How Many Countries Are There in the World?

Taipei, Taiwan. A country or a territory?
It depends on who you ask

United Nations: 193
There are 193 member states of the United Nations. You can find the list by clicking here. Although it depends on who you ask, I think most people that have visited or are pursuing visiting every country, can agree to 193 countries. However, some include some if not all of the partially-recognised countries. I think it’s fair to say there are 193 independent countries in the world, while it is up for an open discussing how many places that can call themselves countries in addition to the 193. A good example is Taiwan which is currently recognised by less than 20 countries. However, I think most people in the world consider it a country and not a territory of China.

United Nations: 195
The United Nations has two observer states, Palestine and Vatican City, that makes it 195.

National Olympic Committees: 206
The National Olympic Committees recognises 206 nations that can participate in the Olympic games. This list includes nations like Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands that are not members of the United Nations. You can find that list by clicking here.

Federation Internationale de Football Association: 211
Not all members of the United Nations have a national football team with a membership of FIFA. An example is the small Pacific island nation of Nauru. FIFA allows territories and non-independent states as members. For example, the British Virgin Islands, Guam and Montserrat. You can find the list by clicking here.

Partially-recognized
Some travellers count a little more than 195 because they count partially-recognised countries like Taiwan, Kosovo, Western Sahara. Some also count the United Kingdom as separate nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, like in FIFA’s 211-list above.

Other destinations, regions and territories
Several travel websites and clubs make their own list of destinations, regions and territories. Like the Travelers’ Century Club’s list of 329 countries and territories. You can find the list by clicking here. The list is more of an opinion-based kind of list, as Wake Island, as an example, is separate from other islands in the Minor Outlying Islands. 

Nomad Mania is another travel website with an opinion-based list that divides the world into more than 1,300 regions. Both lists have added new destinations over time, but they are, in my opinion, two of the best travel destinations lists out there.

If you are into hard-to-reach uninhabited islands, Most Traveled People might be of interest. Although I personally think their list doesn’t make much sense, as they split the country of Switzerland into 26 different destinations, while a big country like Nigeria is just one destination.

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