The smallest countries in the world, by population

Smallest populations in the world featured image with tuvalu beach

The smallest countries in the world span every continent, and surprisingly, the list changes slightly if you measure by population or by size. This post will cover the smallest countries in the world by population, but you can see the smallest countries by area here.

This post covers recognized countries, but most of the unrecognized countries in the world would be on this list. Note that this was written using the most up-to-date population estimates and that these countries can move around on the list.

READ  The smallest countries in the world, by size

Smallest countries in the world by population

# Country Continent Population % of world Size
10 Dominica North America 71,808 0.0009% 751 km² (22nd)
9 Marshall Islands Oceania 55,000 0.00072% 181 km² (7th)
8 Saint Kitts and Nevis North America 52,823 0.0007% 261 km² (8th)
7 Liechtenstein Europe 38,380 0.0005% 160 km² (6th)
6 Monaco Europe 38,300 0.0005% 2.02 km² (2nd)
5 San Marino Europe 33,431 0.00043% 61 km² (5th)
4 Palau Oceania 17,900 0.00023% 459 km² (16th)
3 Nauru Oceania 11,000 0.00014% 21 km² (3rd)
2 Tuvalu Oceania 10,200 0.00013% 26 km² (4th)
1 Vatican City Europe 799 0.000010% .44 km² (1st)

You can find a full list of countries by population here.

10. Dominica

Population: 71,808
Continent: North America (Caribbean)
Area: 751 km² (22nd)

Dominica is located in the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is a parliamentary democracy but was never a Commonwealth realm. Because it has fewer beaches than its neighbors, it isn’t as popular of a tourist destination, being the lease visited Caribbean island.

Smallest countries in the world Dominica harbor

9. Marshall Islands

Population: 55,000
Continent: Oceania
Area: 181 km² (7th)

The Marshall Islands are in the Pacific Ocean, with about 55,000 people spread over 1,000 islands (though most are uninhabited). Half of the population live on the capital island, Majuro.

Marshall Islands near Majuro

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis

Population: 52,823
Continent: North America (Caribbean)
Area: 261 km² (8th)

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Caribbean with its small population split between two islands.

Lush hills of Saint Kitts and Nevis with beaches

7. Liechtenstein

Population: 38,380
Continent: Europe
Area: 160 km² (6th)

Liechtenstein often trades spots with Monaco on the list as populations change. Its bordering countries are Switzerland and Austria and they make it one of two double-landlocked countries (meaning its bordering countries are also landlocked). It boasts being one of the richest countries per capita in the world.

Liechtenstein country nestled in the mountains

6. Monaco

Population: 38,300
Continent: Europe
Area: 2.02 km² (2nd)

The Principality of Monaco is located on the French Riviera and with a population of 38,300 in its world’s second-smallest area of 2 square kilometers, it is the most densely populated in the world. Home to the Monte Carlo casino, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, countless yachts, luxury shopping and beautiful architecture. It’s also Europe’s only microstate with a seaport.

Prinicipality of Monaco harbor and the Rock

5. San Marino

Population: 33,431
Continent: Europe
Area: 61 km² (5th)

The Republic of San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, founded in 301 AD. It is completely landlocked by Italy. The historic city center sits atop Mount Titano and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With an area of 61 square kilometers, it’s the fifth smallest country by area. San Marinese value freedom above all and enjoy long-held traditions of crossbow competitions and rotating leaders into their two-headed government.

Read more about visiting San Marino here.

READ  Visiting San Marino - the least visited country in Europe

Flag waivers in the cava de balestieri in San Marino with drummers in the background

4. Palau

Population: 17,900
Continent: Oceania
Area: 459 km² (16th)

The nation of Palau is spread across 340 islands, though many of them are uninhabited. It is the first country in the world to implement a responsible tourism policy for visitors.

Palau beach and blue waters

3. Nauru (11,000)

Population: 11,000
Continent: Oceania
Area: 21 km² (3rd)

The most remote country in the world is the tiny, Pacific island nation of Nauru. It can only be reached on its national airline, Nauru Airlines. It was dependent on phosphate mining, but the main reserves were exhausted by 2006 and in recent years, has been more known as the nucleus of Australia’s immigration controversy.

Nauru phosphate mining

Image credit: Gunnar Garfors

2. Tuvalu (10,200)

Population: 10,200
Continent: Oceania
Area: 26 km² (4th)

The tiny island nation of Tuvalu is in Oceania, in the Pacific Ocean. It is the country with the lowest maximum elevation in the world, with its highest point 5 meters (15 feet) above sea level.

Tuvalu Oceania

1. Vatican City (799)

Population: 799
Continent: Europe
Area: .44 km² (1st)

Vatican City boasts being the smallest country in the world both by size and population. Also known as Holy See, it is the smallest in the world that is also recognized by the UN. It is .44 square kilometers and within the borders of Rome. With less than 1000 actual residents, it isn’t hard that the population triples with visitors every day. It’s home to the Pope, the Catholic Church and the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. Its small citizenship is only granted to those who work in the Vatican itself, and its missions. It is the most controversial of the recognized “states” on this list as many argue that it doesn’t meet the traditional requirements for statehood.

READ  The smallest countries in the world, by size

Smallest country in the world Vatican City

Smallest countries in the world by continent

The smallest populations in the world on this list are primarily in the microstates of Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean. But here are the smallest populations if you look at it by continent.

Continent Population Area

Smallest country in Africa:

Seychelles (90,945) Seychelles (451 km²)

Smallest country in Asia:

The Maldives (345,000) The Maldives (300 km²)

Smallest country in Europe:

Vatican City (799) Vatican City (.44 km²)

Smallest country in Oceania:

Tuvalu (10,200) Nauru (21 km²)

Smallest country in North America:

Saint Kitts and Nevis (46,204) Saint Kitts and Nevis (261 km²)

Smallest country in South America:

Suriname (560,000) Suriname (163,820 km²)

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Dominica waterfall

San Marino UNESCO World Heritage Site sunset Monaco harbor only seaport in microstate


The smallest countries in the world, by population

Founder of How Dare She, Jessica is on a mission to visit every country in the world, and bring you along with through photos, video and stories. 6 continents and 104 countries in. She has a BA in journalism and Master's in innovation and change, but her real skill is plugging in a USB in 2 or less tries (most of the time). She believes daring isn't about being fearless, but choosing to opt in, in spite of fear. She dares to see, taste, experience and meet the world as she goes.

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