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Biggest countries in the world

  • Biggest countries in the world

    When embarking on a cross-country road trip, it’s not hard to experience long stretches of loneliness, where it feels as though not another soul exists for miles in any direction. At the same time, boarding a rush-hour metro in New York City, London, or Tokyo, might be enough to induce a longing for a wide-open road with not a fellow passenger in sight.

    The world has a funny way of feeling extremely crowded at times and awfully empty at others, and this may have something to do with the fact that more than half the world’s 7.8-billion-person population is concentrated within a compact collection of urban hubs. Indeed, 56.2% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

    In advance of World Population Day—coming up on July 11—Stacker took a look at the 100 most populous countries in the world to find out what they had in common and what in their demographics differed. Using data from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Stacker has listed the world’s largest countries according to population estimates from 2020. For each country listed, information on population is provided using the metrics of population growth rate, urban population, net migration rate, birth and death rates, and the population’s median age—all data as of 2020, the most recent available figures.

    The results show a world that is expanding rapidly in some areas while contracting significantly in others. Trends as diverse as access to family planning and contraceptives or economic mobility and work-life balance contributed to slowdowns in population growth in some countries, while the cessation of conflicts and increases in health care quality stimulated growth in other areas. Countries were ranked out of 195 total that are recognized by either the United States or the United Nations.

    According to the Factbook, net migration rate "includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population).” And also per the Factbook, urban population "describes the percentage of the total population living in urban areas, as defined by the country." Rate of urbanization describes the “projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population over the given period of time."

    Read on to see which countries hold the majority of the world’s population.

    Intro written by Ben Wittstein.

    Research note: The CIA’s 2020 population estimates come from a variety of sources, including countries’ government records and population censuses. Population estimates can vary from source to source as organizations calculate them differently based on migration, mortality, and fertility rates.

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  • #100. Switzerland

    - Population: 8,403,994 (+0.7% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +4.6%
    - Urban population: 73.9% of total population (+0.9% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 10.5 (median life expectancy at birth: 82.8 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 8.5
    - Median age: 42.7 years

    Famed for its neutrality, Switzerland has long been an attractive option for those looking for a safe country to call home. In recent years, refugees from conflicts across the globe have come to call Switzerland home, with refugee migration increasing year over year during some of the most tumultuous recent years of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • #99. Togo

    - Population: 8,608,444 (+2.6% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: 0.0%
    - Urban population: 42.8% of total population (+3.8% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 32.0 (median life expectancy at birth: 66.6 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 6.5
    - Median age: 20.0 years

    Togo’s current population growth can largely be attributed to high fertility rates. A lack of access to family planning has contributed not only to population growth but also to high poverty rates, as families struggle to feed all of their children and resources stretch thin.

  • #98. Israel

    - Population: 8,675,475 (+1.5% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +2.1%
    - Urban population: 92.6% of total population (+1.6% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 17.6 (median life expectancy at birth: 83.0 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 5.3
    - Median age: 30.4 years

    Approximately 45% of the global Jewish population lives in Israel, which contributes to much of its population and migration. Israel also has a very high number of births versus death rates compared to other developed countries, which is a significant factor in its population growth.

  • #97. Austria

    - Population: 8,859,449 (+0.4% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +3.6%
    - Urban population: 58.7% of total population (+0.6% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 9.5 (median life expectancy at birth: 81.9 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 9.8
    - Median age: 44.5 years

    Statisticians forecast that a primary driver that will continue Austria’s population growth is migration. The number of foreign-born residents of Austria has increased significantly over the past decade and is only expected to increase, including refugees fleeing from war and poverty as they did in the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis.

  • #96. Tajikistan

    - Population: 8,873,669 (+1.5% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: -1.1%
    - Urban population: 27.5% of total population (+2.6% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 21.8 (median life expectancy at birth: 69.0 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 5.8
    - Median age: 25.3 years

    Although Tajikistan has experienced significant growth in the 21st century, a unique feature of this growth is that it has not been concentrated in urban areas. Urban and rural population increases have occurred at roughly the same rate, reflecting in part the lack of perceived desirability and economic opportunity of the country’s cities compared to its rural areas.

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  • #95. Honduras

    - Population: 9,235,340 (+1.3% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: -1.4%
    - Urban population: 58.4% of total population (+2.8% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 18.5 (median life expectancy at birth: 74.6 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 4.7
    - Median age: 24.4 years

    Population trends are worrying observers of Honduras, as they look at a younger population that will need to draw on social services. Health care and other public resources are already not sufficient to cover need, meaning that as the country’s young population ages, this issue will cause even greater strain.

  • #94. Belarus

    - Population: 9,477,918 (-0.3% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +0.7%
    - Urban population: 79.5% of total population (+0.4% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 9.5 (median life expectancy at birth: 73.8 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 13.1
    - Median age: 40.9 years

    A hallmark of Belarus’s population trends is its rapid aging. Depopulation has already forced the country to consider raising the retirement age and increasing benefits for childbearers in order to encourage population growth.

  • #93. Hungary

    - Population: 9,771,827 (-0.3% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +1.3%
    - Urban population: 71.9% of total population (+0.1% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 8.8 (median life expectancy at birth: 76.7 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 12.9
    - Median age: 43.6 years

    Low birth rates and emigration are responsible for much of Hungary’s population decline. The government has instituted a number of measures to counter the decline, including interest-free loans for married couples and home purchase subsidies.

  • #92. United Arab Emirates

    - Population: 9,992,083 (+1.5% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +7.6%
    - Urban population: 87% of total population (+1.7% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 9.5 (median life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 2.0
    - Median age: 38.4 years

    The United Arab Emirates has the highest population growth rate in the Arab world. The country benefits from a very high number of expatriates from elsewhere in the world who come to the country to work, and the good health services keep mortality rates lower than birth rates.

  • #91. Sweden

    - Population: 10,202,491 (+0.8% average population growth)
    - Net migration rate per 1,000 people: +5.2%
    - Urban population: 88% of total population (+1.1% annual rate of change)
    - Birth rate per 1,000 people: 12.1 (median life expectancy at birth: 82.4 years)
    - Death rate per 1,000 people: 9.4
    - Median age: 41.1 years

    Over the last decade, Sweden’s population has swelled in part because of a wave of immigrants from Syria, Iraq, and North Africa. The country became one of the preferred destinations of such refugees, although that number dipped after more restrictive laws were put in place in 2016.

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