China is the most populated country as it hosts well over 1.4 billion people but it doesn’t have the largest land mass, here are the 10 biggest countries in the world and the geographical answer to the question: does size matter?
After the United Nations 2022 report that India would overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, it made us consider how ‘big’ our own countries are and if it matters. As Cairn Info reports, the size of a country “encompasses a number of dimensions such that associated costs and benefits are diverse” so there is not a one size fits all answer.
We can know that total surface area is important for understanding a country’s agricultural capacity and the environmental effects of human activity there. However, despite experts like economist Jože P. Damijan observing that smaller countries are often “richer” and demonstrate a “lower tendency to engage in armed conflicts” (unlike their larger counterparts), he also states that country size is “important” but its smallness cannot be called irrefutably good nor bad.
Here are the 10 biggest countries in the world as we reveal their land mass and what percentage of the Earth’s surface they cover according to the World Economic Forum.
The largest country in the world is Russia with a total area of 17,098,246 km². This means that Russia covers 3.352% of the Earth’s surface. Photo: Russia Дмитрий Трепольский via Canva Pro
Canada takes second place with a total area of 9,984,670 km². It covers 1.958% of the Earth’s surface and it shares a 8,890 km long border with the United States (the longest international border in the world!) Photo: jaywwild via Canva Pro
China is the largest country in Asia with a total area of 9,596,961 km². It covers 1.881% of the Earth’s surface, however there have been contending viewpoints between experts on whether or not the country is bigger than the United States. Photo: SeanPavonePhoto via Canva Pro
4. United States
The World Economic Forum reports that the US is the fourth largest country in the world with a total area of 9,525,067 km². The United States covers 1.867% of the Earth’s surface. Photo: Aliaksei Skreidzeleu via Canva Pro