Difference Between Nation and Country: Nation vs Country

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between Nation and Country is that a Nation is defined as a community based on common interests like language, ethnicity, territory, etc. On the other hand, a Country is a sovereign state or a physical territory with a government. Many people think that nation and country are synonyms but they are not. A nation possesses a joint cultural identity, while a country holds a single political power.

Difference Between Nation and Country PDF

The terms ‘Country’ and ‘Nation’ are two different words having almost identical meanings and are used interchangeably. The article will also shed light on the concepts of Nation vs Country and the state. This page will discuss the significant difference between Nation and Country, along with the difference between Nation and State.

Difference Between Nation and Country

All countries are sovereign, whereas all nations are not sovereign. A nation is a social, cultural, psychological, emotional, and political unity, while a country is determined by the same government and in terms of individuals. Below is a detailed difference between nation and country.

Nation vs Country

Difference Between Nation and Country



A nation is a team or group of individuals with a common link and identity.

A country is a state that applies to self-governing identities in politics.

All nations are not sovereign.

All countries are sovereign.

A nation is defined in a geographical aspect.

A country is defined by the same government and in terms of people.

An example of a nation is the Basque people who live in Spain.

Still, they consider themselves a different nation because they have a separate ethnicity and interests from the rest of the population.

An example of this is the Russian Federation.

The states in the Russian Federation follow the rules and regulations of the same governing body.

All the states of the Russian Federation are small constituents and adhere to the policies of one government.

Nation and Country

A nation is a political and cultural community aware of its unity, interests, and autonomy. On the other hand, a country refers to a state governed by independent groups in politics. All countries are autonomous but all nations are not autonomous.

Difference Between Nation and State UPSC

The topic of Difference Between Nation and Country is an important concept pertaining to the polity section of the UPSC Syllabus. Though direct questions have never been asked on this topic, conceptual questions are often asked in UPSC Mains of the UPSC Exam structure.

Candidates need to refer to the NCERT Books for UPSC to understand the basic concepts and then proceed with the Polity Books for UPSC to gain an in-depth understanding.

What is a Nation?

A nation refers to a vast cluster or a group of people populating a specific area based on a standard connection of tradition and culture. Nations are also defined as undiversified teams or groups of people that share a common religion, language, or any other establishment.

  • The term ‘nation’ is derived from the word ‘nacion.’
  • It means the place of origin in the French language.

Examples of Nations

  • Hong Kong
  • Bermuda
  • Greenland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales, Scotland
  • England

What is a Country?

The term ‘country’ is derived from the Old French word ‘contree’. A country is referred to as a political entity or a sovereign state. A country has two names: a protocol name and a geographical name.

For example, the protocol name of India is the Republic of India, and the geographical name is India.

Examples of Countries

  • China
  • United States
  • Germany
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Japan

Some nations are considered sovereign states, but some are not. Examples of nations that are not sovereign states but hold a territory are:

  • Bosnia
  • The Indian Nations of the United States
  • Sicily
  • Tibet
  • Quebec
  • Corsica.


Key Difference Between Nation and Country

The key Difference Between Nation and Country is that a nation can survive even without sovereignty, but all nations are not sovereign, whereas all countries are sovereign. A significant Difference Between Nation and State is that a nation is a group of people with a common language, history, culture, and geographic territory. A state is characterized by four essential elements- territory, population, sovereignty, and government.

Related Articles
Difference Between State Legislative Assembly and Parliament Difference Between Viceroy and Governor General
Bhakti and Sufi Movement Difference Between Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha
Delhi vs New Delhi Difference Between Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains
Difference Between Rural and Urban Difference Between Money Bill and Finance Bill
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium