How Many Countries Are There In Asia: Full List, Population, Facts and Figures
|The area is shared by 50 countries. Photo KnowInsiders|
Facts about Asia
Asia is the largest of the five continents on Planet Earth in area and population. The term Asia refers conventionally to the eastern portion of the Eurasian landmass plus the island country of Japan and the island nations of Maritime Southeast Asia.
The continent is situated almost entirely north of the equator except for some Southeast Asian islands. Asia is connected to Africa by the Isthmus of Suez and borders Europe (part of the same landmass) along the Ural Mountains and across the Caspian Sea.
Asia covers an area of about 49.7 million km² (19,189,277 square miles), which corresponds to about 30 percent of the Earth's total land area.
How many countries are there in Asia?
The area is shared by 50 countries. By far the largest nation by area is Russia, with more than 17 million km², 13 million km² (77%) are in Asia.
The second-largest country is China, with an area of 9.6 million km².
The smallest independent state in Asia is the island nation of Maldives with 298 km²
Asian Countries Key Points
-China is the most populous country in both Asia and the world.
-India is set to overtake China as the most populous country in the world by 2027.
-The Sultanate of Brunei is Asia's least populated country.
-Asia consists of 48 countries and 3 other territories.
-Asia contains some of the most populated and fastest-growing cities of the world. Shanghai, China, and Mumbai, India, are the largest cities in the world. They are also among the most densely populated. Other cities, such as Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Delhi, India, are growing rapidly.
-Japan’s Shinkansen train network is one of the world’s fastest high-speed railway lines. The so-called “bullet trains” can reach speeds of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour). Shinkansen links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The Tōkaidō line, which connects Tokyo and Osaka, is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line. Since the railway lines were laid in the mid-1960s, it has transported roughly 5 billion people, according to National Geographic.
-Dubai’s rapid growth, warm climate, and luxurious lifestyle have attracted many foreigners to the city. Dubai was the 10th most-visited city in the world in 2009. Known as the “shopping capital of the Middle East,” Dubai has more than 70 shopping malls. Dubai has also been referred to as the “Expat Capital of the World” because of the foreign majority that lives in the city. More than 75 percent of the city’s population is male, represented mostly by laborers from countries such as India and the Philippines who have come to work in Dubai’s construction business. The laborers’ poor working and living conditions have come under criticism from the international community, especially in contrast to the city’s image as a luxury capital of the world.
Climate and Agriculture in Asia
Asia’s vast area allows for varied and extreme climates. It has some of the coldest, hottest, wettest, and driest places on Earth. While many distinct climates exist across the continent, Asia’s climate can be most generally divided into three zones: north/central, southwest, and southeast.
The continent’s north/central zone is affected by cold and dry Arctic winds, especially the Siberia region of Russia. Hardier grains, such as barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, and wheat, are grown in the central and southern areas of this zone, where permanent frosts inhibit plant growth. Animal husbandry is also very important in this zone. In Mongolia, for example, 75 percent of agricultural land is allocated to the rearing of livestock, such as sheep, goats, and cattle.
The southwest zone is a dry, hot region that stretches from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia through Pakistan, Iran, and into the Arabian Peninsula. This zone has very few areas with enough moisture and precipitation to produce crops. Grains, such as barley and corn, are the principal irrigated crops of some countries. A lack of pastureland suitable for grains, however, means heat-resistant vegetables and fruits are grown most widely in this zone. Dates, figs, apricots, olives, onions, grapes, and cherries are the most important of these fruit and vegetable crops.
Forestry and Fishing in Asia
Forestry, the management of trees and other vegetation in forests, is an important but threatened industry in a select group of Asian countries. China, Indonesia, and Malaysia make up more than half of the forested lands in Asia. China is a major exporter of wood products, ranking first globally in wood-based panel production, paper, and wood furniture. Both Indonesia and Malaysia are top producers of tropical timbers. These tropical woods, such as teak, are primarily used in high-quality furniture and flooring.
During the past 10 years, Asia has increased its forest cover by 30 million hectares (74 million acres) to create forest plantations where trees can be intensively managed for higher-yield production. The timber industry estimates that Asia will produce roughly 45 percent of wood from forest plantations by 2020. These plantations will become increasingly important as natural forest resources continue to be depleted.
Seafood is extremely important to the lifestyle of many Asian peoples. A recent study by the National Geographic Society places China and Japan as the world’s leading consumers of seafood, at roughly 694 million and 582 million metric tons (765 million and 641 million tons) annually. Emphasizing that each fish species impacts the marine environment differently, the study measured each country’s “seafood print” based on the quantities and types of fish consumed. While Japan eats larger, higher-quality fish, China’s massive population is consuming smaller fish at a much higher rate. This is because China, along with many countries in Southeast Asia, is experiencing a rapid expansion of its middle class population. More people can afford expensive food.
Mining and Drilling in Asia
Extractive activities are an important part of the economies of many Asian countries. China, India, Russia, and Indonesia are the continent’s most productive mining economies. These countries extract many of the same minerals.
China is the world’s largest producer of aluminum, gold, tin, and coal. India is also a major producer of aluminum and iron ore, along with other minerals such as barite (used in drilling fluids), chromium (used in steel production and dyes), and manganese (used in steel production). Russia is a major producer of coal, tungsten (used in steel production), diamonds, iron, and steel. Indonesia is a major producer of coal, gold, copper, and tin.
In 2010, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest manufacturer of petroleum liquids, producing 10.07 million barrels of liquid fuels every day. (An oil barrel is 159 liters, or 42 gallons.) It also has the world’s largest oil reserves, at roughly 250 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia’s economy is heavily dependent on oil exports, which account for 80 to 90 percent of the country’s total revenues. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates accounted for roughly 57 percent of global liquid fuels production in 2010.
Another major player in Asia’s liquid fuels industry is Russia. Russia has oil reserves in Siberia, and massive natural gas reserves throughout the Arctic. Russia is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. Russia has not aggressively drilled in the Arctic Ocean, but engineers say the area holds millions of barrels of oil and gas reserves.
|Dashawamedha Ghat at the Ganges river in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo Nations Online|
Southern Asia is the most populous of Asia’s subregions, with a population of nearly 2 billion.It includes 9 countries. More than half of Southern Asia’s people live in the subregion’s most populous country, India. India’s population is 1.38 billion, making it the world’s second most populous country. In fact, statistics show that by 2027, India will have surpassed China to be the most populous country in the world. The populations of Southern Asia’s other countries pale in comparison to India’s. The next most populous country in the subregion is Pakistan, which has more than 220 million people living within its borders. The least populous country in Southern Asia is the small island country of the Maldives, with just over 540 thousand people. Southern Asia’s most populous city is Mumbai, which has 21.6 million residents. The cities of Dhaka, Bangladesh and Karachi, Pakistan are also quite populous, with populations of 18.9 million and 17.6 million respectively.
The subregion of Eastern Asia has a population of nearly 1.7 billion, and consists of 5 countries, including the most populous country in the world, China. The Chinese population is estimated at more than 1.4 billion. The least populous country in Eastern Asia is Mongolia, with a population of approximately 3.29 million. Eastern Asian countries China and Japan are the second and third biggest economies in the world respectively. China is expected to become the world’s largest economy, surpassing the United States, by 2028. Eastern Asia also includes what is arguably the most isolated country in the world, North Korea, which is a communist state with a severely stagnant economy. The rest of Eastern Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea, view North Korea with concern and suspicion, especially in light of the fact that the communist country is known to have several nuclear weapons at its disposal. The most populous city in Eastern Asia is Tokyo, which is home to a whopping 38.2 million people. The Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing are the second and third most populous cities in Eastern Asia respectively, both having populations of more than 20 million.
South East Asia
Southeast Asia refers to the part of Asia that includes the Indochinese Peninsula and the nations of Maritime Southeast Asia. The region is situated in the southeastern part of the continent, south of China, east of India, and to the north of Australia.
According to the United Nations Population Division, approximately 668 million people live in Southeast Asia (in 2020).
**READ MORE: Top 5 Best Destinations in Southeast Asia
|The mountainous region of the Tian Shan in south-eastern Kazakhstan. Photo Nations Online|
The term Central Asia refers to a region in Asia between the Caspian Sea and Western China. Central Asia includes Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which are all predominantly Muslim countries and, with the exception of Afghanistan, were all former Soviet republics.
An estimated 74 million people live in Central Asia (in 2020).
The region's population is about 75.1 million, making it the least populous subregion of the continent. Like Eastern Asia, Central Asia consists of 5 countries. All of these countries were part of the Soviet Union, until it collapsed in 1991. Since then, these countries have been separate independent states. The most populous country in Central Asia is Uzbekistan, with a population in excess of 33 million. The least populous country in the subregion is Turkmenistan, which has a population of approximately 6 million. Central Asia includes one transcontinental country, Kazakhstan, which is also the largest country in the subregion. Some of its territory is considered part of Europe. However, the vast majority of Kazakhstan’s population resides in Asia, thus it is designated as an Asian country by the UN. The most populous city in Central Asia is Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, which has approximately 2 million residents.
State of Palestine
United Arab Emirates
The population of Western Asia is approximately 282 million. The most populous country in the subregion is Turkey, with a population in excess of 84 million. Turkey is also a transcontinental country, as its territory includes a small part of Europe where the city of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest, is located. Other transcontinental countries in Western Asia include Georgia and Azerbaijan. The bulk of all of these countries’ populations, however, reside in Asia. Western Asia’s least populous country is Cyprus, which boasts a population of just over 1.2 million. Though technically part of Asia, Cyprus is usually considered a European country from political and economic perspectives. It is even part of the European Union. Western Asia’s most populous city is the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, with a population of about 8.7 million. Other major population centers in the subregion include the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and the Turkish capital, Ankara.
In addition to Asia’s 48 countries, the continent also includes three other territories. Two of them, Hong Kong and Macau, are Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China. Both territories were originally part of China, but were taken by European powers in centuries past. Hong Kong was a British colony, but was ceded back to China in 1997. Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999, when it too was returned to Chinese control. The third Asian territory is the island of Taiwan, which is now a de facto independent state. Most countries, however, do not recognize Taiwan as an independent country, and instead consider it a province of China. China itself considers the island a renegade province that must eventually be put under its rule, and has threatened to use force to take control of the island.
The list of countries in Asia includes 6 transcontinental countries. These are Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. These countries have spread across both Europe and Asia. However, the majority of the population of these countries reside in the Asian part of their territories unlike that of Russia. Hence, these countries have been listed here.
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