There are 195 countries in the world as recognized by the United Nations. They are sovereign states or they are dependent on other states at some level. 5 states haven’t been included on the list. They are Holy See, Taiwan, Palestine, The Cook Islands, and Niue.
The number of countries is normally an official number recognized by the United Nations. But countries such as Taiwan aren’t seen as independent but rather co-dependent, in this case, to China. The United Nations isn’t the only organization that counts countries or where the number of countries in the world is important.
There are 206 Olympic Games Nations
Today, the Olympic Games remain one of the largest international sporting competitions. It gathers competing athletes from around the world. But there are 206 countries in the games. This is due to the Olympic Body not requiring these countries to be truly independent. In some cases, such as in the case of Great Britain, the Olympic Body even recognized regional team forms by multiple countries.
There are 211 FIFA nations
The FIFA World Cup is the most-watched sporting event on an international scale worldwide. But FIFA also counts countries differently, by affiliation. As a result, 211 football nations can compete in the FIFA World Cup or other continental-level competitions.
Partial recognition countries
Not all countries are properly recognized on an international level. Countries such as Kosovo still hold an unclear status. Northern Cyprus or Western Sahara is in a similar situation. On an international level, even certain regions can’t be officially recognized. A recent example is with the Crimean Peninsula which is part of Ukraine officially but which is factually now part of Russia.
There are 201 controversial states with partial recognition. These might not even be on the map, depending on who designed the map. But you will find most of these represented as disputed territories on Google Maps.
Rebel-held territories are also unclear areas to be counted as states or even partially independent states. Ukraine’s Lugansk People Republic is a good example here as the area is too small to be considered a true country with its government. It is also under an active war status. Rebel-held territories such as those in Somalia will also never be acknowledged as independent states. Other cases where rebels tried to redraw maps and territories were in Syria under the Islamic State. The international community never recognized their status.
Other countries split perfectly fine for the world to recognize them independently. The case of the once joined the Czech Republic and Slovakia is well-known here. In some cases, wars and international military presence went on to split entire countries only for the newly-formed territories to be quickly recognized as independent. This has been the case with war-torn Yugoslavia. Still, the official country count is highly dependent on the United Nations even if there are many other disputing certain territories and countries altogether.