How Many Countries & Territories Are There In The World Today (Updated in 2023)
The issue is that various organizations take different positions on what exactly constitutes a country. There is no universal agreement on the total number of countries, which can vary significantly depending on the source.
Nevertheless, the de facto authority on nationhood is generally regarded as the United Nations. The United Nations currently counts 193 nations as member states. Additionally, it recognizes the Holy See/Vatican City and Palestine as “observers states”—self-governing territories rather than independent nations.
Even the U.N. list, though, is not without controversy. The self-governing territory of Taiwan (Republic of China), which was a member of the U.N. from 1945 to 1971 but is now regarded as a territory of mainland China, is not currently recognized by the organization. In a similar vein, as of 2020, about half of U.N. members continued to view Kosovo as an extension of Serbia rather than a separate country.
Simply put, the FIFA list was incorrect. The fact that football has more national teams than any other sport is also a great place to start.Although the United Kingdom only has one country, FIFA treated Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales as four separate “countries.” Therefore, the FIFA list isn’t exactly accurate without getting political (and coming from Northern Ireland, that’s quite difficult).
Elaboration of data by United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division etc. This list includes both countries and dependent territories for a total of 235.
In contrast, the list of nations published by Britannica includes 196 nations, giving Kosovo, Taiwan, and Vatican City full nation-hood rights. Then there is Wikipedia’s list of sovereign states, which adds an additional eleven sovereign states for a total of 206, mirroring the U.N.’s list of 193 countries and two observer states. These additional states include Taiwan, Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, the Cook Islands, and others.
The largest island between the north Atlantic and Arctic oceans, Greenland certainly appears to be a separate country, just like its tiny neighbor, Iceland, and is perhaps the most perplexing non-country. Although it has many domestic affairs under its control, Greenland is not a member of the United Nations and is ultimately governed by Denmark, a European nation even smaller than Iceland that is thousands of miles away.
Other sources use a less rigid definition of country and give dependent and disputed territories such as Greenland and the Gaza Strip their own separate listings. This is the reason the United States’ CIA Factbook lists 237 countries.
All of this demonstrates that it is not so simple to determine the exact number of countries there are in the world. Moreover, and the constantly changing nature of politics means that issues around sovereignty are unlikely to ever be fully resolved.
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*How Many Countries Are There In Oceania?
*How Many Countries Are There In The Middle East Today: List, Population, Facts and Figure?
*How Many Countries Are There In South America Today?
*How Many Countries Are There in Africa Today: List, Population, Richest and Smallest
*For the ultimate list of not just countries, but also territories and regions that have some degree of self-governance but are not universally considered fully-fledged countries, check the table below:
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