Countries with The Largest Population in 2023: The Race to the Top

largest population countries

The top five most populous countries in the world, according to World Bank data, are China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and Pakistan. As of this year, China continues to be the most populous country, with over 1.43 billion inhabitants. India is a close second, with 1.42 billion people. The United States ranks third, with a population of 338 million, while Indonesia and Pakistan complete the top five, with populations exceeding 276 and 236 million, respectively.

A significant trend is India’s fast population growth in recent years. In 2017, the country had about 1.32 billion people, which means its population increased by almost 100 million in just four years. This growth is attributed to various factors, including high birth rates and healthcare advancements that have led to increased life expectancies.

It is also interesting to note the relatively low population densities of some of the world’s largest countries. While China and India are the world’s two most populous countries, their population densities are 145 and 416 people per square kilometer, respectively. In comparison, the United States, with a population less than a quarter of China’s, has a population density of merely 36 people per square kilometer.

Lastly, examining the population by country and its evolution over time highlights the demographic challenges many countries face, particularly in Europe and Asia. For instance, Japan, with a population of 124 million people, has one of the world’s oldest populations, with a median age exceeding 48 years.

This has raised concerns about a decreasing workforce and a burdened healthcare system as the population ages. Similarly, countries like Germany, Italy, and Spain also experience declining birth rates and aging populations, which could have long-term economic and social repercussions.

S.No. Country 2023 Population Land Area Km2 Population Density Total World Population %
1 China 1,425,830,081 9,388,211 Km2 476 per Km2 17.61%
2 India 1,422,750,470 9,388,211 Km2 155 per Km2 18.09%
3 United States 335,903,903 2,973,190 Km2 36 per Km2 4.18%
4 Indonesia 280,829,472 9,147,420 Km2 151 per Km2 3.50%
5 Pakistan 231,731,196 770,880 Km2 287 per Km2 2.88%
6 Nigeria 216,375,148 910,770 Km2 226 per Km2 2.72%
7 Brazil 216,375,148 8,358,140 Km2 25 per Km2 2.73%
8 Bangladesh 216,375,148 130,170 Km2 1,265 per Km2 2.11%
9 Russia 146,092,401 16,376,870 Km2 9 per Km2 1.81%
10 Mexico 132,354,424 1,943,950 Km2</td 66 per Km2 1.65%
11-20 Rest of the World 3,432,996,038 97,128,829 Km2 35 per Km2 42.74%
Total World 8,031,800,337 148,940,000 Km2 54 per Km2 100.00%

Top 10 Most Populated Countries:

China map

The ten countries with the highest populations in the world are the People’s Republic of China, India, the United States of America, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, and Mexico.

China is the world’s most populous country, with a population of 1,425,000,000. India ranks second, with a population of 1,420,000,000, and the US is third, with a population of 338,000,000. Indonesia has a population of 276,000,000, making it the fourth most populous country worldwide.

Pakistan follows, with a population of 236,000,000. The sixth most populous country globally is Nigeria, with a population of 219,000,000, and Brazil comes in seventh with a population of 215,000,000. The eighth most populated country is Bangladesh, with a population of 171,000,000. Russia and Mexico are the ninth and tenth most populous countries, with populations of 145,000,000 and 128,000,000, respectively.

  1. China – 1,425,000,000
  2. India – 1,420,000,000
  3. United States of America – 338,000,000
  4. Indonesia – 276,000,000
  5. Pakistan – 236,000,000
  6. Nigeria – 219,000,000
  7. Brazil – 215,000,000
  8. Bangladesh – 171,000,000
  9. Russia – 145,000,000
  10. Mexico – 128,000,000

China is currently the world’s most populous country, with approximately 1.43 billion people as of 2022. Despite its efforts to control population growth through policies like the one-child policy, China remains the world’s most populous country, with India coming in second, with around 1.42 billion people.

Top 10 Least Populated Countries:

San Marino
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The ten countries with the smallest populations globally are Vatican City, Montserrat, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Tuvalu, Nauru, Anguilla, Palau, British Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, and San Marino. Vatican City has the smallest population worldwide, with only 510 residents. Montserrat is the second least populated country, with a population of 4,390.

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is the third least populated country, with 5,862 inhabitants. Tuvalu and Nauru rank as the fourth and fifth least populated countries, with populations of 11,312 and 12,668, respectively. Anguilla, the sixth least populated country, has a population of 15,857. The seventh and eighth least populated countries are Palau, with 18,055 residents, and the British Virgin Islands, with 31,305 inhabitants.

Saint Martin, the ninth least populated country, has a population of 31,791, and San Marino is the tenth least populated, with 33,660 residents.

  1. Vatican City – 510
  2. Montserrat – 4,390
  3. Saint Pierre and Miquelon – 5,862
  4. Tuvalu – 11,312
  5. Nauru – 12,668
  6. Anguilla – 15,857
  7. Palau – 18,055
  8. British Virgin Islands – 31,305
  9. Saint Martin – 31,791
  10. San Marino – 33,660

Vatican City, with a population of only 510 people as of 2022, is the world’s least populated country. This sovereign state, located in Rome, Italy, serves as the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church. With an area of just 0.44 square kilometers, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world in terms of both area and population.

Population Patterns and Economic Influence

Economic Influence
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Nonetheless, many countries classified as developing by the International Monetary Fund (meaning they have not yet achieved a high level of industrialization relative to their populations, and their citizens generally experience medium to low standards of living) also possess substantial populations.

Examples include Nigeria (over 190 million), Bangladesh (nearly 165 million), and Mexico (approximately 129 million), illustrating that challenges faced by developing nations are present across multiple continents.

It is worth mentioning that several of the world’s largest economies have smaller populations, particularly in Europe. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy all rank among the top ten largest economies and have populations below 100 million. Their populations range from 82 million (Germany) to just under 60 million (Italy).

Additionally, a few extremely small countries, such as Monaco, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands – all with fewer than one million inhabitants – play a significantly larger role in the global financial landscape than their population sizes might indicate. On the other hand, Canada, also a major economic player and one of the world’s largest countries by land area, has a comparatively small population for its size, with roughly 36.5 million residents.

Biggest Cities in the World (by Population)

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Rank City Country UN 2018 population estimates Area (km2) Density (/km2)
1 Tokyo Japan 37468000 8 5
2 Delhi India 28,514,000 2.34 13.75
3 Shanghai China 25,582,000 4.33 5.56
4 São Paulo Brazil 21,650,000 3.65 6.33
5 Mexico City Mexico 21,581,000 2.53 8.62
6 Cairo Egypt 20,076,000 2.01 10.10
7 Mumbai India 19,980,000 976.00 25.59
8 Beijing China 19,618,000 4.28 4.32
9 Dhaka Bangladesh 19,578,000 619.00 30.09
10 Osaka Japan 19,281,000 3.02 5.01
12 Karachi Pakistan 15,400,000 1.12 14.00
13 Buenos Aires Argentina 14,967,000 3.44 4.86
14 Chongqing China 14,838,000 1.58 7.68
15 Istanbul Turkey 14,751,000 1.47 10.93
16 Kolkata India 14,681,000 1.35 13.69
17 Manila Philippines 13,482,000 1.91 13.04
18 Lagos Nigeria 13,463,000 1.97 8.46
19 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 13,293,000 2.02 6.23
20 Tianjin China 13,215,000 2.81 3.69


Q: How do birth rates and death rates impact population growth?

A: Birth rates and death rates are two primary factors influencing population growth. A higher birth rate contributes to an increase in the population, while a higher death rate decreases the population. The difference between birth and death rates determines the natural population growth rate.

Additionally, factors such as healthcare advancements and improved living conditions can contribute to increased life expectancies, thereby impacting population growth.

Q: How does urbanization affect population patterns?

A: Urbanization is the process of people moving from rural areas to urban centers, resulting in the growth of cities. This shift can significantly impact population patterns, as it leads to higher population densities in urban areas.

Urbanization can be driven by various factors, such as job opportunities, better access to education, and improved infrastructure in cities. However, rapid urbanization may also lead to challenges like overcrowding, insufficient housing, and increased strain on public services and resources.

Q: What challenges do aging populations pose to economies?

A: Aging populations can pose significant challenges to economies. As the population ages, the workforce may decrease, leading to labor shortages and reduced productivity. Additionally, aging populations can put a strain on healthcare systems, as the demand for medical care and social services increases.

Pension systems may also face pressure, as a smaller working population supports a larger retired population. These challenges can have long-term economic and social repercussions, affecting a country’s growth and development.

Q: How do government policies influence population growth?

A: Government policies can play a crucial role in shaping population growth. Some countries implement policies to control population growth, such as China’s one-child policy, which was in effect from 1979 to 2015.

Other countries may encourage population growth by offering incentives like financial support or tax benefits for families with multiple children. Immigration policies can also impact population growth by either promoting or restricting the movement of people across borders.

Q: What are the environmental impacts of population growth?

A: Population growth can have significant environmental impacts, such as increased demand for natural resources like water, food, and energy. As populations grow, more land is needed for agriculture and housing, which can lead to deforestation and habitat loss.

Additionally, increased consumption and waste production can contribute to pollution and climate change. Sustainable development policies and practices are essential to mitigate these environmental impacts and ensure a balance between population growth and resource management.


Understanding world population patterns and their economic influence is essential for addressing various challenges that nations face. Factors such as birth rates, death rates, urbanization, and government policies all contribute to shaping population growth and distribution.

Furthermore, the relationship between population size and economic development is complex, with both large and small countries playing significant roles in the global economy. As the world’s population continues to grow and evolve, governments and policymakers must consider the long-term impacts of population trends on economic development, resource management, and environmental sustainability.

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