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How many countries are in the world? Updated List in April 2020

Countries in the world with explanation

Depending on the question and the nature of the definition of a country there are multiple answers to this question. When recognized by UN the total number of 195 countries in the world today. 193 member countries and two observer states namely: Vatican City or Holy See and the State of Palestine.

We have different answers for this question and each of those is justified in their own way i.e.

One of the common questions with varied answers for all the geography enthusiasts is how many countries are there in the world?

Well, the most common answer that you will be getting is the number of countries recognized by the UN that is 195 countries.

The sovereign States Recognized by the United Nations

United Nations recognizes around 195 Sovereign independent nation states that are seen in most of the lists of world countries and world maps as well. All these countries accept each other as the sovereign states. 193 countries out of all these are the members of UN and the 2 i.e. Vatican City represented by Holy See and the state of Palestine are share the status of UN observer states.

Taiwan is recognized by 17 countries (16 UN members and one UN observer)

Kosovo is officially recognized by 102 UN states and by Taiwan.

You can see below all list of countries recognized by the United Nations as of 2019

  1. UN Members: 193
  2. UN Observer states: 2
  3. Taiwan: 1
  4. Kosovo: 1
    Total: 195

201 States with at Least Partial Recognition

There are few countries that hold partial recognition i.e. are not recognized by the UN but at least one of its member countries officially recognizes them. This kind of recognition of countries is considered as Diplomatic Recognition and these controversial countries hold the label of special cases or disputed territories on the World Map and sometimes even they may not be found on the world map.

The six non-UN States with partial recognition include:

  • Taiwan
  • Western Sahara
  • Kosovo
  • South Ossetia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Abkhazia

Thus as per this, we have 201 countries as:

U.N. members: 193
U.N. observer states: 2
States with partial recognition: 6
Total: 201

204-207 De Facto Sovereign States

The three more states that do not hold any recognition from the UN and are considered to be the de facto independent countries are Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Somaliland and Transnistria. Apart from this there are 3 more countries in the list as contenders but are into controversy as these are located in active war zones. These are Islamic State (but has lost most of its territory and is out of the race), Lugansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic.

Thus the structure for the number of countries in the world now becomes:

U.N. members: 193
U.N. observer states: 2
States with partial recognition: 6
Unrecognized de facto sovereign states: 3 to 6 (see below)
Total: 204 to 207

Conclusion

So, whenever asked for what is the exact number of countries in the world, remember the answering this wouldn’t be that simple. However, if we simply speak of the independent sovereign countries recognized by United Nations then obviously the number comes out to be 197 out of which 195 are its member countries and two of those i.e. Vatican City and Palestine hold the status of being observer states with Taiwan and Kosovo.

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