Smallest Countries in the World by Population

Smallest Countries in the World by Population

Can you imagine a country where you know almost half the people? 

“Oh, my upstairs neighbor is the new president! Remind me to buy some flowers for them while I am walking back home from work.“

Joke aside, what do we talk about when we say “small country?” It may be useful to think of a nation with a relatively small population size, land area, and economic output. The population size is particularly important because it affects different aspects of its society and governance. For example, a small population may lead to a lack of diversity in the workforce, limited resources for public services, and a narrow range of cultural expressions. Additionally, small countries may struggle to attract investment and grow their economies due to their limited market size. Small communities are often unable to provide opportunities for career growth, social advancement, and economic prosperity. Similarly, small countries may struggle to provide opportunities for their citizens due to limited resources, a lack of investment, and a narrow range of industries.

Oh, then why don’t they pile up, right? Because small countries are not without their advantages. They often have strong national identities and a deep sense of community spirit. Smaller populations can also facilitate closer social bonds and more effective governance. For example, small countries like Iceland and Denmark have implemented effective social welfare programs and have relatively low levels of corruption. Furthermore, small countries may be more agile and innovative, as they can adapt quickly to changing circumstances and experiment with new policies. Let’s think of it with a real life example. After one TV series, called Borgen, which is about a fictional female character with a big success in politics, who became the prime minister even though her party had a very few chairs in parliament, Denmark chose its female prime minister. It is more possible to create big effects in small communities. 

Now, it is time to take a look at the 10 smallest countries in the world! No need to take your magnifying glasses with you, we will lead you through the way!

10 Smallest Countries in the World by Population


Continent: North Africa
Population: 73,040
GDP Per Capita: 7.653,17 USD 

Dominica, also known as the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” is a small island nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. With a population of approximately 72,000, it is ranked as one of the smallest populations in the world. Despite its small size, Dominica is a unique and beautiful country, with stunning natural landscapes and a rich cultural heritage.

The main source of income for Dominica is tourism, with visitors attracted to the island’s pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife. Other significant economic activities include agriculture, particularly banana cultivation, and offshore financial services.

One of the most significant characteristics of Dominica is its commitment to preserving its natural environment. The island is home to several national parks and protected areas, including Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, Dominica has become a leader in sustainable tourism, with initiatives such as the “Nature Island Challenge” promoting eco-friendly practices.

Despite its small size, Dominica has also made significant strides in social development, with a high literacy rate and universal access to healthcare. Its culture is a blend of African, indigenous, and European influences, resulting in a vibrant and unique identity. Overall, Dominica may be small in size, but it is a remarkable country with much to offer.

9.Saint Kitts and Nevis

Continent: North America
Population: 47, 606
GDP Per Capita: 860,8 million USD

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a small, pleasant island country located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico. The country comprises two islands, guess what they’re called: Saint Kitts and Nevis, with a total land area of just 101 square miles. But the country has a rich history dating back to the 17th century, when it was colonized by the British. Today, Saint Kitts and Nevis is a constitutional monarchy with a population of approximately 50,000 people.

Tourism is a major industry in Saint Kitts and Nevis, with visitors drawn to the country’s natural beauty, warm climate, and vibrant culture. Think of small islands white sand beaches, rainforest hikes, and historic landmarks, it is not hard to understand why. The capital city of Basseterre is home to many cultural sites and museums, highlighting the country’s history and heritage.

In addition to its tourism industry, Saint Kitts and Nevis has a multi-sourced economy, with a focus on agriculture, manufacturing, and financial services. The country is also known for its strong tradition of music and dance, with calypso and reggae being popular genres. Cool, huh?

It is a small country, but Saint Kitts and Nevis has made significant progress in social and economic development, with a strong emphasis on education and healthcare. The country has a high standard of living compared to other Caribbean nations and is working to build a sustainable future for its people and its environment.

8.Marshall Islands

Continent: Oceania
Population: 40,050
GDP Per Capita: 259,5 million USD

The Marshall Islands is a small island country, almost exactly halfway between Hawaii and Australia. It’s actually composed of 29 coral atolls and more than 1,000, yes, a thousand individual islands located in the Pacific Ocean, with a total land area of just 70 square miles. The Marshallese people have a rich cultural heritage, with a unique language and traditional practices that have been passed down through generations.

Yes, it is small, but the Marshall Islands have played an important role in global military and political affairs. During World War II, the islands were occupied by Japan and later served as a testing ground for nuclear weapons by the United States. The country has also been the site of a number of key missile tests and military exercises over the years, due to its strategic location in the Pacific.

The legacy of nuclear testing has had a lasting impact on the Marshall Islands and its people, with many suffering from health problems and environmental degradation as a result of the tests. The country has been a vocal advocate for nuclear disarmament and has called for greater accountability from the United States and other nuclear powers. Despite these challenges, the Marshallese people remain resilient and continue to work towards a brighter future for their country and their people.


Continent: Europe
Population: 36.686
GDP Per Capita: 8.596 billion USD

Monaco is a tiny principality located on the French Riviera, bordered by France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. It is recognized by its glitz and glamor, and the reputation of being the playground for the rich and famous. Monaco has a long and colorful history, having been ruled by the Grimaldi family since 1297. The country has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, attracting visitors with its beautiful coastline, mild climate, and luxurious amenities.

The population of the country is approximately 40,000 people, however, Monaco has a surprisingly diverse population, with a mix of ethnic groups including Monégasque, French, Italian, and British.

Monaco is known for its high standard of living and low taxes, as well as its status as a tax haven for wealthy individuals and businesses. The country has a strong economy based on tourism, banking, and real estate, with a per capita GDP that ranks among the highest in the world. Monaco is also known for its world-class cultural institutions, including the Monte Carlo Opera and the Monaco Yacht Show, which attract visitors from around the world.


Continent: Europe
Population: 39,039
GDP Per Capita: 6,114 billion USD

Here we have another small country, nestled between Switzerland and Austria. This one also has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when the Liechtenstein family purchased land in the region and established themselves as a ruling dynasty. Today, Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy with a population of approximately 38,000 people, with a mix of ethnic groups including Liechtensteiners, Germans, and Austrians.

Although being really small when compared to its neighbors, Liechtenstein has a high-income economy and is known for its status as a tax haven. It has a well-developed financial services industry, with a strong emphasis on private banking and wealth management. This little but rich country has also developed a reputation for its favorable tax policies, attracting wealthy individuals and corporations from around the world.

In addition to its financial services industry, Liechtenstein has a diverse economy with a focus on high-tech manufacturing, tourism, and surprisingly – agriculture. The country has a highly skilled workforce and a strong tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship.

It is a well-known tax haven, but it’s always on the right side! Liechtenstein is committed to international cooperation and has taken steps to increase transparency and combat money laundering and tax evasion. The country is a member of the European Free Trade Association and maintains close ties with the European Union.

5.San Marino

Continent: Europe
GDP Per Capita: 1,541 billion USD

Here we have a small, landlocked country located in the heart of Italy. San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, having been founded in 301 AD by Saint Marinus, a Christian stonemason fleeing persecution in the Roman Empire. Despite its small size, San Marino has a rich history, having played a significant role in the Italian Renaissance and the unification of Italy in the 19th century. Today, San Marino has a population of approximately 34,000 people, with a mix of ethnic groups including Sammarinese, Italians, and other Europeans.

San Marino is known for its picturesque medieval architecture and stunning mountain landscapes. It is also a popular destination for tourists seeking to explore its rich cultural heritage and enjoy its relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. San Marino is also known for its political stability, having maintained its independent status for over a millennium despite its proximity to Italy.

Despite its small size and limited economic resources, San Marino has a high standard of living and a well-developed social welfare system. The country is known for its high levels of education and healthcare, as well as its low crime rates and low levels of corruption. San Marino is also a member of a number of international organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, and maintains diplomatic relations with over 70 countries around the world.


Continent: Oceania
Population: 18,024
GDP Per Capita: 217,8 million USD

Palau is also a tiny island nation located in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines. This island has a rich history, having been inhabited for thousands of years by various Micronesian and Melanesian groups before becoming a German colony, a Japanese mandate, and finally gaining independence in 1994. Today, Palau is the fourth least populous country, with a population of approximately 21,000 people, composed of a diverse mix of ethnic groups, including Palauans, Filipinos, and Chinese.

Palau is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, with pristine beaches, coral reefs, and lush tropical forests. The country has made a concerted effort to promote ecotourism and environmental conservation, recognizing the importance of preserving its unique natural heritage for future generations. Palau’s efforts in this regard have earned it global recognition, including being named one of the world’s top ecotourism destinations and establishing the world’s first shark sanctuary.

Apart from the efforts to promote ecotourism, Palau has also taken a leading role in advocating for global action on climate change and ocean conservation. The country has implemented a number of innovative policies, including banning single-use plastics and promoting renewable energy, to reduce its carbon footprint and protect its fragile ecosystems. Despite its small size, Palau’s commitment to environmental conservation has made it a global leader in sustainable development and a model for other countries to follow. Go Palau!


Continent: Oceania 
Population: 11,204
GDP Per Capita: 63,1 million USD ‎

Tuvalu is a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. The country was formerly known as the Ellice Islands and was a British protectorate until gaining independence in 1978. Today, Tuvalu has a population of approximately 11,600 people, making it one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of both land area and population size. The majority of the population is of Polynesian descent and is spread across nine low-lying coral atolls.

Despite its small size, Tuvalu has a rich cultural heritage, with traditional practices such as dance, music, and storytelling still playing an important role in daily life. The country’s unique geography, with its low-lying atolls and coral reefs, also provides a home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful tropical fish and sea turtles. However, Tuvalu is also particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to inundate its already limited land area. So, the country has become a vocal advocate for global action on climate change and has even considered relocating its entire population to higher ground in the event of a catastrophic sea-level rise.


Continent: Oceania
Population: 12,511
GDP Per Capita: 133,2 million USD

Nauru is another small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia, and the second least populated country in the world. It has a unique history, having been a German colony, a British mandate, and a UN trusteeship before gaining independence in 1968. Today, Nauru has a population of approximately 10,000 people, with a diverse mix of ethnic groups, including Nauruans, Chinese, and Pacific Islanders.

Despite its small size and isolated location, Nauru was once one of the wealthiest nations in the world due to its rich deposits of phosphate, a key component in fertilizer production. However, overexploitation of the phosphate resources has led to significant environmental degradation and social upheaval, leaving the country with a legacy of economic and social challenges. Today, Nauru faces high levels of poverty and unemployment, with limited economic opportunities and a heavy reliance on foreign aid.

Despite these challenges, Nauru is seeking to diversify its economy and attract new investment in areas such as fisheries, tourism, and renewable energy. The country’s unique geography and cultural heritage offer opportunities for sustainable development and ecotourism, while its strategic location in the Pacific also presents opportunities for regional cooperation and trade. Nevertheless, Nauru’s economic future remains uncertain, and the country faces significant challenges in addressing poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation.

1.Vatican City

Continent: Europe
Population: 825
GDP Per Capita: Not Available

The Vatican City, officially known as the Holy See, is a small independent city-state located in the heart of Rome, Italy. Established in 1929, the Vatican is the world’s smallest sovereign state and is home to the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The city-state occupies an area of just 44 hectares and has a population of approximately 800 people, making it the least populated country in the world.

The history of the Vatican City can be traced back to ancient Rome, but it was not until the fourth century AD that it became an important religious center. Over the centuries, the Vatican played a significant role in the shaping of European history, with its influence extending far beyond its borders. Today, the Vatican City is recognized as a sovereign entity with its own government, economy, and legal system. Its economic system is quite unique as well, since the Vatican operates a separate financial institution called the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), also known as the Vatican Bank. Its overall economic activity is suggested as being around 300 million to 400 million euros per year. But, the Vatican’s focus is not on generating profit or maximizing economic growth, but rather on promoting religious and cultural values and providing spiritual leadership to Catholics worldwide. So no data about the GDP of the Vatican City is available on the World Bank Database. 

The demographic makeup of the Vatican City is predominantly male, with the majority of the population being members of the clergy. The Vatican’s official language is Latin, although Italian is also widely spoken. The city-state is home to many important landmarks, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums.

As the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican City serves as a spiritual center for millions of Catholics around the world. It also plays an important role in international relations, with the Pope often serving as a mediator in global conflicts. Additionally, the Vatican City is known for its strong stance on social and moral issues, including human rights and climate change. It may be much smaller than many villages as a country, the Vatican remains a powerful and influential force in the world today.

Least Populous Countries: The Bottom Line

An average person meets approximately 10.000 people in their lifetime. It is equal to almost the entire country, according to most of the numbers mentioned in this article! This must definitely be a different experience of belongingness. 

Have you noticed that many of the smallest countries were either very old or island countries? They also have splendid unique cultures of their own, very well mixed with their history and natural beauty. Most probably, although they have relatively really small population sizes when compared to other countries, they have managed to pursue a certain culture of their own, which makes them more than a group of people, creates their sense of community, and distinguishes them.

Small countries may play a significant role in global affairs. While they usually may not have the economic or military power of larger nations, they often have unique perspectives and experiences that contribute to the global conversation. The mentioned countries can also be leaders in certain areas, such as sustainability, innovation, or human rights, as many of the mentioned island countries being the leaders of the struggle of humanity against climate change. 

On the other hand, these countries with a low population size may face significant challenges in global affairs. They may be more vulnerable to economic, environmental, or security threats, and their voices may be drowned out in global decision-making. Smaller countries may also be more susceptible to political pressure or manipulation from larger nations. Remember, almost every one of them was formerly colonized or mandated with a bigger country in their histories. This can have serious implications for the populations of small countries, including the potential loss of sovereignty or the erosion of democratic institutions.

So what is there to be done? The future of small countries and their populations will depend on their ability to adapt and navigate these challenges. Building strong alliances and partnerships with other nations will most probably provide them with greater influence and protection. Embracing innovation and technology can also help small countries compete in a global economy. Along with these, investing in education and social welfare can ensure that small countries’ populations are equipped to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Ultimately, the success of small countries will depend on their ability to leverage their unique strengths and navigate the challenges of global affairs.


  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a small country?

The advantages of being a small country include lower levels of bureaucracy, more manageable populations, and the ability to respond quickly to changes or emergencies. Additionally, small countries may be able to specialize in niche industries and benefit from strong brand recognition. However, small countries may also face a few disadvantages, such as limited natural resources, vulnerability to external economic shocks, and restricted bargaining power in international negotiations.

  • How do small countries manage to sustain their populations?

Small countries often rely on international trade and services industries to sustain their populations. Many small countries have developed niche industries, such as financial services, tourism, or technology, allowing them to compete on a global scale. Some small countries may receive aid or subsidies from larger ones or international organizations to help support their populations.

  • What is life like for people living in the smallest countries in the world?

Life in the smallest countries in the world can vary widely depending on the country. In Vatican City, most of the population are employees of the Catholic Church, and their lives revolve around religious activities. In Tuvalu and Nauru, many people rely on subsistence farming and fishing for their livelihoods, and the standard of living can be relatively low. The population in San Marino, on the other hand, enjoys a high standard of living thanks to the country’s robust economy and thriving tourism industry.

  • Are the smallest countries in the world politically stable? 

While the political stability of the smallest countries in the world can vary, many have relatively stable political systems. For example, San Marino and Andorra are both parliamentary democracies with stable political systems, while Nauru has faced political instability in recent years.

  • How do the smallest countries in the world interact with larger countries? 

The smallest countries in the world often rely on larger countries for trade and other economic interactions. Many also have close diplomatic relationships with larger countries, particularly those with whom they share borders.

  • How do the smallest countries in the world maintain their sovereignty? 

The smallest countries in the world maintain their sovereignty through international recognition and membership in international organizations such as the United Nations. Many also maintain strong diplomatic relationships with other countries and may rely on treaties or alliances for protection.

  • What is the economy like in the smallest countries in the world? 

The economies of the smallest countries in the world can vary widely. Some, like San Marino, have strong economies with thriving tourism and financial services industries. Others, like Nauru, have struggled economically due to the depletion of natural resources.

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