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How Many Continents are there?


How Many Continents are there: It may surprise you to learn that experts all over the world disagree on the number of continents. Here’s why; please read on for more information.

How Many Continents are there?

How Many Continents are there?

We learn the undeniable fundamental facts of life in elementary school. The sum of two and two equals four. The earth is round. The Earth has seven continents.

Isn’t this basic stuff? Only, that last one isn’t as simple as our first-grade teachers led us to believe.

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica are the seven continents taught to students in the United States.

And by that standard, continents account for the vast majority of the planet’s land surface area, or approximately 57 million square miles (148 million square kilometers).

The Seven Continents of the World

The widely recognized all the 7 continents are listed by size below, from biggest to smallest.


Asia includes 50 countries, and it is the most populated continent, the 60% of the total population of the Earth live here.


Africa comprises 54 countries. It is the hottest continent and home of the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, occupying the 25% of the total area of Africa.

North America

North America includes 23 countries led by the USA as the largest economy in the world.

South America

South America comprises 12 countries. Here is located the largest forest, the Amazon rainforest, which covers 30% of the South America total area.


Antarctica is the coldest continent in the world, completely covered with ice. There are no permanent inhabitants, except of scientists maintaining research stations in Antarctica.


Europe comprises 51 countries. It is the most developed economically continent with the European Union as the biggest economic and political union in the world.


Australia includes 14 countries. It is the least populated continent after Antarctica, only 0.2% of the total Earth population live here.

Continents by Area from Largest to Smallest
#ContinentArea (km2)Area (mi2)
3North America24,709,0009,540,000
4South America17,840,0006,890,000
Continents by Population from Largest to Smallest
#ContinentPopulation in January 2022Population Prospects2050
4North America597,677,700662,334,900
5South America435,083,400509,254,300
7Antarcticano permanent
no data

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How did the Continents Form?

According to rock studies found in ancient areas of North America, continents began to form nearly four billion years ago, shortly after Earth was formed.

At the time, the Earth was covered by a massive ocean, with only a small portion of the crust made up of land.

According to National Geographic, studies show that material built along the edges of tectonic plates collided to form rock that rose to the surface.

Around 240 million years ago, a single, massive landmass known as Pangaea took up nearly all of the world’s land.

Around 200 million years ago, the Pangaea began to separate and move away, resulting in the formation of continents.

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