A country or state (sometimes called nation) is a distinct territorial body or political entity.It may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, a physical territory with a government, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated peoples with distinct political characteristics. It is not inherently sovereign.
The largest country is Russia, while the smallest is the microstate Vatican City. The Pitcairn Islands is the least populous, while the most populous is China.
The word country comes from Old French contrée, which derives from Vulgar Latin (terra) contrata ("(land) lying opposite"; "(land) spread before"), derived from contra ("against, opposite"). It most likely entered the English language after the Franco-Norman invasion during the 11th century.
In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article – "a country" – through misuse and subsequent conflation is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory or "district, native land".An example of this in North America is Navajo Country.
Areas much smaller than a political state may be called by names such as the West Country in England, the "big country" (used in various contexts of the American West), "coal country" (used of parts of the US and elsewhere) and many other terms.
The equivalent terms in various Romance languages (e.g. the French pays ) have not carried the process of being identified with sovereign political states as far as the English country. These terms are derived from the Roman term pagus , which continued to be used in the Middle Ages for small geographical areas similar to the size of English counties. In many European countries, the words are used for sub-divisions of the national territory, as in the German Bundesländer, as well as a less formal term for a sovereign state. France has very many "pays" that are officially recognised at some level and are either natural regions, like the Pays de Bray, or reflect old political or economic entities, like the Pays de la Loire.
A version of "country" can be found in modern French as contrée, derived from the Old French word cuntrée, that is used similarly to the word pays to define non-state regions, but can also be used to describe a political state in some particular cases. The modern Italian contrada is a word with its meaning varying locally, but usually meaning a ward or similar small division of a town, or a village or hamlet in the countryside.
Countries may be known by two names: a protocol, formal, full, or official name; and a geographical, common, or short name.
Symbols of a country indicate cultural, religious or political symbol of any nation or race the country consists of. There are many categories of symbols which can be seen in flags, coat of arms or seals.
The term "country" can refer to a sovereign state. There is no universal agreement on the number of "countries" in the world since a number of states have disputed sovereignty status. By one application of the declarative theory of statehood and constitutive theory of statehood,there are 206 sovereign states; of which 193 are members of the UN, two have observer status at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) (the Holy See and Palestine), and 11 others are neither a member nor observer at the UNGA.
The degree of autonomy of non-sovereign countries varies widely. Some are possessions of sovereign states, with citizenry at times identical and at times distinct from their own. They are listed together alongside sovereign states on lists of countries, and many are treated as a separate "country of origin" in international tradeas the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong are.
A few states consist of a union of smaller polities which are considered countries, such as the Danish Realm,the Kingdom of the Netherlands, France, the Realm of New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Several organisations seek to identify trends to produce country classifications. Countries are often distinguished as developing countries or developed countries.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs annually produces the World Economic Situation and Prospects Report classifies states as developed countries, economies in transition, or developing countries. The report classifies country development based on per capita gross national income (GNI). The UN identifies subgroups within the broad categories based on geographical location or ad hoc criteria. The UN outlines the geographical regions for developing economies like Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2019 report recognises only developed countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. The majority of economies in transition and developing countries are found in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The UN additionally recognises multiple trends that impact the developmental status of countries in the World Economic Situation and Prospects. The report highlights fuel-exporting and fuel-importing countries, small island developing states, and landlocked developing countries. It also identifies heavily indebted developing countries.
The newest United Nations (UN) member is South Sudan. [ failed verification ]
The World Bank also classifies countries based on GNI per capita. The World Bank Atlas method classifies countries as low-income economies, lower-middle-income economies, upper-middle-income economies, or high-income economies. For the 2020 fiscal year, the World Bank defines low-income economies as countries with a GNI per capita of $1,025 or less in 2018; lower-middle-income economies as countries with a GNI per capita between $1,026 and $3,995; upper-middle-income economies as countries with a GNI per capita between $3,996 and $12,375; high-income economies as countries with a GNI per capita of $12,376 or more.
It also identifies regional trends. The World Bank defines its regions as East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Lastly, the World Bank distinguishes countries based on the operational policies of the World Bank. The three categories include International Development Association (IDA) countries, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) countries, and Blend countries.
A developed country is a sovereign state that has a high quality of life, developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations. Most commonly, the criteria for evaluating the degree of economic development are gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Which criteria are to be used and which countries can be classified as being developed are subjects of debate. A point of reference of US$20,000 in 2021 USD nominal GDP per capita for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a good point of departure, it is a similar level of development to the United States in 1960.
A developing country is a sovereign state with a less developed industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agreement on which countries fit this category. The term low and middle-income country (LMIC) is often used interchangeably but refers only to the economy of the countries. The World Bank classifies the world's economies into four groups, based on gross national income per capita: high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low income countries. Least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states are all sub-groupings of developing countries. Countries on the other end of the spectrum are usually referred to as high-income countries or developed countries.
The category of newly industrialized country (NIC), newly industrialized economy (NIE) or middle income country is a socioeconomic classification applied to several countries around the world by political scientists and economists. They represent a subset of developing countries whose economic growth is much higher than other developing countries; and where the social consequences of industrialization, such as urbanization, are reorganizing society.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher level of HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.
The economy of Europe comprises about 748 million people in 50 countries. The formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency, the Euro, brings participating European countries closer through the convenience of a shared currency and has led to a stronger European cash flow. It is important to know the European Union is not a country, it's a global unique organisation, the entity with the biggest economy in the world. The European Union also “regulates” the global market by the Single Market. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen roughly in former Cold War divide, with some countries breaching the divide. Whilst most European states have a GDP per capita higher than the world's average and are very highly developed, some European economies, despite their position over the world's average in the Human Development Index, are poorer. Europe has total banking assets of more than $50 trillion and its Global assets under management has more than $20 trillion.
The gross national income (GNI), previously known as gross national product (GNP), is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP), plus factor incomes earned by foreign residents, minus income earned in the domestic economy by nonresidents. Comparing GNI to GDP shows the degree to which a nation's GDP represents domestic or international activity. GNI has gradually replaced GNP in international statistics. While being conceptually identical, it is calculated differently. GNI is the basis of calculation of the largest part of contributions to the budget of the European Union. In February 2017, Ireland's GDP became so distorted from the base erosion and profit shifting ("BEPS") tax planning tools of U.S. multinationals, that the Central Bank of Ireland replaced Irish GDP with a new metric, Irish Modified GNI. In 2017, Irish GDP was 162% of Irish Modified GNI.
An emerging market is a market that has some characteristics of a developed market, but does not fully meet its standards. This includes markets that may become developed markets in the future or were in the past. The term "frontier market" is used for developing countries with smaller, riskier, or more illiquid capital markets than "emerging". As of 2006, the economies of China and India are considered to be the largest emerging markets. According to The Economist, many people find the term outdated, but no new term has gained traction. Emerging market hedge fund capital reached a record new level in the first quarter of 2011 of $121 billion. The 10 largest emerging and developing economies by either nominal or PPP-adjusted GDP are 4 of the 5 BRICS countries along with Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Turkey.
The following table lists the independent European states and their memberships in selected organisations and treaties.
The Atlas method is a method used by the World Bank since 1993 to estimate the size of economies in terms of gross national income (GNI) in U.S. dollars.
A high-income economy is defined by the World Bank as a nation with a gross national income per capita of US$12,696 or more in 2020, calculated using the Atlas method. While the term "high-income" is often used interchangeably with "First World" and "developed country," the technical definitions of these terms differ. The term "first world" commonly refers to countries that aligned themselves with the U.S. and NATO during the Cold War. Several institutions, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or International Monetary Fund (IMF), take factors other than high per capita income into account when classifying countries as "developed" or "advanced economies." According to the United Nations, for example, some high-income countries may also be developing countries. The GCC countries, for example, are classified as developing high-income countries. Thus, a high-income country may be classified as either developed or developing. Although the Vatican City is a sovereign state, it is not classified by the World Bank under this definition.
Income in India discusses the financial state in India. With rising economic growth and prosperity, India’s income is also rising rapidly. As an overview, India's per capita net national income or NNI was around 135 thousand rupees in 2020. The per-capita income is a crude indicator of the prosperity of a country. In contrast, the gross national income at constant prices stood at over 128 trillion rupees. The same year, GNI growth rate at constant prices was around 6.6 percent. While GNI and NNI are both indicators for a country's economic performance and welfare, the GNI is related to the GDP or the gross domestic product plus the net receipts from abroad, including wages and salaries, property income, net taxes and subsidies receivable from abroad. On the other hand, the NNI of a country is equal to its GNI net of depreciation.
1 These countries are currently not participating in the EU's single market (EEA), but the EU has common external Customs Union agreements with Turkey, Andorra and San Marino. Monaco participates in the EU customs union through its relationship with France; its ports are administered by the French. Vatican City has a customs union in effect with Italy.
2 Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are not members of Schengen, but act as such via their open borders with France and Italy, respectively.
3 Switzerland is not an official member of EEA but has bilateral agreements largely with same content, making it virtual member.
—The following table lists the independent African states, and their memberships in selected organisations and treaties.