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The World's Most Populous Countries

train station in world's most populated country
A crowd of passengers near a Beijing train station. (AP Photo)

This table provides figures about the 50 most populous nations in the world as of May 2020. China is the most populous country with nearly 1.4 billion residents. Since India's population is less than 50 million behind China; there could be a time when India surpasses its neighbor country in population. The estimated population of the world is 7.8 billion as of 2020.

RANKCOUNTRYPOPULATION
1

China

The majority of the population is located in the eastern half of the country. Its dependency Hong Kong would, by itself, rank around 100 in a list of countries.

1,402,756,160
2

India

A very high population density exists throughout the country, apart from the deserts in the northwest and the mountains in the north.

1,362,549,958
3

United States

Very densely populated urban areas are clustered along the east and the west coasts. California and Texas, the two most populous states, account for about one quarter of the population.

329,731,224
4

Indonesia

Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

266,911,900
5

Pakistan

The Punjab province is the most densely populated area in Pakistan.

220,892,331
6

Brazil

Most residents live along the Atlantic coast in the eastern part of the nation.

211,557,363
7

Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It recently became the continent's largest economy as well.

206,139,587
8

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is not just one of the most populous countries but is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

168,653,220
9

Russia

Siberia has a population density of approximately three people per kilometer. Siberia has one-twelfth of the world's land mass.

146,745,098
10

Mexico

Approximately a quarter of the population lives in and around Mexico City.

126,577,691
11

Japan

The population is most dense along the coasts, due in part to the islands' mountains and the distribution of arable land.

125,960,000
12

Philippines

The Philippines population finally surpassed 100 million in 2014.

108,658,985
13

Egypt

Approximately 95 percent of the population lives within 20 kilometers of the Nile River and its delta.

100,411,615
14

Ethiopia

The median age in Ethiopia is just under 18 years, making it one of the youngest countries (despite the country itself being very old). 

98,665,000
15

Vietnam

Kinh people, or "ethnic vietnamese" account for about 85% of Vietnam's population, but are concentrated in only half of the country. There are 53 other recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. 

95,354,000
16

Congo, Dem. Rep.

The country is the world's largest francophone country. French might be the most common, as it's taught in schools, but it shares the stage with more than 200 other local languages. 

89,561,404
17

Iran

Azerbaijanis constitute almost a quarter of the population. The nation's population is concentrated in the north, northwest, and west.

83,467,474
18

Turkey

The population is densest around Istanbul, but the largest share of the population actually lives on the south coast.

83,154,997
19

Germany

Germany is the most populous country in Europe, with especially high concentration along the Rhine.

82,003,882
20

France

The largest concentrations of population in France are located in the north and the southeast, clustered around a few major historic cities.

66,992,000
21

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's population density is one of the highest in the world, centered in the capital city of London.

66,796,807
22.

Thailand

Thailand has actually lost ranking on the list due to a highly successful government effort to reduce the growth rate. 

66,507,980
23

Italy

Unlike a lot of other countries, the population of Italy is pretty evenly distributed throughout the country.

60,238,522
24

South Africa

South Africa has received a steady rate of immigration for the past two decades, mainly from other African countries.

58,775,022
25

Tanzania

The population of Tanzania is highly concentrated at the edges of the country, on the northern border or the coast. Dar es Salaam houses over 10% of the population.

57,637,628
26

Myanmar

The population of Myanmar is actually a bit difficult to pin down, due to various problems with the census-taking. Official estimates in the early 2010s placed the population much higher.

54,817,919
27

South Korea 

More than 70 percent of the country is mountainous so most of the populated is located in lowland areas.

51,780,579
28

Colombia

Most Colombians live in the mountainous western region of the country or on the northern coastline.

49,395,678
29

Kenya

Kenya did not reach the top 50 of the of most populated countries until the 1970s.

47,564,296
30

Spain

The largest urban populations are found near the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts--aside from the populous areas of Madrid, Sevilla and Zaragoza.

47,100,396
31

Argentina

Roughly one third of the Argentinian population lives in Buenos Aires.

44,938,712
32

Algeria

Most of the population is located along the Mediterranean Coast in the north, with very sparse population in the desert south. 

43,378,027
33

Sudan

Northern Sudan is sparsely populated aside from an area near the banks of the Nile.

42,177,579
34

Ukraine

Ukraine actually used to rank higher on the list, prior to Russia's annexation of Crimea. 

41,922,670
35

Uganda

Uganda hosts over 1 million refugees, making up ~2.5% of the population.

41,590,300
36

Iraq

If one were to include Iraqis who were displaced or moved since the 2003 invasion, Iraq would rank up to ten spots higher.

40,150,200
37

Poland

Nearly two thirds of Poland lives in urban areas, making it one of the most urbanized countries on the list. 

38,379,000
38

Canada

The most populated province in Canada is Ontario, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.

38,037,578
39

Morocco

Roughly half a million people live in the disputed area of Western Sahara.

35,904,918
40

Saudi Arabia

The population in Saudi Arabia has changed incredibly rapidly; in the past 60 years, the country went from being a majority nomadic to having 80% of the population live in just ten cities.

34,218,169
41

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, aside from having a large Uzbek population, has a major historic Korean community. Many Koreans were relocated by the Soviets in the 1930s, and have lived in Uzbekistan ever since.

34,196,694
42

Malaysia

Eighty percent of the population resides on the Malay Peninsula.

32,787,760
43

Afghanistan

Afghanistan has the highest fertility rate of any country outside of Africa.

32,225,560
44

Venezuela

The official figure here has actually been revised in some reports to a much lower figure as a result of recent troubles in Venezuela.

32,219,521
45

Peru

Over a quarter of the Peruvian population is identified as Amerindian, mainly Quechua. 

32,131,400
46

 

Angola

The capital Luanda houses about 10% of the country's population, and is ten times larger than the next largest city.

31,127,674
47

Ghana

The coastal areas, the Ashanti region, and the two principal cities, Accra and Kumasi are among the most densely populated parts of the country.

30,280,811
48

 

Mozambique

Less than half of Mozambique speaks their official language, Portuguese, as a first or second language.

30,066,648
49

 

Nepal

Nepal's overall population density is low. The two areas of concentrated population include the southern plains of the Tarai region and hilly central part of the country.

29,996,478
50

Yemen

The majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains in the west.   

29,825,968

Source: CIA World Factbook and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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