Smallest Countries in the Area & Population

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Do you know what the smallest countries in the world are? While you may have a few guesses, you may be surprised at the facts when you’re looking at these countries from the standpoints of population and area.

We’re going to tell you which countries made the list as well as some facts about each one. Use the information to expand your knowledge or use it during your next trivia night!

What Are the Smallest Countries in the World?

The smallest countries in the world are commonly called microstates, although that's not an official term. The absolute smallest, the Vatican and Monaco, are modern-day city-states. Or rather, the Vatican is a neighborhood state in a larger city. The Holy See is part of no country, but it is contained within (and is powered by) the city of Rome. It's so small that rounding down to the nearest half gives the seemingly impossible size you see in the table. So, let’s begin with a look at the 15 smallest countries in the world by square kilometers.  

RankCountry NameSquare Kilometers
1.Vatican City0 sq. km
2.Monaco2 sq. km
3.Nauru21 sq. km
4.Tuvalu26 sq. km
5.San Marino61 sq. km
6.Liechtenstein160 sq. km
7.Marshall Islands181 sq. km
8.Saint Kitts and Nevis261 sq. km
9.Maldives298 sq. km
10.Malta316 sq. km
10.Grenada344 sq. km
10.Saint Vincent and the Grenadines389 sq. km
10.Barbados430 sq. km
10.Antigua and Barbuda442 sq. km
10.Seychelles455 sq. km

Vatican City: .44 Square Kilometers

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world with a total area of less than one square kilometer. It is a landlocked sovereign city-state located within the city of Rome, Italy. The State of Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

Vatican City State is also the territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes), the seat of the episcopal jurisdiction and the central government of the Catholic Church.

Monaco: 2.02 Square Kilometers

Monaco is the second smallest country by land area and is a city-state on the French Riveria. Nice, France is located just 9 miles away and the border with Italy is just five miles away. Monaco is the most densely populated sovereign country in the world.

Although it is one of the world’s smallest countries, it is known as a popular area for the wealthy and many millionaires. It has many gambling facilities as well as a mild climate that draws in visitors.

Nauru: 21 Square Kilometers

Nauru is a Micronesia island located northeast of Australia. It is formerly known as Pleasant Island. It is the smallest republic in the world. Few resources exist in Nauru, so it relies on imports, mainly from Australia. In 2001, Nauru signed an agreement with Australia to take in more than 1000 asylum seekers in return for millions of dollars in aid.

Tuvalu: 26 Square Kilometers

Tuvalu is a Polynesian archipelago of nine main islands in the South Pacific. It is formerly known as the Ellice Islands. You’ll find Tuvalu in the Central Pacific Ocean just below the equator. It is north of Fiji and east of the Solomon Islands.

San Marino: 61 Square Kilometers

San Marino is officially known as the Republic of San Marino. It is landlocked in northeastern Italy. People in San Marino speak Italian. San Marino is one of five microstates in Europe.

Here’s a little trivia fact about San claims to be the world's oldest republic, with a constitution dating back to 1600.

Liechtenstein: 160 Square Kilometers

Liechtenstein is a landlocked principality located between Austria and Switzerland. Its capital is Vaduz and the main language spoken is German. Here’s a fun fact...34% of the population are considered to be foreigners.

Marshall Islands: 181 Square Kilometers

The Marshall Islands consist of a chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls. It is located in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. The Marshall Islands used to be a U.S. territory but is now a sovereign nation. The country is also a popular tourist destination for those looking for great weather and relaxation.

Saint Kitts and Nevis: 261 Square Kilometers

Another popular tourist destination is Saint Kitts and Nevis, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is officially known as the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and is also called Saint Christopher and Nevis. Once known for its cultivation of sugarcane which was the center of the economy, tourism has now taken center stage. The official language is English.

Maldives: 298 Square Kilometers

The Maldives is a nation of islands located in the Indian Ocean. It spans across the equator. It is home to beautiful beaches and resorts, making it a popular area to vacation.

Male is the capital and largest city in Maldives. Maldivian is the language mainly spoken and the main religion of the country is Islam.

Malta: 316 Square Kilometers

Malta is an island state located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy). It is made up of three islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta is the largest island. Malta is a popular tourist destination known for its warm climate. Tourists love the country which has served as locations for major movies such as “Game of Thrones” and “Gladiator”.

Grenada: 344 Square Kilometers

Located in the Caribbean, Grenada is an island country in the West Indies. It consists of the main island of Grenada, also known as “spice island”, as well as eight small islands. It is a popular tourist destination.

St. George is the capital and largest city in Grenada. English is the official language, but Grenadian Creole English and Grenadian Creole French are also spoken there.

Saint Vincent & The Grenadines: 389 Square Kilometers

Saint Vincent and The Grenadines is a country located in the Caribbean. You’ll find it in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. It gained independence from the United Kingdom and became part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The island of Saint Vincent has short streams and thickly wooded volcanic mountains. The area is known to have a tropical maritime climate. Much of the economy is dependent on agriculture.

Barbados: 430 Square Kilometers

Barbados is an Eastern Caribbean Island country. Its capital is Bridgetown which is also the largest town and home to the main seaport. Barbados enjoys beautiful weather almost all year long. The population is made up of people of African descent as well as those of African-European descent.

Antigua & Barbuda: 442 Square Kilometers

Antigua & Barbuda is located in the West Indies. It is a sovereign country and is a very popular tourist destination with its pristine beaches and resorts.

Antigua’s shoreline has 95 miles of beautiful coastline while Barbuda features protective reefs, a large lagoon, and the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. The weather here is beautiful with its crystal-clear waters which are just some of the reasons why people are drawn here.

Seychelles: 455 Square Kilometers

Seychelles is located off East Africa and is made up of two main groups of over 100 islands in the western Indian Ocean. Kenya and Madagascar are their closest neighbors. Most of Seychelles is covered by forest. It’s known for its tropical vegetation and beautiful beaches. Seychelles gained its independence from Britain in 1976 and is now a presidential republic.

What Is the Smallest Country in the World by Population?

While some countries may be small in area, others are small in population. You’ll notice that some of the same countries that appear on the smallest list by area are also on this list. But some others that are not as small in area, are small in population. You’ll find these on the list.

RankCountry NamePopulation
1.Vatican City800 
7.Caribbean Netherlands27,726
8.British Virgin Islands31,000
9.Saint Martin32,489
10.San Marino33,700
10.Sint Maarten (Netherlands)41,500
10.Turks and Caicos Islands44,540
10.American Samoa46,366

Here’s a look at the 15 smallest countries in the world by population.

Vatican City: Population of 800

Vatican City is not only the smallest country in the world by area, but it also has the least residents and is the smallest by population. It is the smallest sovereign state in the world. About 450 people have Vatican citizenship. Vatican City has the highest share of foreign-born inhabitants at 100%.

Here’s an interesting fact about Vatican is the country with the lowest fertility rate and a population growth rate of zero percent.

Montserrat: Population of 4,626

When it comes to small countries by population, Montserrat is second on the list. Montserrat is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico and contains seven active volcanoes. In 1995, thousands of people left the island after some renewed volcanic activity. Since then, only some have returned.

Tuvalu: Population of 10,778

Tuvalu is the third smallest country in the world by population with just over 10,000 inhabitants.

Nauru: Population of 11,928

Nauru is another country that is one of the smallest by area and population. It is the smallest republic in the world.

Anguilla: Population of 15,100

Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean located east of Puerto Rico and north of Saint Martin in the Eastern Caribbean. It shares maritime borders with Antigua and Barbuda as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Anguilla has beautiful beaches, making it a popular vacation destination.

Palau: Population of 17,976

Palau is a Micronesian archipelago of over 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It was a part of the Pacific Islands Trust Territory that was administered by the United States. It has been an independent republic since 1990.

Caribbean Netherlands: Population of 27,726

As an island nation, the Caribbean Netherlands consists of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. These are special municipalities within the Netherlands. It borders the country of Guadeloupe on Saint Martin.

British Virgin Islands: Population of 31,000

The British Virgin Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, located east of Puerto Rico. It consists of four larger islands, Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke as well as 32 smaller islands and islets. The British Virgin Islands is known to have a subtropical climate.

Saint Martin: Population of 32,489

This is the French part of the Caribbean Island of Saint Martin that we mentioned above.

San Marino: Population of 33,700

San Marino is not only one of the smallest countries by area but also one of the smallest by population with under 34,000 residents.

San Marino is officially known as the Republic of San Marino. It is landlocked in northeastern Italy. People in San Marino speak Italian. San Marino is one of five microstates in Europe.

Monaco: Population of 38,350

Although Monaco is the second smallest country by area, it is not even in the top ten of the smallest countries by population. Monaco is the most densely populated sovereign country in the world.

Liechtenstein: Population of 39,151

Liechtenstein is one of the countries that is the smallest by area and population, 34% of the population is considered to be foreigners.

Sint Maarten (Netherlands): Population of 41,500

Sint Maarten is the Dutch section of the island of Saint Martin. It is a country on the southern part of the Caribbean island shared with Saint Maarten. Sint Maarten features beaches, salt pans, and lagoons. It also has many colorful buildings and shopping areas.

Turks & Caicos Islands: Population of 44,540

Turks & Caicos Islands consist of two archipelagos southeast of the Bahamas and north of Haiti. It is an extremely popular tourist destination with its beautiful beaches and resorts. Tourism is a main source of income.

American Samoa: Population of 46,366

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States and is the only U.S. territory south of the equator. It is made up of seven islands and atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. It is located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. The main island of American Samoa is Tutuila.

What Is the Top 30 Smallest Country in the World?

When looking at both the world’s smallest countries by area and population, Vatican City is as small as they come. With fewer than 800 people living there and a total area of less than one square kilometer, Vatican City is surely a small place to live. But it is rich in culture and tradition.

Learn more about Vatican City, where you’ll find interesting information about the country’s history, government, and more.

NOTE: Country rankings aren't definitive; instead they provide an approximate comparison. Country data vary enormously depending on the sources, and there is an absence of reliable data on some countries. Source: The World Factbook and the U.S. Census Bureau, International Database.

General World Statistics
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