Ngerulmud, the capital city of the Pacific island nation of Palau, is the world’s least populated national capital.
The Capitol Building in Ngerulmud, Palau.
By July 1, 2017, the global population reached approximately 7.550 billion. Exactly one year earlier, the global population stood at 7.466 billion, and by January 2018 it had surpassed the 7.6 billion mark. In 2016, the majority of the global population lived in Asia (59.69%), followed by Africa (16.36%), Europe (9.94%), North America (7.79%), South America (5.68%), Oceania (0.54%), and Antarctica (less than 0.1%). China remains the world’s most populous country, with an estimated population of 1.41 billion as of January 2018, while India ranks a close second with 1.35 billion. Both counties account for 19% and 18% of the global, respectively. However, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that India will be the world’s most populous country by 2024 based on current trends in birth rate. Between 2010 and 2017 China experienced an annual population increase of 0.4%, while India experienced an annual increase of 1.1%. More than half (54%) of the global population resides in an urban environment. Urbanization of the rural environment and migration to urban areas mean that 66% of the global population will live in an urban environment by 2050. As some countries record high populations, others register less than 10,000 inhabitants. Vatican City remains the least populous country, with between 790-800 people. Tokelau and Niue both have less than 2,000 residents.
The World’s Least Populated Capital Cities
Palau is the capital of Ngerulmud and is the least populous capital city on the planet, with a population of just 400. The city became the national capital in 2006, succeeding Koror City, which is home to half of the country’s total population of 21,800. Since the 1950s the country’s population growth has been low, growing from 7,440 in 1950 to 21,800 in January 2018. The Vatican City ranks second, with a population of about 800 people, and is the world’s least populous country. The city-state is located entirely within the Italian city of Rome. Vatican City is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and is the home of the Catholic Pope.
The state of Nauru in Oceania has a population of 11,360. The capital city, Yaren, is inhabited by about 1,100 people, which represents 9.6% of the entire population. The island covers an area of 8.1 sqm. Yaren, which covers an area of 0.58 sqm on the southern part of the island, was established in 1968 surrounding an area that had clean drinking water. Nauru has no modern city, and Yaren was therefore recognized by the United Nations as the country’s de facto capital. Tuvalu, which is located in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Australia and the U.S state of Hawaii, is a Polynesian nation with a population of about 11,200 people. The capital, Funafuti, is an atoll and home to 6,025 people, representing 56.6% of the entire population. The country’s parliament and administrative offices are located in Fongafale.
The microstate of San Marino is located in the Italian Peninsula and is enclosed by Italy. It covers an area of about 24 sqm and has a population of approximately 33,400. Serravalle is the largest city in the country, but the City of San Marino City is the capital. The City of San Marino is home to about 4,500 people, which is less than half of Serravalle’s population. It was founded by Christians in the early 4th century and remains a Christian city. The microstate of Liechtenstein in Central Europe is home to about 38,000 people. Its capital city, Vaduz, is home to about 5,250, and acts as the country’s political and administrative center. It is the most recognized city in the state, although Schaan has a larger population.
The capital city of Malta, Valletta, is home to 6,500 of the country’s 450,000 people. Founded on March 28, 1566, the city is popular for its cultural artifacts. St. George’s is the capital of Granada, and is home to about 7,500 people. Tourism has helped develop and market the city as a tourist destination, resulting in a rise in population. Granada is located in the Caribbean, is popular among tourists, and is known to be a leading export of nutmeg and mace crops.
Palikir is the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, and is home to about 9,900 people. Micronesia has a population of 105,000 people, and maintains close relations with the United States. The capital city of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre, is the 10th least populous capital city, with a population of only 13,100.
The Least Populous Countries
Vatican City remains the least populous state, with a population of 800. Tokelau ranks second, with a population of about 1,300, and has a population growth rate of 1.3% annually. Montserrat, Falkland Islands, and Saint Helena, all register less than 6,000 people.
The World’s Least Populated Capital Cities