The Country Ranking tool provides a quick and easy method to view the most populous countries in the world for any given year. The data for this tool are drawn from the International Data Base (IDB) which offers additional demographic information for each country.
Although geographic areas of the world are often referred to as "countries," the world is actually divided into a combination of "independent states" and "dependencies and areas of special sovereignty." For more information on what areas are included in each category, see the following U.S. State Department sites:
The International Data Base (IDB) currently covers 227 countries and areas with current populations of 5,000 or more. Where reference is made to "countries" in discussing the IDB the term should be taken to mean "countries and areas."