Russia is huge and is the world
Credit: CIA Factbook
The question of the world’s largest country can be answered in a few different ways, including by landmass or by population. In area alone, Russia wins the biggest country contest. The Top 5 by landmass, according to the CIA Factbook:
Russia: 6,602,000 sq. miles (17,098,242 sq. km)
Canada: 3,855,000 sq. miles (9,984,670 sq. km)
United States: 3,794,000 sq. miles (9,826,675 sq. km)
China: 3,705,000 sq. miles (9,596,961 sq. km)
Brazil: 3,288,000 sq. miles (8,514,877 sq. km)
Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Algeria round out the Top 10.
When the question is about the country with the most people, China takes the cake, with 1.35 billion people (as of October 2012).
The ten most populous countries are:
China: 1,353,000,000 people
India: 1,210,000,000 people
United States: 314,629,000 people
Indonesia: 238,400,000 people
Brazil: 197,172,000 people
Pakistan: 181,019,000 people
Nigeria: 170,123,740 people
Bangladesh: 161, 083,804 people
Russia: 141, 927,000 people
Japan: 127,610,000 people
These ten countries represent 58 percent of all the people living on Earth. And what about all the humans who came before? There’s an oft-circulated myth that there are more people alive now than ever lived. But paleo-demographers, who study ancient populations, have estimated that 106 billion people have lived before our time, so about 7 percent of all the people living ever are living right now.
By 2050, India is expected to surge ahead of China to become the most populous country in the world, with China in second place, and the United States third. China has instituted a one-child policy, which is keeping its demographic growth in check – its current population growth is only 0.47 percent. Without the policy in place, there would be an additional 300 million people, say experts.
The smallest country, by population? The teensy Pitcairn Islands have only 66 inhabitants. Many of the island’s inhabitants are descendants from the original mutineers who abandoned a British vessel in 1790. Most of those 66 inhabitants are members of four families.