The Vatican in the center of Rome

The 30 smallest countries

With only 0.44 km², the Vatican in the heart of Rome is by far the smallest country in the world. In second place is the city-state of Monaco on the French Mediterranean coast with 2.0 km².

With third place it will be more difficult, because Gibraltar, which is also located in southern Europe, is a "country", depending on the definition, but not a sovereign state. If one only takes the sovereign states, Nauru and Tuvalu would follow next.

Smallest countries by area
Smallest countries by population

List of the largest countries

The smallest countries by area

We have marked with an asterisk (explanation at the end of the page) all those countries that are not independent and sovereign states. In this table it is clearly noticeable that a significant part of the smallest "countries" is dependent on other states. A full 20 out of 30 countries are not independent states. After all, 7 of them are in Europe, 8 in the Caribbean. A full 21 are small island states.

RankCountryAreaPopulationPopulation per km²
1Holy See (Vatican City)0.4 km²1,0002,272.73
2Monaco2.0 km²39,24419,427.72
3Gibraltar *6.8 km²33,6914,954.56
4Tokelau *12.2 km²1,647135.00
5Cocos Islands *14.2 km²59641.97
6Saint Barthelemy *21.0 km²7,116338.86
7Nauru21.1 km²10,834513.46
8Tuvalu26.0 km²11,792453.54
9Macao *30.4 km²649,34221,359.93
10Saint Martin *34.0 km²40,8121,200.35
11Norfolk Island *34.6 km²1,74850.52
12Pitcairn Islands *49.0 km²501.02
13Bermuda *53.2 km²63,9031,201.18
14St. Martin *53.2 km²38,659726.67
15San Marino61.2 km²33,938554.63
16Guernsey *78.0 km²67,334863.26
17Anguilla *96.0 km²18,403191.70
18Montserrat *102.0 km²5,38752.81
19Jersey *119.6 km²101,476848.46
20Christmas Island *135.0 km²2,20516.33
21Wallis and Futuna *142.0 km²15,851111.63
22British Virgin Islands *150.0 km²30,237201.58
23Liechtenstein160.5 km²38,137237.61
24Aruba *178.9 km²106,766596.76
25Marshall Islands181.4 km²59,194326.28
26American Samoa *199.0 km²55,197277.37
27Cook Islands241.7 km²8,32734.45
28Saint Pierre and Miquelon *242.0 km²5,32121.99
29Saint Kitts and Nevis260.0 km²53,192204.58
30Niue261.5 km²2,0007.65

The smallest countries by population

A somewhat different picture emerges when the smallest countries in the world are calculated according to their number of inhabitants. Many of the small island states reappear. In addition, there are countries with a large surface area, but which are only extremely sparsely populated. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands lie deep in the south near Antarctica and are largely covered with ice. The Falkland Islands lie only a little further north. Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and Jan Mayen lie high in the north and are sparsely inhabited due to their proximity to the Arctic for the same reasons. Only 2,926 people share an area of over 62,000 km² here.

The Vatican in the center of RomeWith such small populations, however, it's important to look behind the statistics, because even small deviations or differently interpreted definitions can have a big impact. For example, the official population figure for the Vatican is about 1000. In fact, only about 600 of them live within the holy city in Rome. More than 400 others are considered citizens but live outside. The population density is therefore merely a theoretical value.

RankCountryPopulationAreaPopulation per km²
1South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands *303,903.0 km²0.01
2Pitcairn Islands *5049.0 km²1.02
3Cocos Islands *59614.2 km²41.97
4Holy See (Vatican City)1,0000.4 km²2,272.73
5Tokelau *1,64712.2 km²135.00
6Norfolk Island *1,74834.6 km²50.52
7Niue2,000261.5 km²7.65
8Christmas Island *2,205135.0 km²16.33
9Svalbard *2,92662,045.0 km²0.05
10Falkland Islands *3,19812,173.0 km²0.26
11Saint Pierre and Miquelon *5,321242.0 km²21.99
12Montserrat *5,387102.0 km²52.81
13Saint Barthelemy *7,11621.0 km²338.86
14Saint Helena *7,915391.0 km²20.24
15Cook Islands8,327241.7 km²34.45
16Nauru10,83421.1 km²513.46
17Tuvalu11,79226.0 km²453.54
18Wallis and Futuna *15,851142.0 km²111.63
19Palau18,092460.0 km²39.33
20Anguilla *18,40396.0 km²191.70
21Bonaire *24,548322.0 km²76.24
22Åland *29,0131,580.0 km²18.36
23British Virgin Islands *30,237150.0 km²201.58
24Gibraltar *33,6916.8 km²4,954.56
25San Marino33,93861.2 km²554.63
26Liechtenstein38,137160.5 km²237.61
27St. Martin *38,65953.2 km²726.67
28Turks and Caicos Islands *38,718950.0 km²40.76
29Monaco39,2442.0 km²19,427.72
30Saint Martin *40,81234.0 km²1,200.35

Dwarf states are often former colonies

It is not only striking that the smallest countries are often (still) dependent foreign territories. The microstates that are considered sovereign are also often former colonies of other countries. Far ahead are the external territories of France and the British Empire. As a rule, these were small islands that could be captured without much military effort and were simply overrun by large colonial powers hundreds of years ago. However, over time, in most cases within the last 50 to 100 years, they were given back their independence.

* Dependent territories

The following countries are not sovereign states, but dependent countries of other states:
  • Åland Islands: Autonomous region of Finland
  • American Samoa: self-governing territory of the US
  • Anguilla: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Aruba: territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Bermuda: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba: Special municipalities of the Netherlands
  • British Virgin Islands: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Christmas Island: non-self-governing territory of Australia
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands: non-self-governing territory of Australia
  • Falkland Islands: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Gibraltar: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Guernsey: autonomous Crown dependency of the UK
  • Jersey: autonomous Crown dependency of the UK
  • Macao: special administrative region of China
  • Montserrat: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Norfolk Island: territory of Australia
  • Pitcairn Islands: British overseas territory
  • Saint Barthelemy: Corporation of France
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha: limited self-governing territory of the UK
  • Saint Martin: French overseas territory
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon: territory of France
  • Sint Maarten: autonomous territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands: British overseas territory
  • Svalbard: Territory of Norway
  • Tokelau: territory of New Zealand
  • Turks and Caicos Islands: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Wallis and Futuna: territory of France
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