Countries Smaller than Houston, TX

I mentioned previously on this blog that American cities vary widely in land area. Houston, Texas is an example of a city way on the large end of the area-covered scale. At 1642 square kilometers, its city limits enclose more land than even Los Angeles, CA (and its border is comparably kafkaesque). So here’s a question: how many countries in the world are smaller than Houston?

The answer: 25. One in eight countries in the world occupies less land area than Houston, Texas.

They are:

Sao Tome and Principe
Kiribati
Bahrain
Dominica
Tonga
Singapore
Micronesia
St. Lucia
Andorra
Palau
Seychelles
Antigua and Barbuda
Barbados
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Grenada
Malta
Maldives
St. Kitts and Nevis
Marshall Islands
Liechtenstein
San Marino
Tuvalu
Nauru
Monaco
Vatican City

It turns out if you instead ask how many countries in the world have less population than Houston, TX (whose population ranking among US cities is #4 by city-proper, the population we’re using for comparison), this figure moves up to one in four countries. At 2.099 million people, Houston has a greater population than these 56 countries:

Botswana
Macedonia
Slovenia
Latvia
Lesotho
Gambia
Kosovo
Gabon
Guinea-Bissau
Bahrain
Trinidad and Tobago
Estonia
Mauritius
Equatorial Guinea
East Timor
Swaziland
Djibouti
Fiji
Cyprus
Comoros
Bhutan
Guyana
Solomon Islands
Montenegro
Luxembourg
Suriname
Cabo Verde
Malta
Brunei
Bahamas
Belize
Maldives
Iceland
Barbados
Vanuatu
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
St. Lucia
Kiribati
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Grenada
Tonga
Micronesia
Seychelles
Antigua and Barbuda
Andorra
Dominica
Marshall Islands
St. Kitts and Nevis
Monaco
Liechtenstein
San Marino
Palau
Tuvalu
Nauru
Vatican City

(You can also add in Western Sahara, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh if you recognize those as countries.)

If you instead consider the Metropolitan Area population of Houston, not just the population within city limits, then Houston has more people than about 40 more countries, like Finland, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Mongolia.

And as an added bonus, if you compare Houston to other US states, it has more than half the area of Rhode Island (and about twice its population).

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