How Many Countries Are There? This Video Explains Why It's Complicated

By Mack Rawden 2013-10-25 12:07:57


How many countries are there in the world sounds like a question that should have a factual answer. You should be able to head over to Google, type in said query and get a legitimate, straightforward answer, but the truth is no one can seem to agree on what exactly that answer should be. Is Kosovo a country, for example? The United States Government would tell you it is, but the Russian Government would tell you it’s merely a land in rebellion that still belongs to Serbia.

That same basic process is repeated for dozens of countries including Palestine and Taiwan, and because of that, everyone’s list is a little bit different. 204 compete in the Olympics, but that list is a little off because while Puerto Rico is technically a part of the United States, it fields its own Olympic team. The same goes for other places like Bermuda, as well. Besides, there are places like Vatican City that don't compete at all but still are countries. That’s why, contrary to what Sporcle might tell you, the best answer to how many countries there are in the world is probably the non-specific “two hundred or so”.

The above video outlining the situation was put together by CGP Grey, which is easily one of the most fascinating and balanced informative channels on YouTube. Unfortunately, unlike outlets like Mental Floss and V Sauce, CGP Grey doesn’t churn out content on nearly a regular enough basis. Maybe some day the producers will get on a more regular schedule, but until that happens, it’s worth appreciating what content they do put forward.

For example, let them explain to you the specifics of the debt limit below…


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