 countries in the world.

David B., Associate Professor PhD, International Politics, Murdoch University

By chas46 — On Mar 28, 2011

#43 says it the best and most politely. If you were Dad's friend when I was growing up, don't think I'd be reading this now. Or if you married Mother.

By chas46 — On Mar 28, 2011

Impossible to tell. Like how many bird brains there are. Keeps changing every day. Though, I'm always counted among them, that you can be sure of.

By anon163478 — On Mar 28, 2011

As of May 2008, the United Nations has 192 members (including Montenegro and Serbia - the two newest nations). That number does not include the Vatican, and it doesn't (yet) include Kosovo (disclaimer).

By anon160182 — On Mar 15, 2011

Nagas declared the independence of their country Nagalim on 14 August 1945. These 5-million strong Nagas are Christians and they are yellow people like the Japanese. Burma and Hindustan have no right to continue their much-despised colonization of this Nagalim.

By chas46 — On Mar 12, 2011

Went quickly through the posts. #43 said it well and with good manners. Thank You. Countries and states are becoming like, states of mind.

By anon157031 — On Mar 01, 2011

number 25s comment is utter rubbish. I am English and live in England. I am not welsh, scottish or irish and neither do i live in those countries. We all have national sports teams in rugby, football, cricket etc.

In fact i am quite angry that such a comment has been made!

By anon145468 — On Jan 23, 2011

I overwhelmingly agree with number 43's opinion.

By anon142847 — On Jan 14, 2011

tell me just how many countries are in asia.

By anon133600 — On Dec 11, 2010

obviously there are over 450 countries, at least according to the latest U.N. data.

By anon130097 — On Nov 27, 2010

There are 192 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 192 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world.

There are still three recognized independent countries, the Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan (not recognized after 1971 due to China); so the total is 195.

The number of unrecognized countries is disputable.

By anon128888 — On Nov 21, 2010

please tell me how many countries there were in 2001.

By anon128162 — On Nov 18, 2010

i think there are 196 countries.

By anon128161 — On Nov 18, 2010

you are not clear about countries. There are 356 countries in the world.

By anon124597 — On Nov 06, 2010

There is a difference between "nations" and countries. Many "nations" such as "The Sikh Nation", The "Palestinian Nation", The "Mohawk Nation", The "Kurd Nation" are seeking recognition as "countries"; however, they are wannabes - on the global map.

The United States were formed as unified states, self-governing, yet no U.S. state has yet claimed and be recognized, successfully as an independent country. There are 193 universally recognized countries - educate yourself - then post instead of splitting school yard hairs and identifying your lack of education.

By anon123061 — On Oct 30, 2010

194 countries and that's that. --Geofreak

By anon118183 — On Oct 13, 2010

there are 195 countries.

By anon113576 — On Sep 25, 2010

there are 194 countries in the world.

By anon111377 — On Sep 16, 2010

you people are way too wrong. there are not flippin 300 countries. have you looked at a map? and i don't think it goes up to any more than 210, but 300, c'mon.

By anon109743 — On Sep 08, 2010


By anon102936 — On Aug 10, 2010

There are exactly 194 countries in the world!

By anon98726 — On Jul 24, 2010

23: The rest is just Socialist Fiction.

By anon94502 — On Jul 08, 2010

Please i really need to know the answer to this question. some people say we have 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 300. Please give actual answers. I'm confused. please kindly help with this answer because i really need to know.

By anon92743 — On Jun 30, 2010

i don't understand what you all are saying. some are saying 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 200, 300. Please give actual answers. I'm confused.

By anon91857 — On Jun 24, 2010

194 excluding zimbabwe

By anon89199 — On Jun 09, 2010

You're all wrong. There are 249 countries in the world but if you included the states of america there'd be 301.

By anon89029 — On Jun 08, 2010

Not so smart citizens of the planet Earth, "there are no countries but just 1 great landmass known as the planet Earth"...

Earthlings need some proper education and must come out of their dark spheres.

By anon88899 — On Jun 07, 2010

There are 240 countries in the world.

By anon83062 — On May 09, 2010


By anon79543 — On Apr 23, 2010

In the next two years, a big country will born which is named Kurdistan-Kurdlan. Kurldland will will have a population of 45 million in Middle East between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Casso K.

By anon78273 — On Apr 17, 2010


By anon76749 — On Apr 12, 2010

I Ahtsham K., knew that there are 229 countries in

the all over world.

By anon76584 — On Apr 11, 2010

what is this? nobody can give a true answer. somebody says 192/194/195/200/300. which one is correct? you all make me confused.

By anon76151 — On Apr 09, 2010

Great article! Well tempered and objective, but still direct enough for answering the question. I'm sorry about the many posters who don't seem to understand why they cannot just state a firm number: the public are quite a literal bunch.

By anon73911 — On Mar 29, 2010


By anon73198 — On Mar 26, 2010

There are 300+ countries in the world.

By anon72622 — On Mar 23, 2010

You are wrong. there are only 246 countries.

By anon71686 — On Mar 19, 2010

I'm sorry to everyone that has put on an answer this but there are more than 300 countries in the world, so please check your answers.

By anon71078 — On Mar 17, 2010

There are 195 countries in the world.

By anon70251 — On Mar 12, 2010

164 countries

By anon69490 — On Mar 08, 2010

No, seriously, there are 194 countries in the world, my social studies teacher (an expert) said so. - March 2010

By anon68321 — On Mar 02, 2010

I think there are 215 countries in the world.

By anon67854 — On Feb 27, 2010

i think there are 435 countries belonging in the world but the truth is only 329 countries.

By anon66199 — On Feb 18, 2010

According to the CIA there are 249 countries in the world (including the Vatican city).

By anon65619 — On Feb 15, 2010

"By including these sorts of countries there could be many hundreds, if not thousands, of countries in the world – especially if one were to start counting smaller states, such as California or Delaware in the United States, as independent in their own right."

The difference here is that unlike states like taiwan or palestine, california and delaware do not seek independence.

If you add in the countries of native american nations alone, the count will be over 200.

It`s a biased count by the UN and ISO.

Consider this fact, there are about 7000 languages worldwide, give or take 100.

By anon63989 — On Feb 04, 2010

There are 195 countries in the world. These are self governing entities without binding ties to another nation. Thus the Vatican, Kosovo, and Taiwan are countries while England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Greenland and similar places are not.

By anon60589 — On Jan 14, 2010

I think its best to work with the UN figures that says 192.

By anon60236 — On Jan 12, 2010

Well, everything I keep reading on the internet says 196.

By anon59583 — On Jan 09, 2010

does it really matter? we are all doomed together.

By anon59550 — On Jan 09, 2010

233 countries.

By anon58974 — On Jan 05, 2010

you must be so specific to decide what a country is considered, do colonies count and etc. However there are 216 countries in the olympics. Thus would be a good estimate for the number of countries.

By anon57947 — On Dec 28, 2009

We live in Cae and we learn in school there are 237 not counting the vatican city.

By anon57751 — On Dec 27, 2009

Which is the correct answer?

By anon56625 — On Dec 16, 2009

Clearly the answer is 235. You're welcome.

By anon56139 — On Dec 12, 2009

195 is the final answer. It's done.

By anon55059 — On Dec 04, 2009

198 countries in the world.

By anon55058 — On Dec 04, 2009

i think there are 196 countries in the world.

By anon54739 — On Dec 02, 2009

i think there are 193 countries in the world.

By anon46768 — On Sep 28, 2009

Jehovah's witnesses preach Good News about God's Kingdom in 235 countries.

By anon43914 — On Sep 02, 2009

FIFA list 203 countries in their world football rankings.

By anon37298 — On Jul 18, 2009

U.S. State Department now recognizes 194 countries since the separation of Kosovo from Serbia.

By anon37241 — On Jul 17, 2009

how one can be sure about how many countries are there in the world? the contradictary statements on the net are confusing.please make sure of it in future.

By anon36477 — On Jul 12, 2009

Last time I saw in a 2009 encyclopedia, it followed the Montevideo Conventions and said 201 countries and that's what I follow.

By anon36336 — On Jul 11, 2009

You are not clear about how many countries there are in the world. how can i get clear about this. please give approximately how many countries in the world.

By anon14064 — On Jun 09, 2008

Newest Republic of the world is Federal Republic of Nepal. It was declared on 28th May 2008.

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