Is Canada bigger than the United States?

David Girones

The vast landscapes of North America are home to two prominent countries: the United States of America and Canada. Both nations boast breathtaking scenery, diverse cultures, and rich histories. But when it comes to sheer size, a question often arises: Is Canada bigger than the United States of America? Is the USA bigger or smaller than Canada?

This article delves into the intricate details of US and Canadian territory, population and culture. Buckle up for a geographical showdown to determine if the “Great White North” lives up to its name or if the title of “American Giant” truly holds weight.

Comparing countries by size is a popular pastime, like wondering if Canada is larger than the US. While some comparisons are clear-cut, others leave us scratching our heads – the size difference can be surprisingly close. But size isn’t a one-dimensional concept. We can compare the population, landmass, or even total area (including water) to see which country takes the crown.

Unveiling the Size of Canada vs. the US: Area Comparisons

Land Area: A Close Call with the US Taking the Lead

Let’s start with the ground they stand on. Here’s where things get interesting. While the US might seem undeniably larger at first glance, a closer look reveals a surprising fact.

  • Canada boasts an impressive land area of approximately 8,788,702 km² (3,393,336 square miles).
  • The United States leads by a small margin with a land area of approximately 9,524,232 km² (3,677,326 square miles).

Based solely on landmass, the US emerges victorious, claiming the title of the larger country (by a mere 674,695 km²). However, the story doesn’t end there.

Water Area: Where Canada Makes a Splash

North America is known for its abundance of freshwater lakes and bordering oceans. When we factor in the water area, the landscape shifts.

  • The US vast freshwater system contributes significantly to its total area. However, the country possesses a smaller water area compared to Canada. The total water area of the US is approximately 309,288 square kilometers (119,416 square miles). The water area of the US represents 3.15% of its total surface area.
  • Canada enjoys a more extensive water area, encompassing roughly 1,021,864 square kilometers (394,543 square miles) – a significant difference. The water area represents 10.23% of the total surface area.

Here’s where the tide turns. When we combine the land area and water area, Canada takes the lead.

Total Area: Canada Emerges Victorious, But by How Much?

By incorporating both land and water, we can finally declare a winner:

  • Canada‘s total area adds up to approximately 9,984,670 km² (3,855,103 square miles) emerging as the larger nation of both.
  • With a total area of approximately 9,833,520 square kilometers (3,796,743 square miles) encompassing both land and water, the US falls into second place..

This translates to a slight difference of roughly 151,150 km² (58,359 square miles) between Canada and the US.

Is Canada bigger than the United States

Beyond Square Kilometers: Exploring the Nuances of Canada and United States Size

Canada vs the US population

Canada population

Canada, a country rich in natural resources, according to the 2021 census provided by Statistics Canada has a population of 36.99 million people.

United States population

In the case of the United States, a land of innovation, the number of people living in the country according to the 2020 census provided by the United States Census Bureau is 331.45 million.

Population: the US far surpasses Canada

Considering the population of each country, Canada has a smaller population than the United States, according to 2021 Canada and 2020 US census data.

Canada has 36.99 million people, while the USA has 331.45 million. This means Canada has 294.46 million fewer inhabitants than the US.

Canada vs US population density

There is a metric often used to compare countries, which is based on two of the data points we presented earlier: total land area and population.

Population density is obtained by dividing the number of individuals living within a specific location by the total land area of the location.

Canada population density

Canada’s Population Density is 4.2/km² (10.9/sq mi) according to the 2021 census provided by Statistics Canada where population is 36.99 million and land area is 8.79 million km².

United States population density

The US population density is 35.0/km² according to the 2020 United States Census Bureau data. Population of the USA is 331.45 million divided by 9.46 million km².

The population density of the United States in square miles is 90.7 people per square mile.

Population Density: Canada lags far behind the US

If the question we are trying to solve is whether the population density is greater in Canada or the United States, we must inform you that the population density is larger in the US than in Canada.

Canada vs US GDP

There is another metric, besides size and population, that is often used to compare countries: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is a key indicator of a country’s economic health and its relative standing in the global economy.

The most accurate way to compare the economic well-being of citizens across countries is by using GDP per capita. This metric takes a nation’s total economic output (GDP) and divides it by its population, effectively leveling the playing field when comparing countries with vastly different population sizes.

Using the GDP per capita in USD from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) Canada GDP per capita is $54,866 and the United States GDP per capita is $85,373.

Despite its smaller size, the US holds a more prominent position on the global economic stage than Canada.

Conclusion: Is Canada bigger than the United States?

As we have been able to observe with the data provided in the comparison between both countries:

  • Canada has a smaller total land area than the United States, however Canada is bigger in total water area and total area.
  • Canada takes a distant second place in terms of population and population density compared with the US.
  • The United States has a bigger GDP per capita than Canada.

Other countries compared with Canada or the United States

Sources Used:

Photos by: Daniel Joseph Petty, Vincent Albos