Which country is the largest country in the world in terms of area? Find out which countries are in the top ten in the ranking.
The ranking of the ten largest countries in the world refers to the area in square kilometers of the respective countries in 2020 and also provides information on how this land area is distributed and used.
The entire surface of the world is around 510 million square kilometers. Around 360.6 million square kilometers (71 percent) are covered by the water surface. In contrast, there are around 150 million square kilometers, which account for the land area (29 percent). There are a total of 194 countries – 193 countries of the United Nations (UN), as well as the non-UN country Vatican City – the generally recognized smallest country in the world.
At this point, however, it must be mentioned that there are other countries in addition to which the status as a country can at least be described as controversial. But which countries are the ten largest countries on earth?
These are the ten largest countries in terms of surface area in 2020
Algeria ranks tenth in the ranking of the largest countries. The state is the largest country in Africa and has an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers. Algeria is thus over six and a half times the size of Germany – which has an area of only 357,386 square kilometers. The Algerian Sahara occupies around two million square kilometers, a good 85 percent of the country’s total area.
This peculiarity means that the population of Algeria is very unevenly distributed. 96 percent of the approximately 42.5 million Algerians live in the northern part of the country. However, this only makes up a fifth of the total area. 65 percent of the residents live in cities that are primarily found in the country’s coastal regions. This uneven distribution of the Algerian population increases the country’s average population density. This is currently 17.2 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Kazakhstan is ninth in the ranking of the largest countries worldwide. The country has an area of 2,724,900 square kilometers and is mainly in Central Asia. Only 5.4 percent of the country’s territory is allocated to the far east.
Steppes and forest steppes make up 28.5 percent of the total area of the country. Deserts – usually sand and gravel deserts – cover 44 percent of the total area of Kazakhstan.
The population in Kazakhstan is just over 18 million people. The average population density is only seven people per square kilometer – one of the lowest in the world. The most densely populated areas of Kazakhstan are in the extreme south and in the steppe region in the north of the country. In these areas, the population is around 25 people per square kilometer.
Argentina is only slightly larger than Kazakhstan. With a total area of 2,780,400 square kilometers, the country is in eighth place. Argentina is also the second-largest country in South America.
The distance from the northernmost to the southernmost point of the country is 3694 kilometers, the widest point from west to east is about 1423 kilometers wide. Around twelve percent of the country’s territory is forested.
Patagonia, located in the south, makes up around a quarter of the total area of Argentina but is only sparsely populated due to the harsh climate. Only one to three people live here on average per square kilometer. A large part (87 percent) of the approximately 44 million inhabitants of Argentina live in cities.
With a total area of 3,287,263 square kilometers, India ranks seventh in the ranking of the largest countries in the world. Over 21 percent of the country is forested. This corresponds to 701,700 square kilometers – which corresponds to an area that is around twice the size of Germany.
But the country’s forest areas are shrinking. In 2001, the value of India’s forested area was still 9.5 percent higher. This decline in forested areas in India goes hand in hand with the extremely strong population growth.
The population in India today is approximately 1.35 billion people. A billion marks were only exceeded relatively recently, in 2001. The rapidly increasing population of India also increases the country’s average population density. This is currently 407 inhabitants per square kilometer. Since the population of India is very unevenly distributed in the country, the population density in the country’s metropolitan areas can be over 1100 people per square kilometer.
Australia is more than twice the size of India in terms of land area. The country has an area of 7,741,220 square kilometers, making it the sixth-largest country in the world.
About 59,000 square kilometers is the water surface. The coastline of Australia is, according to official measurements, 25,760 kilometers long. A large part of the land area of Australia serves as pasture land, with pasture farming being carried out in particular in the outback. Only six percent of Australia’s land is used to grow food and fodder crops.
Australia’s population is around 24.6 million and has been rising steadily for decades. Due to the large land area and the comparatively small population, the average population density of Australia with 3.1 inhabitants per square kilometer is comparatively very low.
Brazil has around 900,000 square meters more land than Australia. The country has a total area of 8,515,770 square kilometers and thus takes up 47.3 percent of the total area of South America.
Brazil is the largest country in South America in terms of area.
The country’s forest areas continue to shrink. In 2010, 60.1 percent of Brazil was covered with forest. In 1990 this figure was 66.9 percent.
Brazil has around 208.3 million inhabitants. Around 90 percent of the Brazilian population lives in the eastern and southern areas of the country. The population density in these areas is 20 to over 300 inhabitants per square kilometer. In the other regions of the country, this value is sometimes less than five to 20 inhabitants per square kilometer.
With an area of 9,596,960 square kilometers, the People’s Republic of China is around one million square kilometers larger than India. China is in fourth place and just barely misses the top three largest countries in the world.
There are around 5,500 kilometers between the Siberian border and the southern tip of the island of Hainan. The Chinese territory stretches from East to West for around 5,200 kilometers.
The topographical nature of China can be divided into five forms. Their share of the total area of mainland China is divided into mountains (33.3 percent), plateaus (26 percent), basins (18.8 percent), plains (12 percent) and hilly areas (9.9 percent). China’s land area consists of 36 percent fertile arable land, 24 percent grassland, 9 percent forest and 2 percent wetlands, 21 percent desert and 6.5 percent wasteland. Cities in China take up only 1.5 percent of the country’s total area, despite their size and enormous population.
With around 1.4 billion people, the People’s Republic of China is the most populous country on earth. However, the population distribution in the country is very uneven – the current global population is currently around 7.8 billion people. Well over 90 percent of the country’s total population lives on 43 percent of the country’s eastern territory. In some parts of China, this results in a population density of 800 to 900 people per square kilometer.
3. United States
The USA ranks third in the world’s largest countries with a total area of 9,833,517 square kilometers. The United States thus has around 240,000 square kilometers more area than China.
About 328 million people live in the United States.
The metropolitan areas can be found in the areas of the east and west coast. Over 8.5 million people live in New York alone. The average population density in the United States is 33 inhabitants per square kilometer but varies between areas with a population density of fewer than ten people per square kilometer and regions with a population density of over 400 people per square kilometer.
The eastern regions of the USA were heavily forested until the 19th century. However, only a few of these areas remain today. These former forest areas were converted into arable land or built on.
Canada has an area of 9,984,670 square kilometers – and thus has almost 150,000 square kilometers more area than the United States. Canada occupies around 41 percent of North America and is almost as large as the whole of Europe.
Around 110,000 square kilometers of the country, divided into 92 individual areas, are now established as protected areas.
the population of 35 million people in Canada, which is comparatively small. In connection with the enormous land area, the country’s population density is therefore very low. The average is only 3.9 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The heavily populated areas are close to the 350 km long border with the United States – however, large parts of the north of Canada are considered unpopulated.
In terms of area, Russia is in first place in the ranking of the largest countries in the world. With an area of 17,098,242 square kilometers, Russia is almost twice as large as Canada in second place.
Russia comprises eleven percent of the world’s total land area, which roughly corresponds to the area of Australia and Europe. The European continent accounts for 23 percent of the Russian territory, the remaining 77 percent for Asia.
The distance between the westernmost and the easternmost point of Russia is about 9000 kilometers, between south and east there are 4000 kilometers. At the same time, Russia also has the largest forest area in the world. This takes up two-thirds of the total area of Russia.