A continent is one of several very large landmasses of the world. Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in size to smallest, they are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area.
Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent (the first being Asia in both categories). At about 30.3 million square kilometres (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its total land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 565 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population.
South America is a continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the northern hemisphere. South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers (6,890,000 sq mi). Its population as of 2016 has been estimated at more than 420 million. South America ranks fourth in area (after Asia, Africa, and North America) and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America).
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,000,000 square kilometres (5,400,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of world population) as of 2016.
Australia, sometimes known in technical contexts by the names Sahul, Australinea or Meganesia, to distinguish it from the Australian mainland, is a continent comprising mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, New Britain, and small neighbouring islands (such as Misool and Waigeo, just to the northeast of Maluku Islands at the edge of its continental shelf). Situated in the geographical region of Oceania, it is the smallest of the seven traditional continents in the English conception. Countries within the continent include Australia, Papua New Guinea and, partially, Indonesia.