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Put the size of countries in perspective by comparing them to US states

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THE BENEFITS OF FAMILIAR UNITS

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This Mercator projection is famous for distorting land areas

Like Jake Hofman, we at Decision Science News love putting things in perspective. Watch this space for a paper we are writing on the topic. We recently thought:

  • Wouldn’t it be cool for US readers to see how big foreign countries are by comparing them to presumably familiar US states?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool for non-US readers to see how big US states are by comparing them to presumably familiar countries?
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to group countries by area?

To keep things simple, we only consider the area of each state, twice the area of each state, and the area of the entire USA as units. We only bother with twice states’ area thing for big countries (larger than 2,500,000 sq km). For compactness, we do not provide the reverse mapping from countries to US states. R code available upon request.

Here you are. A list of US states along with countries and dependencies that are roughly as large as them:
Smaller than Rhode Island (4,002 sq km):

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gaza Strip, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guernsey, Holy See (Vatican City), Hong Kong, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius,  Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tonga, Tuvalu

 

As big as Rhode Island (4,002 sq km):

Cape Verde, French Polynesia

 

As big as Delaware (5,061 sq km):

Brunei, Cyprus, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, West Bank

 

As big as Connecticut (14,359 sq km):

Bahamas, East Timor, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gambia (The), Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Qatar, Swaziland, Vanuatu

 

As big as New Jersey (22,590 sq km):

Belize, Djibouti, El Salvador, Israel, Slovenia

 

As big as Vermont (24,903 sq km):

Republic of Macedonia

 

As big as Massachusetts (27,337 sq km):

Haiti

 

As big as Hawaii (28,314 sq km):

Albania, Armenia, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Solomon Islands

 

As big as Maryland (32,134 sq km):

Belgium, Bhutan, Denmark, Estonia, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Moldova, Netherlands, Republic of China (Taiwan), Switzerland

 

As big as West Virginia (62,758 sq km):

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Togo

 

As big as South Carolina (82,898 sq km):

Austria, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Panama, United Arab Emirates

 

As big as Maine (91,652 sq km):

French Guiana, Jordan, Portugal

 

As big as Indiana (94,327 sq km):

Hungary, South Korea

 

As big as Kentucky (104,664 sq km):

Iceland, Serbia and Montenegro

 

As big as Tennessee (109,158 sq km):

Guatemala

 

As big as Virginia (110,771 sq km):

Benin, Bulgaria, Cuba, Honduras, Liberia

 

As big as Pennsylvania (119,290 sq km):

Eritrea, Malawi, North Korea

 

As big as Mississippi (125,443 sq km):

Nicaragua

 

As big as Louisiana (134,273 sq km):

Greece

 

As big as New York (141,090 sq km):

Nepal, Tajikistan

 

As big as Iowa (145,754 sq km):

Bangladesh

 

As big as Wisconsin (169,652 sq km):

Suriname, Tunisia

 

As big as Missouri (180,545 sq km):

Uruguay

 

As big as Oklahoma (181,048 sq km):

Cambodia

 

As big as Washington (184,674 sq km):

Syria

 

As big as South Dakota (199,742 sq km):

Kyrgyzstan, Senegal

 

As big as Kansas (213,109 sq km):

Belarus

 

As big as Idaho (216,456 sq km):

Guyana

 

As big as Minnesota (225,181 sq km):

Laos, Romania, Uganda

 

As big as Michigan (250,737 sq km):

Ghana, Guinea, United Kingdom

 

As big as Colorado (269,618 sq km):

Burkina Faso, Gabon, New Zealand, Western Sahara

 

As big as Nevada (286,367 sq km):

Ecuador

 

As big as Arizona (295,274 sq km):

Italy, Philippines

 

As big as New Mexico (314,924 sq km):

Congo (Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Finland, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Poland, Vietnam

 

As big as Montana (380,847 sq km):

Germany, Japan, Zimbabwe

 

As big as California (423,999 sq km):

Cameroon, France, Iraq, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen

 

As big as Texas (695,673 sq km):

Afghanistan, Bolivia, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Zambia

 

As big as Alaska (1,700,133 sq km):

Algeria, Angola, Chad, Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Greenland, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Niger, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan

 

Twice as big as Alaska (3,400,266 sq km):

Argentina, India, Kazakhstan

 

As big as the United States (9,826,630 sq km):

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China

 

Twice as big as the United States (19,653,260 sq km):

Russia

 

Map credit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections#mediaviewer/File:Miller_projection_SW.jpg

Country Areas: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_area

8 Comments

  1. Tei Laine says:

    I am quite surprised that there are not so many states larger than Finland, since to me it has always seemed a small country. Will we next see similar comparison by population?

    February 23, 2015 @ 5:57 am

  2. dan says:

    Yes, we will do something with population next.

    February 26, 2015 @ 2:51 pm

  3. ian says:

    Hi, first of all, cool post, particularly for US citizens that want to “imagine” how big are some countries.

    but since some of them are “in between” categories, people should be adviced of this, for example: Colombia have 1,197,411km2, but in your list it appears AS BIG AS TEXAS (696000 km2) which is roughly half Colombia.

    Similar with Ethiopia, Venezuela, Niger or Bolivia…

    So, a different color in the names could be enough or just a warning…
    Thanks

    February 23, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

  4. dan says:

    Excellent point (though we see the area of Colombia as 1.142 million km sq). There are countries that get caught in the large gap between Texas and Alaska. We wanted to do 1:1 comparisons here, but will do a future post in which we do better.

    February 26, 2015 @ 2:50 pm

  5. rudra says:

    Bangladesh is smaller than Nepal,(nepal-147,181sq km and Bangladesh is 1,43,998) before posting in internet analysis about countries.

    December 19, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

  6. dan says:

    Bangladesh is 147,570 http://lmgtfy.com/?q=area+of+bangladesh+in+square+kilometers

    December 19, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  7. dwrwe says:

    What about New Hampshire

    June 5, 2016 @ 6:08 pm

  8. Lilyane Tutt says:

    This is great information!

    June 9, 2016 @ 3:00 pm

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