71% of the earth’s surface is made up of water while the rest is made up of land. Millions of years of Earth’s inner tectonic activity broke Pangaea apart and formed several divisions of land that became the seven continents: Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Antarctica and Australia. The position of these continents is changing rapidly and each of the continents is being ranked by a population which will enable us to know the smallest and the largest. Antarctica is known as the smallest continent in the world by population and Australia is known as the smallest in land area and has less than 45 million residents.
Top 5 Smallest Continents in the World (2023)
Antarctica is the smallest continent in the world by population. Most of Antarctica is covered in the Antarctic ice sheet. This continent is the coldest, driest and windiest of all the continents and is known to have the highest average elevation. It is a polar desert and it holds the lowest measured temperature on earth. About 70% of the world’s freshwater reserves are frozen in Antarctica, which, if melted, would raise global sea levels by almost 60 metres (200 ft). Native species of animals include mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Where vegetation occurs, it is mostly in the form of lichen or moss. Tourism, fishing and reserve are the main activities that take place in Antarctica and there are no mining, nuclear explosions, military activity, or nuclear waste disposal they are all prohibited in Antarctica. They have a population of about 1,000 – 5,000 and depend on the seasons which are from summer to winter months. You can hardly find people living on this continent due to the cold and limited capabilities to work because many see it as a continent that is not very functional and you cannot be guaranteed the kind of life you want.
This continent is located within the Southern and Eastern hemispheres. It has a population of about 39 million residents and it takes its name from the Sahul shelf. The continent includes a continental shelf overlain by shallow seas which divide it into several landmasses—the Arafura Sea and Torres Strait between mainland Australia and New Guinea, and the Bass Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania. This is the second driest continent on earth after Antarctica. Australia, the largest landmass in the continent, is highly urbanized and has the world’s 14th-largest economy with the second-highest human development index globally while Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse continents in the world.
3. South America
South America is located entirely in the Western hemisphere but it is mostly in the Southern hemisphere. It has a population of about 434 million residents who speak different languages from English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Wayuu, Aymara and many more. North America has about 12-14 countries and they are 90% of Christians live there. They have cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Bogota, Santiago and so many more. South America is home to the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuela; the highest single-drop waterfall Kaieteur Falls in Guyana; the largest river by volume, the Amazon River; the longest mountain range, the Andes. They have so many mineral resources like gold, silver, copper, iron ore, petroleum and tin.
4. North America
This is a continent that is located in the Northern hemisphere and almost entirely within the Southern hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. It has a population of about 592 million residents with 23 sovereign states and 23 non-sovereign territories with different languages that are being spoken which include English, Spanish or French, and their cultures commonly reflect Western traditions. The largest cities in North America are New York City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and so many more.
Europe has a population of about 745 million residents and their culture is known as the root of western civilization. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states, of which Russia is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. They have cities like Moscow, Paris, London, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan and so many others. They speak languages like English, French, Polish, Dutch, German, Romanian and many others.
Africa is the world’s second-largest and the world’s second-most populated continent. Africa has a population of 1 billion residents and they have the largest urban cities like Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Luanda and so many more. They speak about 1300 native languages in Africa.
This continent is considered the largest by population and land area with a population of 4 billion residents and they speak so many languages. The culture in Asia is very different as they do not follow western culture and traditions. Asia varies greatly across and within its regions with ethnic groups, cultures, environments, economics, historical ties and government systems. It also has a mix of many different climates ranging from the equatorial south via the hot desert in the Middle East, temperate areas in the east and the continental centre to vast subarctic and polar areas in Siberia.
List of the continents by land area from the smallest;
- Australia (approx. 3 million square miles)
- Europe (approx. 3.8 million square miles)
- Antarctica (approx. 5.5 million square miles)
- South America (approx. 6.9 million square miles)
- North America (approx. 9.4 million square miles)
- Africa (approx. 11.6 million square miles)
- Asia (approx. 17.2 million square miles)
We have given you information about everything that is needed to know about the continents and their sizes by population and land area. The 7 continents we have in the world cannot be the same and it is important that you take note of this. A continent can be bigger in land area but does not have a population.