The 196 countries of the world can be logically divided into eight regions based on their geography, mostly aligning with the continent on which they are located. That said, some groupings don't strictly adhere to divisions by continent. For example, the Middle East and North Africa are separated from sub-Saharan Africa along cultural lines. Likewise, the Caribbean and Central America are grouped separately from North and South America due to similarities based on latitudes.
Asia stretches from former "stans" of the USSR to the Pacific Ocean. There are 27 countries in Asia and it is the world's largest and most populous region, with about 60 percent of the world's population living there. The region boasts five of the 10 most populous countries in the world, with India and China taking the top two spots.
Middle East, North Africa, and Greater Arabia
The 23 countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and Greater Arabia include some countries not traditionally considered as part of the Middle East (such as Pakistan). Their inclusion is based on culture. Turkey is also sometimes placed in lists of Asian and Europan countries since geographically, it straddles them both. In the last 50 years of the 20th century, due to a decline in mortality rates and a high rate of the fertility rate, this region grew faster than any other in the world. As a result, demographics there skew young, while in many more developed regions, such as in Asia, Europe, and North America, population bubbles skew older.
Azerbaijan (The former republics of the Soviet Union are typically lumped into one region, nearly 30 years after independence. In this listing, they've been placed where most appropriate.)
Israel (Israel may be located in the Middle East, but it is certainly an outsider culturally and perhaps better belongs attached to Europe, like its seaward neighbor and European Union member state, Cyprus.)
The United Arab Emirates
The European continent and its local region contain 48 countries and stretches from North America and back to North America as it encompasses Iceland and all of Russia. As of 2018, data shows that about three-quarters of its population live in urban areas. Having so many peninsulas, and the region itself being a peninsula of Eurasia, means a wealth of coastline on its mainland-more than 24,000 miles (38,000 kilometers) of it, in fact.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iceland (Iceland straddles the Eurasian plate and the North American plate, so geographically it is halfway between Europe and North America. However, its culture and settlement are clearly European in nature.)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (The United Kingdom is the country composed of the constituent entities known as England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.)
Economic powerhouse North America includes only three countries but it takes up most of a continent and is thus a region onto itself. Since it stretches from the Arctic to the tropics, North Americ includes almost all the major climate biomes. In the farthest reaches north, the region stretches halfway around the world-from Greenland to Alaska-but at its farthest point south, Panama has a narrow point that's only 31 miles (50 kilometers) wide.
Greenland (Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, not an independent country.)
The United States of America
Central America and the Caribbean
Among the 20 countries of Central America and the Caribbean, none are landlocked, and half are islands. In fact, there is no location in Central America that is more than 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the sea. Volcanoes and earthquakes go hand in hand in this region, as many of the islands in the Caribbean are volcanic in origin and not dormant.
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Twelve countries occupy South America, which stretches from the equator to nearly the Antarctic Circle. It's separated from Antarctica by the Drake Passage which is 600 miles wide (1,000 kilometers). Mount Aconcagua, located in the Andes Mountains in Argentina near Chile is the highest point in the Western Hemisphere. At 131 feet (40 meters) below sea level, the Valdés Peninsula, located in southeastern Argentina is the hemisphere's lowest point.
Many Latin American countries are experiencing a financial contraction (such as unfunded pensions for an aging populace, deficit government spending, or the inability to spend on public services) and also have some of the most closed economies in the world.
There are 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. (Some of these countries are actually intra-Saharan or within the Sahara Desert.) Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, and by the year 2050, will overtake the United States as the world's third most populous nation. As a whole, Africa is the second largest and second most populous continent.
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa achieved independence between the 1960s and 1980s, so their economies and infrastructure are still developing. This is is proving most difficult for countries that are landlocked due to the extra hurdles in transportation and right of way they must overcome to get their goods to and from port.
The Central African Republic
Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Sao Tome and Principe
Australia and Oceania
The 15 countries of Australia and Oceania vary widely by culture and occupy a large swath of the world ocean. With the exception of continent/country Australia, the region does not occupy a great deal of land. Islands have been known-since Charles Darwin pointed it out-for their endemic species and nowhere is this more apparent than in Australia and Oceania. For instance, about 80 percent of the species in Australia are unique to that country. Endangered species in the region range from those in the ocean to those in the sky. Challenges to conservation include the remote location and fact that much of the area's oceans are outside the direct jurisdiction of the countries there.
East Timor (While East Timor lies on an Indonesian Asian island, its eastern location requires that it be located in the Oceania nations of the world.)
The Federated States of Micronesia
Papua New Guinea