World Population Prospects 2019

Population Division
Definition of Regions

The designations employed on this web site and associated materials do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The term “country” as used therein also refers, as appropriate, to territories or areas. The names and composition of geographical areas follow those presented in “Standard country or area codes for statistical use” (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/49/Rev.3), available at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49.htm.

Data are presented by region, subregion, country or area using the following four classifications to group countries and areas for statistical purposes into major aggregates. Additional sets of aggregates are also available for major economic and trading groups, political groups, and United Nations related groups (see forthcoming https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/SpecialAggregates).

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) regions: countries and areas are grouped into eight Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) regions as defined by the United Nations Statistics Division and used for The Sustainable Development Goals Report (https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/regional-groups/). These regions are further divided into 21 geographic subregions.

Geographic regions: countries and areas are also grouped geographically into six major areas designated as: Africa; Asia; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Northern America, and Oceania.

UN development groups: the designation “more developed” and “less developed” regions are intended for statistical purposes and do not express a judgment about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process.

  • More developed regions comprise Europe, Northern America, Australia/New Zealand and Japan.
  • Less developed regions comprise all regions of Africa, Asia (except Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
  • The group of least developed countries includes 47 countries: 32 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2 in Northern Africa and Western Asia, 4 in Central and Southern Asia, 4 in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, 1 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 4 in Oceania. Further information is available at http://unohrlls.org/about-ldcs/
  • Other less developed countries comprise the less developed regions excluding the least developed countries.
  • The group of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) is composed of 32 countries or territories: 16 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2 in Northern Africa and Western Asia, 8 in Central and Southern Asia, 2 in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, 2 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 2 in Europe and Northern America. Further information is available at http://unohrlls.org/about-lldcs/
  • The group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is composed of 58 countries or territories: 29 in the Caribbean, 20 in the Pacific and 9 in the Atlantic, and Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS): Further information is available at http://unohrlls.org/about-sids/

World Bank income groups: the country classification by income level is based on June 2018 GNI per capita from the World Bank. Further information is available at: https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/378834-how-does-the-world-bank-classify-countries and https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/906519-world-bank-country-and-lending-groups

You may also download a spreadsheet with extended information about the regions and countries from this link to metadata information for the 2019 revision. See https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Metadata/Documentation.


Disclaimer: This web site contains data tables, figures, maps, analyses and technical notes from the current revision of the World Population Prospects. These documents do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.