What is the biggest country in the world? – USA TODAY

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Maps are of little help when it comes to size comparisons, World Population Review says. They can be misleading because they’re two-dimensional representations of a three-dimensional world. A more accurate way to compare countries is by the area of each, usually measured in square miles or square kilometers.
When it comes to comparing areas of country, there’s a distinction in taking account of the land area and area that’s covered by water bodies like lakes, reservoirs and rivers. While the total surface area of countries is made up of both, there’s a significant difference between the countries with higher land area like United States, compared with Canada which has numerous inland water bodies.
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According to World Atlas, Russia is the largest country in the world, followed by Canada and the U.S. in total area.
The transcontinental country, which spans Asia and Europe, has a total surface area of 17.1 million square kilometers – Russia consists of land area for the most part, only about 4% of total area accounts for territorial waters. In contrast, about 9% of Canada’s surface approximately is covered with water.
In fact, Russia is so large it has nine time zones and borders 16 other countries.
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The top three largest countries in the world are Russia, Canada and the United States of America, according to the World Atlas.
The  U.S. and China have been head-to-head for the position of the third largest country in the world. Considering the total surface area of both the countries including land and water, the United States takes up 9.8 million square kilometers while China has 9.6 million square kilometers, according to World Atlas. However, China leads when it comes to land area compared with the U.S. World Atlas says China is approximately 2% larger than the U.S. in terms of land area.
According to history.com, Vatican City is the smallest. Located in Rome, Italy, the home of the Pope spans less than half a square kilometer.  
Followed by Vatican City, the Principality of Monaco and Nauru take the spots for the second and third-smallest countries in the world, according to World Atlas.
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The U.S. is approximately half the size of Russia when compared by their landmasses. According to NationMaster.com, Russia is 1.8 times larger than America. 
Despite the extensive land area, Russia hosts only 2% of the world’s population while the U.S. ranks third in world population, according to the U.S Census bureau.
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