India’s population is projected to surpass China’s as soon as 2022.
While this is consequential on a global economic level, it also leaves other population trends overlooked. For instance, Nigeria is projected to have more people than the U.S., the world’s third-largest country by population, by the year 2050.
This treemap visualization, adapted from PopulationPyramid.net, is an overview of the global population in 2020, showing us the world’s most populous countries.
The 50 Most Populous Countries
China, with a population of 1.44 billion, is the most populous country worldwide.
In 2019, over 60% of its population resided in urban centers, a trend that has seen the portion of city dwellers double over the last 25 years. For context, 83% of the U.S. population lives in cities, while just 35% of India’s population dwells in urban areas.
Together, China and India’s populations make up over 36% of the global total.
Extending over 17,000 islands, Indonesia comes fourth among the world’s most populous countries, standing at 273.5 million people.
Pakistan comes in fifth, with 220.8 million. Karachi, located on the southeastern coast of Pakistan, is home to over 16 million people alone. It is Pakistan’s most populous city, and the seventh-largest city in the world.
Nigeria also makes it onto the list. In just three decades, the country’s population is projected to climb from 206 million to 400 million—growing at a percentage clip that is more than double that of India.
The 50 Least Populous Countries
Combined, the 50 least-populous countries make up under 0.4% of the total world population. By contrast, the top 50 account for 87% of the total.
Unsurprisingly, the world’s low population nations are situated on small islands, often tropical and reliant on tourism.
Showing 1 to 10 of 50 entries
*Source: United Nations, as of July 1, 2019. Includes territories.
With a total of 799 residents in 2019, Vatican City is the least populated country. Following close behind is the territory of Tokelau, a cluster of islands situated between New Zealand and Hawaii.
The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is also among the smallest populations in the world, with just 97,118 inhabitants. While it may be small in terms of total inhabitants, its population density is another story—with over 222 people per square kilometer. That is roughly 50% higher than China, but about half the population density of India.
Meanwhile, the 33 pacific islands of Kiribati also make the top 50 list of the least populous countries worldwide. With a population of 117,606, Kiribati was a testing site for atomic bombs by the British and Americans during the 1960s. The island reached independence in 1979, after being under crown colonial rule since 1916.