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December 20, 2005

How Many Countries Are in the World?

You know, I found this really cool little blog add-on, which some of you may have noticed, that tracks visitors by the country they've popped in from. This little gadget just fascinates me! So, on noticing that there have been visitors to my blog from 55 different countries, curiosity got the best of me, and I finally succumed to the itch and ran a search on the number of countries in the world. Many an astute geography student probably already knew the answer to this question, however, I am guessing that there are just as many of us out here that didn't already know the answer so here it is: P.S. You can get your own neocounter here. After the 14-day free trial period you'll have to subscribe if you want to maintain the full customizable version, otherwise, the neoboard will revert back to the "free" version. The good news is the subscription fee is nominal - $5.95 for 6 mos. or $8.95 for 12 mos. From Matt Rosenberg, Your Guide to Geography. May 3 2004 By Most Accounts, 193 is the Correct Answer. A very frequent geographical question is "How many countries are in the world?" Different numbers pop up when one inquires or reads about the number of countries in the world. Each source you use often yields a different answer. United Nations There are 191 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 191 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 is still one country (the Vatican City) that is independent and has chosen not to become a member of the U.N. U.S. Department of State The United States' State Department recognizes 192 independent countries around the world. Their list of 192 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies. Missing from the State Department's list is one entity that may or may not be considered a country, depending on who you talk to. The One Outsider Taiwan meets most of the requirements of independent country or state status. However, due to political reasons, it fails to be recognized by the United States and much of the rest of the world. Taiwan was actually a member of the United Nations (and even the Security Council) until 1971, when mainland China replaced Taiwan in the organization. Taiwan continues to press for full recognition by other countries, to become "part of the club" and fully recognized worldwide but China claims that Taiwan is simply a province of China. Thus... Your Guide considers there to be 193 countries, which is probably the best current answer to the question, "How many countries are in the world?" unless Taiwan is officially absorbed into China at some point, in which case the answer would be 192. However... Recognize that there are dozens of territories and colonies that are sometimes erroneously called "countries" but don't count at all - they're governed by other countries. Places commonly confused as being countries include Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Greenland, Western Sahara, and even the components of the United Kingdom (such as Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England - sorry folks, they're not countries, states, or nation-states). ©2005 About, Inc., A part of the New York Times Company. All rights reserved.


  1. As'Salamu Alaykum. You mean to tell me Scotland is not a country? I am so bummed now!!! And to think I call myself a Geography buff.....Guess I'm not anymore! I enjoyed your blog...thanks for sharing! Wa'Salam

  2. Wa'Alaikum Assalamu wa Rahmatuallahi wa Barakatuhu!

    Ukht Valerie! I am so sorry. *wink*

    Here is an excerpt from a great Scotland resource:

    "Scotland is one of four constituent nations which form the United Kingdom (the other three are England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Scotland forms the northern part of the island of Great Britain."

    Hope this helps!


    Used with Permission from "Gateway to Scotland"
    © 1994-2002, Bruce M. Gittings