List of continents by population

Source UN (World Population Prospects 2019)
Date27 Jul 2020

Asia is the most populous continent in the world, with 4.64 billion people accounting for nearly 60% of the world population as of 2020. Africa is the second most largest continent by population, with around 1.34 billion people, or 17% of the world's population. Only these two continents have crossed one billion milestone. Asia and Africa, together share about 77% of the global population. Europe has a population of around 748 million (9.59%), North America is home to around 592 million (7.60%), South America, the second least populated continent, has about 431 million inhabitants (5.53%). Oceania (43 million) is the smallest continent on the basis population if Antarctica is excluded as there is no population estimates for Antarctica by UN (World Population Prospects 2019).

Top three biggest subregions belong to Asia Continent : Southern Asia (1.94 bn), Eastern Asia (1.68 bn) and South-Eastern Asia (669 mn). 46.5% of the world's population lives in Southern Asia (25%) and Eastern Asia (21.5%). Southern Asia includes India, the 2nd most populous country and Eastern Asia includes China, the most populous country. Micronesia is the smallest subregion followed by Polynesia having less than 1 mn people.

Africa has the highest population growth rate as all three subregions growing over 2% are in Africa. Middle Africa is the only subregion growing over 3% followed by Western Africa and Eastern Africa growing over 2%. The population growth rate of Africa (2.49%) continent is almost double of the growth rate of second most fastest growing continent Oceania (1.31%). Except Africa nd Oceania, remaining four continent have growth grate below 1%. Population of Asia (0.86%), South America (0.83%) and North America (0.77%) are increasing with similar rate. Eleven subregions have growth rate above 1%. Europe is the only continent with modest growth rate of 0.06% as lowest three ranked subregions are located in Europe. Southern Europe and Eastern Europe have negative growth rate.

With 40 mn more people in 2020 compare to 2019, Asia is the top contributor of the total world population increment closely followed by Africa (33 mn). These two together account for 89% of the global population increament. Remaining all four continents have total increase below 5 mn.

Population of Europe, is about to rech its peak level in 2021 and Asia and South America is projected to peak in 2055. Population of Africa, North America and Oceania will not peak until 2100.

Continents by population

Rank Continent Population Share (%) Growth (2020)
20192020Net changerate (%)
4North America587,522,475592,072,2127.604,549,7370.77
5South America427,199,446430,759,7665.533,560,3200.83
World 7,713,468,100 7,794,798,739 81,330,639 1.05

Subregions by population

Rank Subregion Population Share (%) Growth (2020) Continent
20192020Net changerate (%)
4Eastern Africa433,904,943445,405,6065.71411,500,6632.65Africa
13Middle Africa174,308,432179,595,1342.3045,286,7023.03Africa
10Northern Africa241,780,768246,232,5183.1594,451,7501.84Africa
17Southern Africa66,629,89567,503,6350.866873,7401.31Africa
6Western Africa391,440,157401,861,2545.15610,421,0972.66Africa
16Central Asia73,212,10074,338,9500.9541,126,8501.54Asia
2Eastern Asia1,672,611,0981,678,089,61921.5285,478,5210.33Asia
1Southern Asia1,918,211,3811,940,369,61224.89322,158,2311.16Asia
3South-Eastern Asia662,011,806668,619,8408.5786,608,0341.00Asia
9Western Asia275,324,813279,636,7543.5874,311,9411.57Asia
8Eastern Europe293,444,913293,013,2313.759-431,682-0.15Europe
15Northern Europe105,768,505106,261,2491.363492,7440.47Europe
14Southern Europe152,446,923152,215,2301.953-231,693-0.15Europe
11Western Europe195,522,410196,146,3162.516623,9060.32Europe
7Northern America366,600,964368,869,6474.7322,268,6830.62North America
12Central America177,586,526179,670,2002.3052,083,6741.17North America
18Caribbean43,334,98543,532,3650.558197,3800.46North America
5South America427,199,446430,759,7665.5263,560,3200.83South America
19Australia/New Zealand29,986,26130,322,1170.389335,8561.12Oceania
World 7,713,468,100 7,794,798,739 81,330,639 1.05