Is There A Country Without People? We Find Out

The populations of countries vary massively, from hugely populous states like China, India and the US, to countries with tiny populations like Tuvalu, Palau, and San Marino. There are no two countries that have the exact same populations and the number of people a country has is entirely unique. But then this makes you think – if a country can have a population of any size, could there be a country without people at all? Actually, definitely not, and we’ll explain why…

There is not a country without people. This is because people are needed for a nation state to be founded. A country cannot exist if there are no people within it. This is why it is impossible to have a nation without a population.

…but that’s just an overview. If we are really going to understand why its impossible to have a country without people, we need to go into a bit more detail.

Why There Isn’t A Country Without People?

Right, so it’s clear that there is not a country that has no population at all. But why is this? Every country in the world is so different, why do they all have in common the fact they have people? Actually, there are four main reasons:

  • A country cannot exist without people
  • Countries are founded by people
  • Anywhere without people there are still countries
  • Every part of the world is part of a nation

Let’s take a quick look at each of these…

A Country Cannot Exist Without People

A first reason why there isn’t a country with no people is because a nation cannot exist without a population. Essentially, there are only countries because people decide that there are countries. A nation without people simply wouldn’t exist because there would be no people within that state to declare it a nation.

Countries Are Founded By People

A second reason why there isn’t a country that doesn’t have people is because nation states are founded by people. As we said, countries only exist because people think they exist. Countries are not physical. In fact, they are really only in people’s imaginations. This means that for a country to exist it must be founded by a group of people. Therefore, every country has to have some people in it, and this why there isn’t a nation without a population at all.

Anywhere Without People There Are Still Countries

Another reason why there isn’t a country without people is because even in areas with no people, nation states are still present. If you look at places in the world there are no people at all, there are still countries that govern those areas. The only exception to this is Antarctica. However, there isn’t a nation state in Antarctica. This is actually further proof that you can’t have a country without people.

Every Part Of The World Is Part Of A Nation

A final reason why there isn’t a country with no population is because every part of the world is part of a country. This means that any place without people is still within a nation state (except Antarctica, as we said). Therefore there can’t be a nation that has no people at all.

Could There Be A Country With No People?

Ok, so there is no country in the world that doesn’t have people, but what about in the future? Could we one day see a nation state without a population at all? The answer to this is… also no, and there are four reasons why:

  • Any nation without people would cease to exist
  • The world will always have nation states
  • People often move into areas that are sparsely populated
  • People will always want to live in countries

Now we’ll briefly go over each of these…

Any Nation Without People Would Cease To Exist

A first reason why there could never be a country without people is because without a population a country would cease to exist. As we’ve covered, nation states only exist because the people in them believe that they are part of that nation, and other people outside of the nation also acknowledge its existence. If all those people within a country weren’t there, then there wouldn’t be a country at all. This is why there could never be a nation without people. 

The World Will Always Have Nation States

A second reason why there could not be a country that didn’t have people is because there will always be nation states. Although throughout history there have been times when people lived in areas that were not part of formal nations, today the entire world is made up of states. This is not going to change and therefore there could not be a nation that didn’t have a population at all.

People Often Move Into Areas That Are Sparsely Populated

One reason why there could never be a country without people is because people will move into areas where there aren’t any people. If there was going to be a country that didn’t have a population, it would have to occupy an area of land that didn’t have any people there. However, people almost always move to areas where there isn’t anybody. As a result, even if there was, hypothetically, a nation without any people, people would begin to move there. This is why there could never be a state with no people at all.

People Will Always Want To Live In Countries

A final reason why there could never be a country without a population is because people want to live in nation states. Many people see their country as a key part of their identity. They are also often very proud of it. As a result, we are not going to see a place where people don’t want to live in countries any more, and therefore there could never be a nation that didn’t have a population.

Has There Been A Nation That Had No People?

There has never been a country without people. Although there have been instances where people have lived not within a formal nation state, there has never been a nation that existed without people living in it.

As we’ve covered, for a nation to exist it needs to have people. This is because it is the people of a country that form the nation. Simply put – without people, a nation would not exist. Therefore, throughout history, there has never been a country that didn’t have a population.

The widespread adoption of the idea of the nation state really came about in the 1600s, however it does have a history going back millennia. There are many instances throughout history of people not living in countries, but there has never been an instance of the opposite – a nation without people at all.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts