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United Nations geoscheme

22 geographical subregions as defined by the UNSD. Antarctica is not shown.

The United Nations geoscheme is a system which divides 248 countries and territories in the world into six continental regions, 22 geographical subregions, and two intermediary regions.[1] It was devised by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) based on the M49 coding classification.[2] The creators note that "the assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories".[2]


The UNSD geoscheme was created for statistical analysis and consists of macro-geographical regions arranged to the extent possible according to continents.[2] Within each region, smaller geographical subregions and sometimes intermediary regions contain countries and territories. Countries and territories are also grouped non-geographically into selected economic and other sets, such as the landlocked developing countries, the least developed countries, and the Small Island Developing States.

Antarctica is the only continental region which does not comprise any geographical subregions or country-level areas.

The UNSD geoscheme does not set a standard for the entire United Nations System, and it often differs from geographical definitions used by the autonomous United Nations specialized agencies for their own organizational convenience. For instance, the UNSD includes Cyprus and Georgia in Western Asia, yet the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and UNESCO include them in Europe.[3][4] This "statistical" definition also differs from United Nations Regional Groups.

Alternative groupings

Other alternative groupings include the World Bank regional classification,[5] CIA World Factbook regions and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Geographic Regions.[6][7][8]



The Caribbean, Central America, and Northern America together form the geographical continent of North America.[2]





See also


  1. ^ UNSD: Standard country or area codes for statistical use (M49) – Recent changes – Footnote 13
  2. ^ a b c d "UNSD — Methodology". United Nations Statistics Division. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ United Nations Industrial Organisation p. 14
  4. ^ UNESCO, Europe and North America, Retrieved: 10 May 2016
  5. ^ Katrin Elborgh-Woytek; Monique Newiak; Kalpana Kochhar; Stefania Fabrizio; Kangni Kpodar; Philippe Wingender; Benedict J. Clements; Gerd Schwartz (20 September 2013). Women, Work, and the Economy:Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity. International Monetary Fund. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4843-9529-5. Country groups are based on UN geoscheme and World Bank regional classification
  6. ^ ICANN Geographic Regions
  7. ^ ICANN Geographical Regions, Final Report by the ccNSO Regions Working Group, For Submission to the ICANN Board, 24 September 2007
  8. ^ "World Bank Country and Lending Groups", the World Bank
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United Nations geoscheme
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