Which is Bigger: Canada or the USA?

Canada is the second-largest country in the world in terms of land area, covering approximately 9,984,670 square kilometers. The United States, on the other hand, is the third-largest country in the world, with a land area of approximately 9,826,630 square kilometers. Therefore, Canada is slightly bigger than the United States.

Geographical Overview of Canada

  • Largest Country by Landmass: Canada ranks as the second-largest country globally in terms of land area, covering a total of 9.985 million square kilometers. It is only surpassed by Russia, which possesses the largest land area.
  • Massive Freshwater Supply: Thanks to its extensive rivers, lakes, and glaciers, Canada boasts the largest amount of freshwater resources in the world. These contribute significantly to Canada’s total area, cementing its status as the world’s biggest country in terms of water area.
  • Longest Coastline: With a 202,080-kilometer-long coastline stretching across three major oceans, Canada has the world’s longest shoreline. This incredible geographical attribute allows Canada to establish crucial maritime trade routes and foster a rich ocean biodiversity.
  • Diverse Climate: Unlike the predominantly temperate climate of the United States, Canada’s weather varies from temperate in the south to subarctic and arctic in the north. This climate diversity shapes the Canadian landscape, with vast forests in the east, the Great Plains and prairies in the center, and the world-famous Rocky Mountains dominating the western regions.
  • Sparse Population: Despite its vast land area, Canada has a comparatively small population. With just over 38 million residents and an incredibly low population density of approximately 4 people per square kilometer, Canada possesses vast uninhabited areas and untamed wilderness.

Geographical Overview of the USA

  • Size comparison: The United States of America covers an area of approximately 9.8 million square kilometers, making it the third-largest country in the world. In comparison, Canada is slightly larger, covering about 10 million square kilometers.
  • Population density: With a population of over 333 million (2022 estimate), the United States has a population density of about 33-35 people per square kilometer. Canada, with a population of around 40 million (2023 estimate), has a significantly lower population density of just 4 people per square kilometer.
  • Climate diversity: The USA boasts a wide range of climate zones, from tropical to polar. Canada’s climate tends to be colder overall, due to its proximity to the North Pole.
  • Mountain peaks: The highest mountain peak in the United States is Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) at 6,190 meters, whereas Canada’s tallest peak is Mount Logan, standing at 5,959 meters.
  • Lakes: Both the United States and Canada are known for their beautiful lakes, but Canada has more lakes overall.
  • Official languages: English is the most spoken language in the United States, followed by Spanish. In contrast, Canada has two official languages: English and French.
  • Economy: The United States has the largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, while Canada has the eighth-largest GDP (as of 2022).
  • Capital cities: Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States, with a population of nearly 700,000 people. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, has a population of over a million.

Statistical data on the land area of Canada and the USA

  • Land Area Sizes: As per the CIA World, the total land area of the United States spans about 9.14 million square kilometers, and Canada covers approximately 9.09 million square kilometers. Interestingly, when excluding water areas, the US comes out as the larger of the two, contrary to popular belief.
  • Water Area Sizes: Canada takes the lead when it comes to water areas, boasting the largest in the world, which subsequently makes it larger than the US when comparing total area (land and water combined).
  • Land Area Per Capita: The United States has a land area of around 29.42 square kilometers per 1000 people, while in Canada, this figure is significantly higher at 246.77 square kilometers per 1000 people, highlighting the lower population density of Canada compared to the US.
  • Total Area Per Capita: Comparing both land and water area per capita, the United States stands at about 33.26 square kilometers per 1000 people, while Canada sees a larger figure of 278.05 square kilometers per 1000 people.
  • Water Area Per Capita: As for water area per capita, the United States sees about 3.84 square kilometers per million population, while Canada enjoys a significantly higher figure of 31.28 square kilometers per million population.

Factors Influencing Perception of the Size of Canada and the USA

  • Land vs. Water Area: While Canada has more total area, it has less land area than the United States. Canada is larger in terms of total area (including water), but the United States is larger in terms of land area alone, with 9.148 million square kilometers compared to Canada’s 9.094 million square kilometers.
  • Map Distortions: Traditional maps often exaggerate the size of Canada, making it appear much larger than the United States. This visual distortion contributes to the perception that Canada is bigger in terms of the land area when in reality their sizes are more comparable.
  • Geographic Limits: Many people might not consider the fact that the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) is only slightly smaller than the entirety of Canada. When including Alaska in the calculations, the United States surpasses Canada in total land area.
  • Population Density: Canada has a significantly lower population density than the United States, with around 4 people per square kilometer compared to 36 people per square kilometer in the US. This lack of population can make the Canadian landscape seem more vast and expansive, contributing to the perception of Canada being larger.
  • Environmental Factors: Canada is known for its abundant water resources and large areas of wilderness. The perception of Canada’s size could be influenced by a large amount of uninhabited or preserved land, creating the illusion that Canada has more available space than it actually does.


In conclusion, the debate on which country is larger in terms of land area, Canada or the USA, can be quite surprising for some. While most people are aware that Canada is larger overall, this is only due to its extensive water area. When it comes to the land area alone, the USA takes the lead with 9.148 million square kilometers compared to Canada’s 9.094 million square kilometers. Both countries are among the largest in the world and share not only a long border but also various cultural and political similarities.




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