Populations Around the World

Throughout history, humans have generally inhabited large regions with mild climates, freshwater supplies, and arable land. Over time, the number of humans living in these places has grown continuously due to these ideal conditions. Today, these regions have become the world’s most populated countries.

Many other countries, however, do not fit this description and have some of the smallest populations in the world. In fact, the least populated countries are often small, isolated island nations or regions with harsh weather conditions. This article takes a closer look at the top 3 least populated countries in the world.

Least Populated Countries in the World

Vatican City

Vatican City tops the list of the least populated countries in the world. This .44-square kilometer, walled enclave is located within the city limits of Rome, Italy and has a population size of approximately 800. Of these individuals, 557 are citizens, 246 are residents, and 1 is the Pope of the Catholic Church. Around 74% of the citizens are members of the clergy and an additional 18% belong to the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Despite its small area and population size, Vatican City receives 5 million tourists annually, which represents more than 663% of the population.


Tuvalu is the second least populated country in the world. It has a population size of 10,640 and covers an area of only 10 square miles. It is located north of Fiji and is made up of 6 atolls and 3 reef islands. During World War II, its coral base was used to create an airfield that today is known as the Funafuti International Airport. This left a significant number of borrow pits around the island that filled with saltwater during high tide, leaving the population with an insufficient supply of freshwater. In 2015, the New Zealand government funded a project to fill these holes with sand, resulting in an 8% increase in usable land area. The environment of Tuvalu is threatened by global climate change; approximately 80% of the coral in the surrounding waters has suffered from bleaching. Additionally, the fishing industry has depleted the nearby fish population. Some scientists believe that Tuvalu will be the first country to disappear due to rising sea levels, as its highest point is only 15.1 feet above sea level.


Nauru is an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. As of 2011, it has a population of 10,084, which represents only .00013% of the world population. This country covers an area of 8.1 square miles, making it the smallest country in the South Pacific. Nauru was once rich in phosphate; however, strip mining has left the reserves depleted. During the 1960s and 1970s, residents here earned the highest per capita income in the world. Today, 90% of the population is unemployed due to an employment reduction by the phosphate industry. It has been reported that extracting the island’s remaining phosphate would not be a profitable endeavor. As a result of this, around 1,500 residents left the island in 2006 to return to Tuvalu and Kiribati as part of a repatriation program of immigrant workers. The Australian government has provided the island with financial aid from 2001 to 2008 and from 2012 forward. Many people consider this country to be a dependent of Australia because of its reliance on aid.

Countries by their Population

1Vatican City 801
2Tuvalu 9943
3Nauru 10263
4Palau 21501
5San Marino 31950
6Liechtenstein 37776
7Monaco 37863
8Marshall Islands 53069
9Andorra 69165
10Dominica 73016
11Antigua and Barbuda 92738
12Seychelles 97026
13Federated States of Micronesia 104966
14Tonga 106915
15Grenada 107327
16Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 109644
17Kiribati 114405
18Saint Lucia 186383
19Sao Tome and Principe 194390
20Samoa 194523
21Vanuatu 270470
22Barbados 285006
23Iceland 331778
24Belize 366942
25Maldives 369812
26Bahamas 392718
27Malta 419615
28Brunei 428874
29Cape Verde526993
30Suriname 547610