Statoid Factoids

Infrequently Asked Questions about Statoids

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The data listed here come from the book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries", by Gwillim Law. Updates to the book, as posted on this site, have been taken into account.

Q. What are the largest states and provinces in the world, in terms of population?

A. This table shows all of the statoids (for my definition of statoid, see What are Statoids?) with a listed population over 40,000,000. Bear in mind that the data are not really comparable, because they come from censuses taken in different years.

Uttar PradeshIndia199,812,341
West BengalIndia91,276,115
Andhra PradeshIndia84,580,777
Madhya PradeshIndia72,626,809
Tamil NaduIndia72,147,030
Guangxi ZhuangChina46,026,629
Jawa BaratIndonesia43,053,732
São PauloBrazil41,262,199


Q. What are the largest states and provinces in the world, in terms of area?

A. This table shows all of the statoids with a listed area over 750,000 km.².

Western AustraliaAustralia2,527,621
Xinjiang UygurChina1,743,441
AlaskaUnited States1,530,700
Northern TerritoryAustralia1,356,170
Northwest TerritoriesCanada1,346,106
Nei MongolChina1,181,104
South AustraliaAustralia984,377
British ColumbiaCanada944,735
Mato GrossoBrazil903,366
New South WalesAustralia801,425


Q. What are the smallest states and provinces in the world, in terms of population? area?

A. I prefer not to get into questions like this one. The smallest are so nearly equal that their rankings are very unstable. They can be upset by a new census, a different statistical method for estimating populations, a change in the rules for calculating areas (include inland water areas? coastal waters? how far out? at high tide or low?), or a different criterion for what constitutes a statoid. Note that several statoids, mostly in the Antarctic region, are listed as uninhabited, although scientific or military personnel spend time there in rotation. I will mention that the country of least area in the ISO 3166-1 standard is Vatican City, with a territory of 0.44 km.².

Q. What are the most densely populated states and provinces in the world?

A. This table shows the statoids with a population density of over 20,000 people per square kilometer. Obviously, statoids whose population or area were not available couldn't be listed. Also, roundoff errors might be fairly significant when the area figures are small.

Kwun TongHong Kong622,1521156,559
Wong Tai SinHong Kong420,183946,687
Yau Tsim MongHong Kong307,878743,983
Sham Shui PoHong Kong380,855942,317
Kowloon CityHong Kong377,3511037,735
Al QahirahEgypt7,786,64021436,386
EasternHong Kong588,0941930,952
Kwai TsingHong Kong511,1672322,225
Ville de ParisFrance2,268,26510521,603
Central and WesternHong Kong251,5191220,960


Q. What are the least densely populated states and provinces in the world?

A. This table shows the inhabited statoids with the lowest density, with the same caveats as the previous table. Also note the answer to the question about smallest states and provinces.

KerguelenFrench Southern Terr.807,2150.0111
Northwest TerritoriesCanada41,4621,346,1060.0308
SvalbardSvalbard and Jan Mayen2,48162,0490.0400
Crozet ArchipelagoFrench Southern Terr.305050.0594
Alto ParaguayParaguay11,58782,3490.1407
Northern TerritoryAustralia192,8981,356,1700.1422


Q. Which countries have the most statoids?

A. The Statoids site lists 200 divisions of the United Kingdom, 119 divisions for Latvia, 112 divisions for Uganda, 96 departments for France, 84 municipalities for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and 83 "federal subjects" for Russia.

Q. Are there any statoids whose names are palindromes (spelled the same backwards and forwards)?

A. Yes, there are eight. (Accents are usually ignored in word puzzles of this sort.) They are: Hajjah, Yemen; Karak, Jordan; Matam, Senegal (the latest addition); Nan, Thailand; Neuquén, Argentina; Oio, Guinea-Bissau; Oruro, Bolivia; and Oyo, Nigeria.

Q. What statoids come first and last in alphabetical order?


Aakkar, LebanonZrnovci, Macedonia
A`ana, SamoaZug, Switzerland
Aargau, SwitzerlandZuid-Holland, Netherlands
Aberdeen, United KingdomZulia, Venezuela
Aberdeenshire, United KingdomZurich, Switzerland


Q. What is the most common name for a statoid?

A. Currently there are thirteen named Central. They are in Bahrain, Botswana, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Maldives, Malta, Nepal, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, Togo, and Zambia. The runner-up is Western, with eleven occurrences: American Samoa, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, and Zambia. Note that this counts the English form of the names; the local name may be the equivalent in another language. Excluding compass points, the most common names are Saint Andrew and Saint John, with six each. If San Juan is merged with Saint John, the total goes up to nine, but it’s tied with the total for Saint Peter, Saint-Pierre, and San Pedro. Excluding compass points and saints’ names, the most common name is Amazonas, with four occurrences.

Q. How about capitals? What is the most common capital name?

A. First, bear in mind that the same city can be the capital, or administrative center, of more than one statoid. In cases like that, I only count unique cities. There are three statoids capitals with each of these names: Georgetown, Hamilton, Kingston, La Paz, Mérida, Saint-Pierre, San Fernando, Trujillo, and Victoria.

If you want to split hairs, though, there are quite a few cities, especially in Latin America, that have an informal and a formal name. One of them is San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela. I didn't count it as a match, because I was using only formal names. If you use its informal name, that makes four San Fernandos. But that opens still more possibilities. For example, there are six capitals starting with Santiago, but three of them are listed without an informal name: Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Cuba, and Santiago del Estero. Nevertheless, I feel sure that many local people save a few syllables by calling them simply "Santiago".

Q. Are there any cases where two adjacent statoids in different countries have the same name?

A. Yes, several. Amazonas in Brazil borders on both Amazonas, Colombia, and Amazonas, Venezuela. There are neighboring Limburgs in Belgium and Netherlands. In several cases, this situation occurs because a state has been partitioned (e.g. Punjab, India/Pakistan; Kangwon-do, North and South Korea).

Q. Are there any names – call them X and Y – such that city X is the capital of statoid Y and city Y is the capital of statoid X?

A. Not quite. However, in Honduras, the capital of Gracias a Dios department is Puerto Lempira, while the capital of Lempira department is Gracias.

Q. Does a statoid ever have the same name as its country?

A. Yes. Belize, Djibouti, Guatemala, Luxembourg, México, and San Marino are good examples. Of course, there are also the trivial cases where a country only has one statoid.

Q. Are there any cases where a statoid has the same name as a neighboring country?

A. Yes. Luxembourg province in Belgium is adjacent to Luxembourg. Zaire province in Angola is adjacent to the country that was called Zaire from 1971 to 1997.

Q. Is a statoid's capital ever located outside of the statoid itself?

A. Yes, occasionally. The capital of Surrey in England is Kingston upon Thames. It used to be in Surrey, but Greater London expanded and swallowed it up. Nevertheless, it's still the capital of Surrey.

Q. Are there any cases where a single city is the capital of more than one statoid?

A. Yes, quite a few. The foremost example is in Norway, where Oslo is the capital of Akershus and Oslo counties. Similarly, Saint Petersburg, Russia is the capital of Saint Petersburg federal city as well as Leningrad oblast'. There are many other such cases, where the metropolitan area of a city is politically separate from its hinterland. Port Louis is the capital of its own district, and the administrative center for three dependent island groups, in Mauritius. More impressively, Chandigarh is the capital of Chandigarh union territory, Haryana state, and Punjab state in India. Of course, these provide additional examples of capitals situated outside of their statoids.

Q. Does any country have two statoids whose capitals have the same name, but are not the same city?

A. The capitals of La Union and Pampanga provinces in the Philippines are two different cities named San Fernando.

Q. Are there any countries whose statoids' names all start with the same letter, other than the trivial case of a country with only one statoid in it?

A. Yes. In the Caribbean, where there are many statoids named after saints, all of the statoids in Dominica (10), Montserrat (3), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (3) start with Saint, hence with 'S'. The same has been true of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, since the Îles Éparses were taken from it. Until fairly recently, Zimbabwe had eight provinces, all starting with 'M'.

Q. Are there any cities in more than one statoid?

A. They are few and far between. In many countries, the laws regarding municipalities prohibit this. Caracas, Venezuela is the largest such city I know of; it's about half and half in Distrito Capital and Miranda. Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan claims to be the only border city in Canada, although Flin Flon, Manitoba/Saskatchewan would seem to qualify too (see Flin Flon Extension of Boundaries Act ). In the United States, Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri are separate but adjacent cities in neighboring states. Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia and Texarkana, Arkansas/Texas are two more pairs of twin cities, like the two Kansas Cities. In France, Seyssel is divided between the departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie, but it consists of two communes, one in each department.

I can't mention Flin Flon without telling how it got its name. In about 1914, a group of prospectors found a cast-off dime novel titled "The Sunless City", by J. E. Preston-Muddock. It was a tale of an explorer who discovered a city of gold, engulfed in a bottomless lake. When the prospectors later discovered a deposit of copper-zinc ore near a deep lake, they named their claim "Flin Flon" after the fictional explorer, Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin.

Q. How many types of statoid are there?

A. The answer is rather arbitrary, because it depends on how you translate words like oblast' into English. As of 2014-01-11, my spreadsheet lists 4,199 primary subdivisions of countries. It has 106 distinct types. The most common is "province," of which there are 893. "District" comes in second with 596 instances, followed by "region" with 514, "state" with 302, "department" with 276, "county" with 267, and "municipality" with 240. Districts and municipalities are usually secondary divisions or lower, but in small countries there may not be any secondary subdivisions.

Since provinces are almost three times as common as states, it would have been more logical to call primary subdivisions "province-oids" than "statoids." However, I find "province-oids" ugly to write and unpleasant to utter. I'll stick with "statoids."

Back to main statoids page Last updated: 2014-02-04
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