Exactly how many countries in the world are there? Depending on the source, you’ll find a number of different answers to this question. The U.S. State Department claims 194; many current world almanacs recognize 193; and, the United Nations quotes 192. I’ve seen answers numbering anywhere from 189 to 196 on the innerwebs. I’ve tried to be as judicious as possible in calculating my “country count,” but there are some territories that Google, the all-knowing oracle, just can’t decide on. In these cases, I’ve reviewed several sources to decide whether or not to include them in the official list. If there’s only one source claiming a place to be an independent nation, I’ve left it off; if there are several, I’ve put it on. (The Vatican and Aruba are good examples.) I’ve kept a separate list of former and constituent countries outside of my final count for good measure. If I have it my way, I’ll have visited enough countries by 40 that those in question won’t have any bearing on whether I’ve met my goal or not, anyway. And, for the record, I don’t count airports or places I don’t feel I’ve really experienced in some way, shape, or form.
The Official Country List
Antigua | Aruba | Austria | Barbados | Belgium | Bosnia & Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Czech Republic | Denmark | Ecuador | Fiji | France | Germany | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Luxembourg | Mexico | Montenegro | Netherlands | New Zealand | Romania | Saint Kitts | Saint Lucia | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | United Kingdom | United States | Vatican City
Former and Constituent Countries
England | Northern Ireland | Puerto Rico | Sint Maarten | West Germany
United States and Canadian Provinces
All fifty states | Alberta | British Columbia | Ontario | Quebec
Bali | China | Estonia | Latvia | Lithuania | Singapore | Thailand