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The Number of Countries Younger Than You Is Astounding

Swirled recently declared that there have been more new countries created longer than you’ve been alive. Technically, though, that depends on how long you’ve been alive.

In particular, the article cited that 28 new countries have been in existence since 1990, but we decided to dig a little bit deeper, mostly because there is a lot of hoopla over what exactly constitutes a country,1 and also because I was alive before 1990.

According to Wolfram Alpha, 30 countries have been born since 1990. If you want to extend that list a little bit further for those us starting to hit middle age, there have been 36 countries birthed into existence since 1980. The last recognized sovereign nation is South Sudan as of 2011.
That mean that roughly for every year that passes, a new country has been born. It’s interesting to note that in 1991 there was definitely a “country boom” of sorts.

This is because the breakup of the Soviet Union was responsible for the formation of 16 sovereign nations alone, including modern-day Russia, Georgia, Slovakia. This extends all the way across from Eastern Europe to the ‘Stans. Kyrgyzstan, eat your heart out.

Here’s the full list:

CountryYear
South Sudan2011
Kosovo2008
Serbia2006
Montenegro2006
East Timor2002
Palau1994
Eritrea1993
Slovakia1993
Czech Republic1993
Bosnia and Herzegovina1992
Turkmenistan1991
Armenia1991
Tajikistan1991
Macedonia1991
Uzbekistan1991
Kyrgyzstan1991
Azerbaijan1991
Moldova1991
Belarus1991
Ukraine1991
Russia1991
Latvia1991
Slovenia1991
Croatia1991
Georgia1991
Yemen1990
Namibia1990
Lithuania1990
Micronesia1986
Marshall Islands1986
Brunei1984
Saint Kitts and Nevis1983
Antigua and Barbuda1981
Belize1981
Vanuatu1980

1 footnote

  1. The truth is we don’t even know what technically counts as a country, since there’s that argument about sovereignty, which is a completely different thing unto its own. I can definitely tell you that’s a conversation I don’t care to get involved with actual diplomats.

    This is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

    The term “country” can refer to a sovereign state. There is no universal agreement on the number of “countries” in the world, since a number of states have disputed sovereignty status. There are 206 sovereign states, of which 193 states are members of the United Nations, two states have observer status at the U.N. (the Holy See and Palestine), and 11 other states are neither a member or observer at the U.N. All are defined as states by declarative theory of statehood and constitutive theory of statehood. The latest proclaimed state is South Sudan in 2011.

The Number of Countries Younger Than You Is Astounding via @maphappy
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