The map above shows the relative size of the world’s 26 largest islands. Combined they cover 7.7 million square km (roughly the size of Australia) and have 540 million people living on them (behind only China and India).
If you’re curious to learn a bit more about them, below you can find their names, what country (or countries) they belong to, their areas and the population of each island (data from Wikipedia):
- Greenland (autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark); area: 2,130,800 km2; population: 56,344
- New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea); area: 785,753 km2; population: 11,306,940
- Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia); area: 748,168 km2; population: 19,804,064
- Madagascar (Madagascar); area: 587,713 km2; population: 22,005,222
- Baffin Island (Canada); area: 507,451 km2; population: 10,745
- Sumatra (Indonesia); area: 480,848 km2; population: 50,365,538
- Honshu (Japan); area: 225,800 km2; population: 103,000,000
- Victoria Island (Canada); area: 217,291 km2; population: 1,875
- Great Britain (United Kingdom); area: 209,331 km2; population: 60,800,000
- Ellesmere Island (Canada); area: 196,236 km2; population: 146
- Sulawesi (Indonesia); area: 180,681 km2; population: 18,455,058
- South Island (New Zealand); area: 145,836 km2; population: 1,058,500
- Java (Indonesia); area: 138,794 km2; population: 143,000,000
- North Island (New Zealand); area: 111,583 km2; population: 3,450,800
- Luzon (Philippines) area: 109,965 km2; population: 48,520,774
- Newfoundland (Canada); area: 108,860 km2; population: 479,105
- Cuba (Cuba); area: 104,556 km2; population: 11,167,325
- Iceland (Iceland); area: 101,826 km2; population: 316,252
- Mindanao (Philippines); area: 97,530 km2; population: 25,281,545
- Ireland (Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom); area: 84,421 km2; population: 6,378,000
- Hokkaido (Japan); area: 78,719 km2; population: 5,507,456
- Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) area: 76,480 km2; population: 19,442,012
- Sakhalin (Russia) area: 72,493 km2; population: 580,000
- Banks Island (Canada) area: 70,028 km2; population: 136
- Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka)area: 65,268 km2; population: 20,277,597
- Tasmania (Australia) area: 64,519 km2; population: 514,700
This is what the world would look like if it were only made of islands:
Here are a few more facts about the islands above:
- Canada fully owns 5 of the top 26 islands, while Indonesia owns all or part of 5 as well.
- The most populated island is Indonesia’s Java with 143 million people.
- The least populated is Canada’s Banks Island with just 136.
- The United States does not have a single island in the top 26, with the largest being Hawai’i (Big Island), which is only the 76th largest in the world.
- Only 4 islands belong to more than one country – New Guinea, Borneo, Ireland and Hispaniola
Why isn’t Australia considered an island?
Technically every continent in the world could be considered an island. Australia is 3 times the size of Greenland and is the largest landmass on its continental shelf. Thus, it can be considered an island-continent, but most often it’s classed as a continent rather than an island.
In fact, if it was an island it would be roughly as large as the next 26 combined.
Want to learn more about the world’s islands? Then have a look at:
Have any feelings about islands? Have your say below: