How Many Countries are there in the World

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2022, 7:40

According to the Oxford Dictionary, A country is "a nation with its own government occupying a specific territory." A country can also refer to a group of people who share the same cultural heritage, identity, and traditions.

For the purposes of this article, a sovereign nation is defined as a state with its own borders, the power to sign treaties, and diplomatic relations with other countries. In order to be deemed a country, a country must be recognised by other members of the United Nations.

Current Status

There are 195 countries in the world at present. This statistic comprises 193 UN member states as well as two non-member states: Palestine and the Holy See.
The following countries are not included:

  • Taiwan, which is represented by the People's Republic of China at the United Nations.
  • The Cook Islands and Niue, both in free association with New Zealand, are members of several UN specialised organisations and have been granted "full treaty-making ability." Still, neither are member states nor non-member observer nations.
  • Dependencies (also known as dependent territories, dependent regions, or dependent territories), Special Sovereignty Areas (independent territories), and other countries classified as non-self-governing by the United Nations.

What's With Partial Recognition?

Greenland, a huge island between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans that appears like it should be its own country, is maybe the most perplexing non-country. While it has sovereignty over many of its domestic issues, it is ultimately ruled by Denmark, a European country even smaller than Iceland and thousands of miles away.

Kosovo, a self-declared state, declared independence from Serbia in 2008. However, 15 countries, including Madagascar, Suriname, Burundi, and Papua New Guinea, have revoked their recognition of Kosovo due to Serbia's resistance. Kosovo is now recognised as an independent entity by 98 of the 193 United Nations member states (51%).

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are disputed Caucasus territories that broke away from Georgia after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria have all recognised the regions as independent states.

There is only one country that recognises Northern Cyprus, which is Turkey. Following a failed coup d'état in 1974, Turkey took control of the island's northern half.

De Facto States

Many "de facto states" – political entities with no international recognition – are not recognised by any UN member.

Transnistria, Somaliland, Cabinda, and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) are among them, as are Ukraine's rebels Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic.

More than 500,000 people live in Transnistria, a narrow stretch of land situated between Moldova and Ukraine. After a brief armed battle in which the separatists appear to have been supported by Russia, the little sliver of contested territory broke from Moldova in 1992. Even Russia, which has soldiers stationed in the territory and regularly conducts military exercises there, does not recognise Transnistria.

Somaliland formally called the "Republic of Somaliland," is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is a self-declared republic on the Gulf of Aden's coast. After the ousting of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991, Somaliland declared independence. Even though any other country does not recognise Somaliland, it has functioning government institutions and even its own currency. 

The Republic of Cabinda was established in what is now Angola's Cabinda Province. The Front for Cabinda State Liberation-Exercito de Cabinda (FLEC) was declared independent of Angola in 1975. 

There would have been 207 countries on the planet if these de facto states were included.

Micronations

There are also around 400 "micronations" - regions that claim to be independent or sovereign nations, with populations ranging from a small hamlet to a single household but have not been legally recognised by other states.

For example, the Principality of Seborga, which includes a small settlement on the French-Italian border, was established on the suggestion of Giorgio Carbone, a flower planter who subsequently became known as Prince Giorgio I.

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FAQs About How Many Countries are there in the World

  • Total how many countries are there in the world?

There are 195 countries in the world.

  • Is Taiwan included in the list of 195 countries?

No, Taiwan is not included.

  • Who recognises the countries?

United Nations recognises the official list of countries.