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 228 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."
For help in using the International Data Base (IDB), please click here.
Click here for map interface access to IDB data.