World Facts

What is the Biggest County in the World? How big is it by Total Area, Land Area, and Population

What is the Biggest County in the World?

When we talk about counties, we usually mean the administrative divisions of a country or a state that have some local government functions.

An image to Illustrate: Biggest county in the world
How big is the biggest county in the world? It depends on how you measure it. Discover the largest counties by total area, land area, and population in this informative article. Check it out/PHOTO COURTESY: Shutterstock

However, not all countries use the term county for their subdivisions, and some use it for different types of entities.

For example, in the United Kingdom, a county can be a historic county, a ceremonial county, a metropolitan county, or a non-metropolitan county.

In China, a county is a level of local government below a province and above a township.

In Australia, a county is a land division for cadastral purposes but has no administrative or political significance.

Therefore, to compare the sizes of counties around the world, we need to use a consistent definition and a reliable source of data.

One possible definition is to use the term county as a synonym for the second-level administrative division of a country, as defined by the ISO 3166-2 standard.

This standard provides codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries and territories in the world.

According to this definition, there are more than 4,000 counties in the world, ranging from tiny islands to vast territories.

The Largest County by Total Area

Using the ISO 3166-2 definition and the data from the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, the largest county in the world by total area is San Bernardino County in California, USA.

An image of San Bernardino
San Bernardino/PHOTO COURTESY: Facebook

San Bernardino County covers an area of 20,105 square miles (52,070 square kilometres), which is larger than the entire countries of Switzerland, Denmark, or the Netherlands.

The County is located in the southern part of California, within the Inland Empire area, and has a population of about 2.2 million people.

The county is known for its natural features, such as the:

  • San Bernardino Mountains
  • the Mojave Desert
  • the Joshua Tree National Park

The Largest County in the World by Land Area

However, if we only consider the land area of counties, excluding the water area, the ranking changes.

According to the same source, the largest county in the world by land area is North Slope Borough in Alaska, USA.

An image to Illustrate: North Slope Borough county
The North Slope Borough County/PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images

North Slope Borough has a land area of 88,817 square miles (229,996 square kilometres), which is more than four times the size of San Bernardino County.

North Slope Borough is located in the northernmost part of Alaska, along the Arctic Ocean, and has a population of about 9,800 people.

The borough is home to:

  • the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • the largest wildlife refuge in the United States
  • the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field, the largest oil field in North America

The Largest County by Population

Finally, if we measure the size of counties by their population, the ranking changes again.

According to the same source, the largest county in the world by population is Los Angeles County in California, USA Los Angeles County has a population of about 10 million people.

An image of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County/PHOTO COURTESY: Facebook

This is more than the entire population of Sweden, Portugal, or Belgium.

Los Angeles County is located in the southwestern part of California, along the Pacific Ocean, and is the most populous county in the United States.

The county is the centre of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, one of the largest and most diverse urban areas in the world, and is famous for its entertainment, culture, and economy.


In conclusion, the biggest county in the world can be determined by different criteria, such as total area, land area, or population. Depending on the definition and the source of data, the answer may vary.

However, using the ISO 3166-2 standard and the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, we can say that:

  • the largest county by total area is San Bernardino County in California
  • the largest county by land area is North Slope Borough in Alaska
  • the largest county by population is Los Angeles County in California

These counties are all located in the United States, which has a federal system of government that gives a significant degree of autonomy and responsibility to its counties.

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About the author


Hi, I'm Diana, a freelance writer and a passionate fan of all things pop culture. I love to keep up with the latest trends, gossip, and news about celebrities from different fields and genres. Whether it's music, movies, TV, sports, or fashion, I have a keen eye for spotting the most interesting and juicy stories that will keep you entertained and informed.

As a writer, I have a knack for creating engaging and captivating content that appeals to a wide range of audiences. I can write in different styles and tones, depending on the topic and the platform. I have a strong command of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and I always proofread and edit my work before submitting it.

I have been writing for various online publications and blogs for over five years, covering topics such as celebrity news, entertainment, lifestyle, and more. Some of the platforms I have written for include:

Cnyakundi: A leading online destination for celebrity and entertainment news, where I contribute weekly articles on the hottest topics and trends in the industry.
Celebvide: A popular blog that produces viral content, quizzes, and lists, where I wrote several pieces on celebrities, pop culture, and humor.
As an article writer for a celebrity news-writing blog, I am committed to delivering high-quality and original content that will satisfy readers and clients. I am always on the lookout for new and exciting stories that will spark interest and curiosity among your audience. I am also flexible and adaptable to needs and preferences.

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