Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Which is larger: China or USA? ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Which is larger: China or USA?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: sophocles-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 17 Aug 2004 09:46 PDT
Expires: 16 Sep 2004 09:46 PDT
Question ID: 389005
I have what seems like a simple question.  Which country has a larger
area: China or the United States?

In school I was always taught that the US was the fourth largest
country in the world, behind Russia, Canada, and China.  Today, I
noticed that listed the US as the third largest country, and
China fourth.

Britannica Online lists the area of the US at 9,518,287 sq km, and the
area of China at 9,572,900 sq km.  Encarta lists the area of the US at
9,826,630 sq km, with the land area of China at 9,571,300 sq km.  The
CIA World Factbook lists the area of the US at 9,631,418 sq km, and
the area of China at 9,596,960 sq km.

Why all the fluctuation?  I'm sure that some of the figures count
territories and other possessions--like Puerto Rico and Guam for the
US and Hong Kong and Macau for China--while others do not.  Perhaps
some figures account for water differently than others.  Is there some
kind of world geography resource that can give difinitive, consistent,
and authoritative figures for the areas of these (and other)
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Aug 2004 10:45 PDT
Regarding the matter of which is geographically larger, China or the
United States, I was once told by a Chinese friend that China is
larger if inland bodies of water are excluded, and the United States
is larger if water is included. To see how important this distinction
is, just look at the size of the Great Lakes.
Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: pafalafa-ga on 17 Aug 2004 10:47 PDT
What a great question this is!

I don't know the answer, but I'll sure look forward to seeing what
anyone comes up with.
Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: markj-ga on 17 Aug 2004 10:51 PDT
According to this source, the Great Lakes comprise 94,000 square
miles, although not all of this area could be attributed to the U.S.,
I suppose.
Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 17 Aug 2004 10:59 PDT
Pink's friend is right. China has more sq. km. of dry land but the
United States has more sq. km. of TOTAL area if you also include water
surface areas. China has 50% less water surface area than the US so
while there is more land in China than the US, the US is a slightly
larger nation.


Area: total:  9,596,960 sq km

land:  9,326,410 sq km

water:  270,550 sq km 
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US


Area: total:  9,629,091 sq km

land:  9,158,960 sq km

water:  470,131 sq km

note:  includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia 
Area - comparative: about one-half the size of Russia; about
three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South
America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China;
about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe

Let me know if this explains it well enough.

Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Aug 2004 11:02 PDT
Here you'll find figures on water area, by nation:
Subject: Re: Which is larger: China or USA?
From: hailstorm-ga on 17 Aug 2004 18:19 PDT
China is certainly larger than the Mainland United States.  But when
you add in Alaska, Hawaii, and the thousands of other small islands
that the United States can claim, it all adds up!

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy