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Mapping the World’s Overseas Territories and Dependencies

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overseas territories and dependencies around the world and their sovereign states.

Overseas Territories and Dependencies of the World

An overseas territory or dependency is a region with ties abroad to a sovereign nation—not a completely independent state, but also not a constituent part or administrative subdivision of the parent country.

Their histories vary, but most are tied to either “modern” colonialism from the 1400s onwards, or wars from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these regions still depend on their parent country to some capacity for economic, military, and diplomatic affairs.

This graphic by Pranav Gavali maps the overseas territories of various countries, using a variety of sources including WorldAtlas, Statista, and official country releases.

Where are the World’s Overseas Territories and Dependencies?

There are a total of 71 overseas territories listed on the map spread across the world.

It excludes territories claims in Antarctica, which are currently governed by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. As an overseas map, it also excludes territories sharing a border, or that are part of a larger state or province (like Germany’s Heligoland, part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein).

Each region has its own unique present-day status. Some are “autonomous territories” or “constituent countries,” while some are administered almost entirely as part of the parent country.

SovereignOverseas Territory / DependencyRegion
🇦🇺 AustraliaAshmore and Cartier IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaChristmas IslandIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaCocos (Keeling) IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaCoral Sea IslandsPacific Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaHeard & McDonald IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaNorfolk IslandPacific Ocean
🇩🇰 DenmarkFaroe IslandsAtlantic Ocean
🇩🇰 DenmarkGreenlandAtlantic Ocean /
Arctic Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceBassas da IndiaIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceClipperton IslandPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceEuropa IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceFrench GuianaSouth America
🇫🇷 FranceFrench PolynesiaPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceGlorioso IslandsIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceGuadeloupeCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceJuan de Nova IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceMartiniqueCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceMayotteIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceNew CaledoniaPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceRéunionIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint Barthélemy Caribbean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint Pierre and MiquelonAtlantic Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint-MartinCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceTromelin IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceWallis and FutunaPacific Ocean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsArubaCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsBonaire Caribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsCuraçao Caribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSaba Caribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSint Eustatius Caribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSint Maarten Caribbean
🇳🇿 New ZealandCook IslandsPacific Ocean
🇳🇿 New ZealandNiuePacific Ocean
🇳🇿 New ZealandTokelauPacific Ocean
🇳🇴 Norway Bouvet IslandAtlantic Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwayJan MayenArctic Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwayPeter I IslandSouthern Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwaySvalbardArctic Ocean
🇵🇹 PortugalAzoresAtlantic Ocean
🇵🇹 PortugalMadeiraAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomAkrotiri (British Forces)Cyprus /
Mediterranean
🇬🇧 United KingdomAnguillaCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBermudaAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryIndian Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBritish Virgin IslandsCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomCayman IslandsCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomDhekelia (British Forces)Cyprus /
Mediterranean
🇬🇧 United KingdomFalkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomGibraltarEurope
🇬🇧 United KingdomGuernsey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomIsle of ManAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomJersey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomMontserratCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomPitcairn, Henderson, Ducie & Oeno IslandsPacific Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomSaint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da cunhaAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomSouth Georgia & South Sandwich IslandsAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomTurks & Caicos IslandsCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesAmerican SamoaPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesBaker IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesGuamPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesHowland IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesJarvis IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesJohnston AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesKingman ReefPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesMidway Islands / AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesNavassa IslandCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesNorthern Mariana IslandsPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesPalmyra AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesPuerto RicoCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesU.S. Virgin IslandsCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesWake IslandPacific Ocean

More than half of the overseas territories were in either the Pacific Ocean (21) or the Caribbean (18). The United States by itself accounts for 11 of the territories spread out across the North and South Pacific.

Another highlight is that the majority of these regions are islands located quite a distance from their parent countries. One of the furthest is New Caledonia, a French territory around 17,000 km away from European France.

They also vary mightily in terms of size, population, and political apparatus. For example, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has 3 million people, and its own constitution and elected government, while another U.S. territory of Johnston Atoll is tiny and entirely uninhabited.

Here’s a brief look at some of the best known territories on the list:

Guam

First colonized by Spain in the 16th century, the U.S. occupied the North Pacific islands in the aftermath of the Spanish–American war (along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines). The island was briefly occupied by Japan during World War II—attacked at the same time as Pearl Harbor—before being recaptured by the United States. It currently has an elected legislature and governor and is home to a large U.S. military base.

Bermuda

When Bermuda was first discovered in the 1500s by the Spanish in the Caribbean, and then a century later by the English, there was no Indigenous population documented. At first it was used by passing ships as a replenishment spot, but the English eventually settled it in the 17th century. It now has a constitution, a parliament, and a governor who exercises power on behalf of the British head of state.

Cook Islands

Unlike others on this list, the Cook Islands in the South Pacific is not only self-governing but also runs its own foreign and defense policy and is in “free association” with New Zealand. While Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens, with the same monarch as head of state, they are also separate Cook Island nationals.

Réunion

This island in the Indian Ocean 700 km off the coast of Madagascar was first settled by the French in the 17th century, though it was discovered earlier by the Portuguese. It is one of the many French Overseas Territories that together are home to 2.6 million people.

Countries With the Most Overseas Territories and Dependencies

Depending on if you count island territories independently or group them together, the final accounting of overseas territories and dependencies by country can vary.

But by most official designations of territories, the UK and France are tied with 17 overseas territories.

CountryOverseas Territories & Dependences
🇫🇷 France17
🇬🇧 United Kingdom17
🇺🇸 United States14
🇦🇺 Australia 6
🇳🇱 Netherlands6
🇳🇴 Norway4
🇳🇿 New Zealand3
🇩🇰 Denmark2
🇵🇹 Portugal2

Unsurprisingly, two great empires of the pastBritian and France—still have largest remnants of their past breadth. The British still maintain many ties to several territories in the Caribbean (formerly the British West Indies) while French influence stretches from the Pacific to South America.

And consider that this list reflects current status as of 2023. Former colonies that would have been counted in the past include British India (which became India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and French Indochina (which became Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam).

As for the U.S. at #3, though the majority of its territories are in the Pacific, they were acquired well before World War II. In addition to islands ceded by Spain, the rest were unclaimed islands incorporated as part of the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which sought sources of guano—feces of bats and seabirds used as agricultural fertilizer and for gunpowder production.

Editor’s note: The original graphic and article included a source which had incorrect sizes and listed Spain as having two territories. The graphic, article, and relevant tables and overall numbers have been updated.

Interested in an overview of who leads countries around the world? Check out Visualized: The Head of State of Each Country, by Age and Generation for the easiest breakdown.
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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Demographics

Population Projections: The World’s 6 Largest Countries in 2075

See how the world’s 6 largest countries will grow (or shrink) by 2075, based on the latest UN population projections.

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A cropped chart with the population projections for the world's six most populous countries until 2075.

Population Projections for the World’s 6 Largest Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on Apple or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The end of the 21st century will see the first plateauing (and eventually shrinking) of world population since the Industrial Revolution. As birth rates fall across the globe, what does this mean for the world’s most populous countries?

To find out, we visualized forecasts for the world’s six largest countries using data from the latest revised version of the UN World Population Prospects 2022.

Projections are based on a “medium fertility scenario”, which assumes countries will converge at a birth rate of 1.85 children per woman, by 2045-2050.

China’s Projected Population Decline

China’s population boom has officially come to an end, with the country reporting two consecutive years of decreases (down 850,000 in 2022, and 2.1 million in 2023).

Year🇨🇳 China🇺🇸 U.S.🇮🇩 Indonesia
1970812M199M114M
1980975M222M146M
19901,144M246M181M
20001,260M281M213M
20101,344M310M242M
20201,424M335M271M
2030E1,417M351M291M
2040E1,380M366M308M
2050E1,317M375M317M
2060E1,211M381M319M
2070E1,091M387M318M
2075E1,035M389M316M

Note: Figures are rounded.

The country’s population in 2050 is forecasted to be 1.32 billion, which is roughly the same as it was in 2007. The UN believes this demographic downtrend will accelerate as we enter the second half of the century.

What does this mean for the Chinese economy? Many worry that a smaller workforce, coupled with an aging population, will increase healthcare expenditures and hamper economic growth.

India’s Population Boom Continues

Meanwhile, the UN believes that India’s population will peak somewhere in the mid 2060s, just shy of the 1.7 billion mark.

India’s population will not age as quickly as its neighbor. Those over the age of 65 will represent less than one-fifth of the population until 2060, and their share of India’s total number of people and will not approach 30% until 2100.

Year🇮🇳 India🇵🇰 Pakistan🇳🇬 Nigeria
1970551M58M55M
1980689M79M72M
1990861M114M94M
20001,050M152M121M
20101,232M192M159M
20201,390M225M206M
2030E1,509M272M260M
2040E1,608M320M318M
2050E1,668M366M375M
2060E1,695M406M427M
2070E1,691M439M472M
2075E1,678M452M491M

Note: Figures are rounded.

Finally, whether these predictions come true or not will depend on how quickly birth rates fall as the country develops. For example, India’s fertility rate fell from 6.2 in 1950, to 2.0 in 2021 (births per woman).

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