Those of you who are wondering where countries A-L are lurking need look no further: Americans, Know thy World: The Size of a Country (Part One: A-L). If you've already perused countries A-L, go ahead and scroll through the text and on down to the list.
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 and the very last map, 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.
Macedonia is slightly larger than Vermont. Madagascar is twice the size of Arizona. Malawi is about the size of Pennsylvania. Malaysia is almost twice the size of Wisconsin. Maldives is about the size of Little Rock, Arkansas. Mali is four-fifths the size of Alaska. Malta: the five Maltese islands (Malta, Gozo, Comino, Comminotto, and Filflawith), have a combined area slightly larger than Athens, Georgia. The Marshall Islands comprise an area slightly larger than Washington, DC. Mauritania is more than one and a half times the size of Texas.
Mauritius is slightly smaller than Jacksonville, Florida. Mexico is about one-seventh larger than Alaska. Micronesia, Federated States of, is slightly larger than Austin, Texas. Moldova is slightly larger than Maryland. Monaco is about the size of Florence, Kansas. Mongolia is slightly smaller than Alaska. Montenegro is roughly the size of Connecticut. Morocco is about one-tenth larger than California. Mozambique is almost twice the size of California. Myanmar (Burma) is slightly smaller than Texas.
Namibia is less than half the size of Alaska. Nauru is about the size of Trenton, New Jersey. Nepal is almost the size of Arkansas. The Netherlands is twice the size of New Jersey. New Zealand is about the size of Colorado. Nicaragua is slightly larger than Mississippi. Niger is four-fifths the size of Alaska. Nigeria is one-third larger than Texas. North Korea is slightly larger than Pennsylvania. Norway is slightly larger than New Mexico.
Oman is the size of Kansas.
Pakistan is nearly twice the size of California. Palau is about the size of Norman, Oklahoma. Palestinian State (proposed) West Bank and Gaza Strip is about the size of Delaware. Panama is slightly smaller than South Carolina. Papua New Guinea is about one-tenth larger than California. Paraguay is larger than Montana. Peru is five-sixths the size of Alaska. The Philippines is about the size of Arizona. Poland is the size of New Mexico. Portugal is slightly smaller than Indiana.
Qatar is about twice the size of Delaware.
Romania is slightly smaller than Wyoming. Russia is almost one and three-quarters larger than the United States. Rwanda is slightly larger than Vermont.
South Korea is slightly larger than Indiana. St. Kitts and Nevis is the size of Boulder City, Nevada. St. Lucia is the size of Chicago, Illinois. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the size of Birmingham, Alabama. Samoa is smaller than Rhode Island. San Marino is about the size of Powhatan Creek, Virginia. São Tomé and Príncipe is slightly larger than Dallas, Texas. Saudi Arabia is one-fifth larger than Alaska. Senegal is slightly smaller than South Dakota.
Serbia is slightly smaller than Indiana. Seychelles is a little smaller than Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sierra Leone is half the size of Illinois. Singapore is smaller than Forth Worth, Texas. Slovakia is about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Slovenia is the size of New Jersey. Solomon Islands is slightly larger than Vermont. Somalia is slightly smaller than Texas. South Africa is nearly three times the size of California.
Spain is about the size of Arizona and Utah combined. Sri Lanka is slightly larger than West Virginia. Sudan is about one-fourth the size of the United States. Suriname is slightly smaller than Wisconsin. Swaziland is larger than Connecticut, but smaller than New Jersey. Sweden is twice the size of Minnesota. Switzerland is about the size of Connecticut and Massachusetts combined. Syria is slightly larger than North Dakota.
Taiwan is slightly larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. Tajikistan is slightly smaller than the state of Illinois. Tanzania is three times bigger than New Mexico. Thailand is about twice the size of Oregon. Togo is more than twice the size of Vermont. Tonga is about the size of Lexington, Kentucky. Trinidad and Tobago is about the size of Anchorage, Alaska. Tunisia is twice the size of South Carolina. Turkey is more than twice the size of Montana. Turkmenistan (formerly Turkmenia) is about twice the size of Oregon. Tuvalu is slightly smaller than Hastings, Minnesota.
Uganda is twice the size of Pennsylvania. Ukraine is more than twice the size of Arizona. United Arab Emirates is slightly smaller than Maine. United Kingdom consists of Great Britain (England 50,334 sq mi , Wales 8,019 sq mi and Scotland 30,414 sq mi ) and Northern Ireland (slightly larger than Connecticut), and is twice the size of New York State. The United States is less than half the size of Russia. Uruguay is about the size of Oklahoma. Uzbekistan is about one-tenth larger than California.
Vanuatu is slightly smaller than Connecticut. Vatican City (Holy See) is about the size of Washington, Nebraska. Venezuela is a third larger than Texas. Vietnam is about the size of Missouri and Iowa combined.
Western Sahara is about the size of Colorado.
Yemen is slightly less than twice the size of Colorado.
Zaire (see Congo, Democratic Republic of). Zimbabwe is slightly larger than Montana. Zambia is about one-tenth larger than Texas.
This concludes "Americans, Know Thy World." If you found an error, please feel free to post the correction in the comments section below. I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of the globe. If you made any guesses before you started, how did you do? If you feel inspired to do so, I encourage you to do further research into one or more countries.
For those who made it all the way through both lists and who fancy themselves incurably curious armchair researchers, here is an added bonus. The international territory of Antarctica (at the South Pole) boasts an area of 5.5 million square miles in the summer. It is smaller than Russia, but larger than the United States and Mexico combined. In the winter, the area becomes about the size of Russia. Conversely, there is very little land area around the North Pole (image, right).