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How many countries are in the world?

How many countries are in the world?

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How many countries are in the world?

Today, there are 197 countries in the world:193 UN members  

The United Nations, as the most influential international organization, is often considered the start point for the correct counting the total number. All the 193 UN members are independent countries recognized worldwide.

Become a part of the United Nations is not so easy. First of all, the Security Council is voting and the consent of all 5 permanent members of the Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) is needed for the adoption of the new candidate. After that, the UN General Assembly approves this decision by no less than the two-thirds of the votes. Such a complicated procedure ensures that all the accepted UN members have been recognized by the vast majority of other states and have established diplomatic relations with them.

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Two UN observers, Holy See (Vatican) and Palestine, are both countries because the UN observer status confirms the certain degree of their international recognition. The Holy See maintains bilateral relations with the majority of the world through its 180 diplomatic missions in independent states and international organizations. Palestine nowadays is recognized by 137 countries.

All other self-proclaimed entities are considered as “partially recognized countries”. Some of them either do not control their own territory, like the Western Sahara, or are recognized only by 1-5 UN members and by partially recognized subjects like themselves. For example, the independence of the Northern Cyprus is confirmed only by Turkey; the Republic of Abkhazia has obtained acceptance of 4 members of the UN; the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic statehood is accepted only by three partially recognized states.


Nowadays there is no consensus on the issue of the total quantity of countries because still there is no universally agreed definition of “country” and there is no one single competent international body, which could correctly answer the question, “How many are there in the world?”.

All of the above is our own answer, which is based on the real practice of official and unofficial international relations existing today in the world.

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