Least Populated Countries in the World – Top 10 Listed

Top 10 Least Populated Countries in the World


Least Populated Countries



Vatican City












San Marino









Saint Kitts and Nevis



Marshall Islands





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Least Populated Countries in the World

The term Least Populated Countries refers to nations with the smallest populations in the world. These countries often have significantly fewer residents compared to larger nations, and their small size can have unique social, economic, and political implications.

While they may be small in terms of population, many of these countries are culturally diverse and can be found scattered across different regions of the world. The challenges and opportunities faced by these nations, such as maintaining their sovereignty, providing services to their citizens, and preserving their unique cultures, make them intriguing subjects of study in the field of geopolitics and global demographics.


1. Vatican City (800)

Vatican City, officially known as the Vatican City State, is the world’s smallest independent sovereign state both in terms of area and population. It is an enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. Vatican City serves as the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church and is the residence of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church.

Its small population of around 800 people consists primarily of clergy, Swiss Guards, and other Vatican employees. Vatican City’s unique status as an independent city-state has made it a significant religious and cultural destination, drawing millions of visitors from around the world each year.

It is renowned for its iconic landmarks, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums, which house an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts. Despite its small size, Vatican City wields significant influence on the global stage, both religiously and diplomatically, and plays a pivotal role in shaping Catholic doctrine and international affairs.

2. Nauru (10,876)

Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru, is a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. With a population of approximately 10,876 people, it is one of the least populated countries in the world. Nauru gained independence from Australia in 1968 and is known for its phosphate mining industry, which was once a major source of revenue.

However, the depletion of phosphate resources has posed economic challenges for the country. Nauru’s economy has diversified in recent years, with a focus on financial services and the processing of asylum seekers, which has generated income but also attracted international scrutiny.

The country faces environmental challenges, including rising sea levels due to climate change, which threaten its low-lying land. Despite its small population and geographic isolation, Nauru has a unique culture, with influences from its Micronesian heritage and colonial history. The Nauruan people have a strong connection to their land and traditional customs, and the country is known for its distinct art, music, and dance

3. Tuvalu (11,931)

Tuvalu is another small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, located midway between Hawaii and Australia. With a population of approximately 11,931 people, it is one of the world’s least populated countries. Tuvalu consists of a chain of nine coral atolls and reef islands, and like many low-lying island nations, it is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels.

The people of Tuvalu are known for their warm hospitality and strong sense of community. Fishing and subsistence agriculture are central to their way of life. The country’s economy is relatively small and relies on foreign aid, remittances, and revenue from the sale of its internet domain name “.tv.”

Tuvalu is also actively engaged in international efforts to address climate change and promote environmental sustainability, as the threat of sea-level rise poses a serious existential risk to the nation. Despite its challenges, Tuvalu’s culture is rich and diverse, with a unique Polynesian heritage reflected in its traditional music, dance, and craftsmanship.

4. Palau (18,169)

Palau, officially known as the Republic of Palau, is a small island nation located in the western Pacific Ocean. With a population of approximately 18,169 people, it is one of the least populated countries in the world. Palau is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, characterized by lush tropical landscapes, pristine coral reefs, and crystal-clear waters.

The nation consists of over 300 islands, with the largest being Babeldaob, which is home to the capital city, Ngerulmud. Palau’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, as visitors come to explore its vibrant marine life, including world-class diving sites like the famous Blue Corner.

Despite its small population, Palau has a unique political structure as a presidential republic with a multi-party system. It has a Compact of Free Association with the United States, which provides financial assistance and defense provisions. This arrangement underscores the nation’s strategic location in the Pacific and its geopolitical significance.

Additionally, Palau is a leader in marine conservation efforts, designating a significant portion of its waters as a marine sanctuary to protect its fragile ecosystems. This dedication to environmental preservation aligns with its cultural values and has made Palau an influential advocate for global environmental conservation.

5. San Marino (34,017)

San Marino is a landlocked microstate entirely surrounded by Italy, making it one of the world’s smallest and oldest republics. With a population of approximately 34,017, it holds the distinction of being one of the least populated countries in Europe. San Marino is known for its rich historical heritage, with roots dating back to A.D. 301, when it was founded as a monastic community.

Today, it is a parliamentary republic with a unique political system featuring a popularly elected Captains Regent who serves as the head of state. The city of San Marino, the capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its historic center offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.

Despite its small size, San Marino boasts a stable and prosperous economy, supported by a thriving tourism industry and a well-developed financial sector. The country’s currency is the Euro, and it has a diverse cultural scene that includes museums, festivals, and historical sites. San Marino’s commitment to maintaining its independence and traditions is deeply ingrained in its identity, and it remains one of the world’s oldest republics, with a rich cultural heritage that attracts visitors from around the globe.

6. Liechtenstein (38,250)

Liechtenstein is a tiny, landlocked European principality nestled in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria. With a population of approximately 38,250, it is one of the smallest and least populated countries in the world. Despite its size, Liechtenstein has a robust and highly developed economy, with a strong focus on finance and industry.

The principality is known for its banking secrecy laws and low corporate taxes, making it an attractive destination for businesses and investors. Vaduz, the capital, is a charming town with a picturesque castle that overlooks the scenic Rhine Valley.

Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The reigning monarch, currently Prince Hans-Adam II, has played a significant role in shaping the country’s modern history and politics. The principality is known for its strong emphasis on preserving its cultural heritage, including its traditional alpine customs and art.

It also has a thriving contemporary art scene and hosts various cultural events throughout the year. Additionally, Liechtenstein is renowned for its beautiful hiking trails, ski resorts, and outdoor recreational activities, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

7. Monaco (39,511)

Monaco is a tiny sovereign city-state situated on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is renowned for its glamorous lifestyle, luxurious casinos, and picturesque Mediterranean coastline. Despite its small size, Monaco is densely populated and is one of the world’s most densely inhabited countries.

Its population of approximately 39,511 people as of my last knowledge update in September 2021 enjoys a high standard of living, thanks in part to its status as a tax haven. Monaco is also famous for its Formula 1 Grand Prix and its lavish casinos, which attract tourists and high rollers from around the world. The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco for centuries, and the country is known for its stability, safety, and political neutrality.

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis (53,544)

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a small island nation located in the Caribbean Sea. It is composed of two volcanic islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and is known for its stunning natural beauty, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and vibrant coral reefs.

The country’s population, which stood at approximately 53,544 people as of my last knowledge update, relies heavily on tourism and agriculture for its economy. Saint Kitts and Nevis is also famous for its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, which allows foreigners to obtain citizenship in exchange for making a qualifying investment in the country. This program has played a significant role in the nation’s economic development.

9. Marshall Islands (59,610)

The Marshall Islands is a Pacific island nation consisting of 29 atolls and 5 individual islands. Located in Micronesia, it is known for its picturesque coral atolls and pristine marine ecosystems. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the population of the Marshall Islands was approximately 59,610 people. The country gained independence from the United States in 1986 and maintains close ties with the U.S., with the U.S. providing defense and financial assistance. The Marshall Islands faces challenges related to climate change and rising sea levels, making it an advocate for global climate action. The Compact of Free Association with the United States grants the Marshall Islands certain benefits in exchange for strategic defense rights and financial assistance.

10. Dominica (72,167)

Dominica is a lush and mountainous island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean. Known as the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” due to its stunning natural landscapes, including rainforests, waterfalls, and hot springs, Dominica has a population of approximately 72,167 people as of my last knowledge update.

The country’s economy relies on agriculture, tourism, and the offshore financial sector. Dominica has also become popular among eco-tourists and those seeking citizenship through its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, which has contributed to its economic development.

Dominica has a parliamentary democracy and is known for its political stability and peaceful way of life. However, it has faced challenges such as natural disasters, including hurricanes and tropical storms, which have impacted its infrastructure and economy.

What Defines a Country as Least Populated?

Defining a country as “least populated” is based on the criterion of having a very small population relative to the global average. While there is no universally agreed-upon threshold for what qualifies as “least populated,” this categorization typically refers to nations with significantly fewer inhabitants compared to larger and more populous countries. Several factors are considered when determining whether a country falls into this category:

Population Size: The primary criterion is, of course, the total number of people residing within the borders of a nation. Countries with populations in the tens of thousands or fewer are often considered least populated. However, the specific number that qualifies a country as least populated can vary depending on the context.

Population Density: Population density, which is the number of people per unit of area (usually per square kilometer or square mile), is another key factor. Least populated countries typically have low population density, indicating that the land area is much larger compared to the number of people living there. This low population density can result in vast, sparsely inhabited landscapes.

Global Comparison: Least populated countries are often defined in relative terms, considering their population in comparison to the global population. A country with a population that is a small fraction of the world’s total population is more likely to be categorized as least populated.

Social and Economic Implications: The designation of “least populated” also considers the social and economic consequences of having a small population. These nations often face unique challenges, including limited economic diversity, reliance on specific industries (such as tourism or agriculture), and potential difficulties in providing public services and infrastructure to a small number of residents.

Geographic Isolation: Many least populated countries are geographically isolated, often being islands or located in remote regions. Geographic isolation can further impact their population size and demographics.

Cultural and Historical Factors: Cultural and historical factors can play a role in defining a country as least populated. Some nations have small populations due to historical events, colonization, or indigenous populations with distinct lifestyles.

It’s important to note that the definition of “least populated” can change over time due to population growth, migration, or other factors. Additionally, what constitutes a small population in one region of the world may be considered relatively large in another. Therefore, the designation of least populated is somewhat subjective and context-dependent, but it generally refers to countries with notably small populations compared to global or regional standards.

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