Difference Between Country and Nation


Main Difference

The nation is a cultural and a political term, whereas country is more of the geographical and the political term. Both these words are often used interchangeably as they are said to be a synonym of one and another. The close insight into both these words tells that they are quite different, especially regarding the usage. The country refers to the particular area, region or the territory that is controlled by its government. Contrary to this, the nation refers to the large body of the people, which are united by culture, common descent, and the history. In some cases, the nation also denotes the large group united by culture with living in the specific area.

Comparison Chart

A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory.A large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.
Particular area.Specific group of people.
Political & Geographical.Political.
Concrete in nature.Abstract in nature.

What is Country?

The country is the political and geographical term that tells about the specific region and territory. It also comes with the concept of the control of the government in its area. Whenever we come across the word country, the affiliation of the people living in the specific region or area is by the similar government. The country in that term has nothing to do with the concept of similar culture and nationality; it is about the people living in a specific area under the umbrella of the similar government. The country has more of its inhabitants of the similar nation, but it isn’t compulsory for the country to only be a residence for one nation. There are dozens of countries which are home to several nations. The United States of America is one of the most prominent examples of the countries possessing multi-nations in it. The concept of the country is more concrete as it is well structured and can easily be seen even on the map, where the countries are divided from one and another using the boundaries. The concept of the country we should always keep in our minds is that it is about the territory or the government controlling it; it has nothing to do with the people of similar or different culture living there.


What is Nation?

The nation is cultural as well as the political term that refers to the large group, which is united regarding the culture, history, language and descent. This large body may or may not in the particular area, yet they are a nation as a whole on the basis mentioned above. A misconception prevails that people living in particular area make up the nation, but this definition gets outdated in the rapidly changing world. Some larger communities in the basis of ethnicity self-claim them as a nation but don’t get acknowledged even by their neighboring countries. For instance, Kurdish people claim to make together a nation known as the ‘nation of Kurdistan’, but they didn’t get recognized by Western countries or even from their closest neighbors. The word ‘nationality’ adds up to the confusion as it shows the relation in between the person and the state or the country. In other words, we can say that the nationality is the legal document which gives one person the right to enjoy in the particular country regardless of the culture, language or the history (nation). It is often used a synonym for the word state or the country when this happens so; it most likely refers to the specific region or area. The concept of nation is abstract in nature as it lies in between the people and the area. Therefore, it is recognized as the political and geographical term.

Country vs. Nation

  • The nation is the large group of people that has a common history, language, and culture and inhibits in a specific state or the country. Contrary to this, a country is the area or the region controlled by its government.
  • The country refers to the particular area, whereas the nation refers to a particular group of people.
  • The term ‘nation’ is used more in the political field. On the other hand, the term country is more exclusive to the political and geographical field.
  • The country is the concrete concept which can even be denoted using the lines on the map, whereas the nation is the abstract concept.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson