For most of us, perspective is reality no matter what the real deal might be. This is especially true for those who haven't had the opportunity to travel outside the United States and/or have a limited knowledge of other countries. Comparing the number of square miles of a country to the number of square miles of a state may offer a better mental picture of a country thought to be smaller or larger.
If you've studied or traveled through any of the states of the United States, then you have some idea how big or small a state is. Your experience and the following list can help you visualize or get a feel for how big or small a country is when comparing it to the size of a state. Some countries are so small, it's better to compare them to a city in the United States. Where this has been done, you will see both the city and the state. If you don't see an area of the world you're looking for (i.e.: Greenland), it would be because territories, colonies and dependencies were not included in this list.
The areas used are total, meaning bodies of water within the state/country's land area (and/or within the state/country's borders) have been included. Purists might disagree with this way of doing it, but the distance between borders is not less just because one doesn't include the water area (i.e.: Minnesota). The research for this list came from over 25 sources.
Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons to the United States include Alaska and Hawaii. For those who are more familiar with maps showing Alaska much smaller than it really is, a map showing Alaska's real relative size has been provided. If you would prefer a larger view of the first two maps, click on the image. To keep this page active, open the image in a new window.
Before you start, try making a few guesses about the sizes of other countries and then proceed to see how accurate you were.
Afghanistan is almost the size of Texas. Albania is about the size of Hawaii. Algeria is not quite four times bigger than Texas. Andorra is the size of Huntsville, Alabama. Angola is about three times the size of California. Antigua and Barbuda is slightly smaller than Huntsville, Alabama. Argentina is one-third the size of the United States. Armenia is slightly bigger than Massachusetts. Australia is approximately the size of the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Austria is slightly smaller than Maine. Azerbaijan is slightly larger than South Carolina.
Bahamas is larger than Juneau, Alaska but smaller than Sitka, Alaska. Bahrain is the size of Austin, Texas. Bangladesh is the size of Louisiana. Barbados is slightly larger than Montgomery, Alabama. Belarus is slightly smaller than Kansas. Belgium is approximately the size of Maryland. Belize is about the size of New Hampshire. Benin is about the size of Tennessee. Bhutan is half the size of Indiana.
Bolivia is slightly smaller than California and Texas combined. Bosnia and Herzegovina is about half the size of Kentucky. Botswana is twice the size of Arizona. Brazil is the size of the United States without most of Alaska. Brunei is about the size of Delaware. Bulgaria is the size of Tennessee. Burkina Faso is slightly larger than Colorado. Burma (see Myanmar). Burundi is slightly larger than Massachusetts.
Cambodia is the size of Missouri. Cameroon is the size of Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri combined. Canada is larger than the United States. Cape Verde is slightly larger than Rhode Island. Central African Republic is twice the size of New Mexico. Chad is about 85% the size of Alaska. Chile is the size of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota combined. China is the size of the United States without Minnesota. Colombia is the size of Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming combined.
Comoros is smaller than Jacksonville, Florida. Congo, Republic of, is three times the size of Pennsylvania. Congo, Democratic Republic of, is one-fourth the size of the United States. Costa Rica is more than twice the size of New Hampshire. Côte d'Ivoire is a little larger than New Mexico. Croatia is twice the size of Massachusetts. Cuba is about the size of Virginia. Cyprus is about one and half times the size of Delaware. Czech Republic is slightly smaller than South Carolina.
Denmark is half the size of South Carolina. Djibouti is slightly larger than New Jersey. Dominica is slightly larger than Lexington, Kentucky. Dominican Republic is the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Ecuador is about equal in size to Nevada. East Timor is slightly larger than Connecticut. Egypt is nearly one and half times the size of Texas. El Salvador is slightly smaller than New Jersey. Equatorial Guinea is twice the size of Connecticut. Eritrea is about the size of Pennsylvania. Estonia is about twice the size of New Jersey. Ethiopia is almost three times the size of Montana.
Fiji is about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Finland is twice the size of Florida. France is twice the size of Colorado.
Gabon is slightly smaller than Colorado. The Gambia is twice the size of Delaware. Georgia is three times larger than New Jersey. Germany is more than twice the size of Wisconsin. Ghana is slightly smaller than Oregon. Greece is slightly smaller than Louisiana. Grenada is slightly smaller than Atlanta, Georgia. Guatemala is the size of Tennessee. Guinea is slightly smaller than Oregon. Guinea-Bissau is slightly less than New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Guyana is the size of Idaho.
Haiti is about the size of Massachusetts. Honduras is slightly larger than Virginia. Holland (see The Netherlands). Hungary is the size of Indiana.
Iceland is the size of Kentucky. India is one-third the size of the United States. Indonesia (17,000 islands) covers more area than Alaska and South Dakota combined. Iran is slightly smaller than Alaska. Iraq is slightly larger than California. Ireland is about half the size of Arkansas. Israel is slightly smaller than New Jersey. Italy is slightly larger than Arizona.
Jamaica is a little smaller than Connecticut. Japan is slightly smaller than Montana. Jordan is slightly smaller than Indiana.
Kazakhstan is slightly more than one and a half times the size of Alaska. Kenya is about twice the size of Arizona. Kiribati is about the size of Kansas City, Missouri. Kuwait is three times the size of Delaware. Kyrgyzstan is about the same size as Nebraska.
Laos is twice the size of Pennsylvania. Latvia is slightly larger than West Virginia. Lebanon is slightly smaller than Connecticut. Lesotho is the slightly less than half the size of West Virginia. Liberia is slightly larger than Tennessee. Libya is one-sixth larger than Alaska. Liechtenstein is not quite as big as Washington, D.C. Lithuania is about half the size of Alabama. Luxembourg is about twice the size of Los Angeles, California.
This concludes Part One of "Americans, Know Thy World." If you made any guesses before you started, how have you done so far? If you found an error, please feel free to post the correction in the comments section below.
Check back tomorrow for passage to "Americans, Know Thy World: The Size of a Country (Part Two: M-Z)."