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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:

Independent states This link to a non-federal Web site does not imply endorsement of any particular product, company, or content.

Dependencies and areas of special sovereignty This link to a non-federal Web site does not imply endorsement of any particular product, company, or content.

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."

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | International Programs | International Data Base   Revised:December 19, 2013   Version: Data:--.---- Code:--.----
he term should be taken to mean "countries and areas."

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | International Programs | International Data Base   Revised:December 19, 2013   Version: Data:--.---- Code:--.----