Difference Between Country and Nation

The terms ‘Country’ and ‘Nation’ are often used interchangeably, that they are thought of as different words having the same meaning. But there are major differences between the two.

A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, territory, ethnicity etc.

A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, a physical territory with a government, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people.

Difference Between Nation and Country

This article will highlight the major differences between Country and Nation within the context of the IAS Exam.                    

One may read about the important difference between the articles linked below:

 Difference Between Constitution and Law Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution
 Difference Between Prime Minister and President  Difference Between Nationality and Citizenship



Differences between Nation and Country



A nation is officially observed as a group of people who share the same cultural identity and links A country is a ‘state’ that applies to self-governing political identities
An example of this can be the Basque people living in Spain who consider themselves as a separate nation because they are ethnically different from the rest of the population. The Russian Federation is a country, with all the states within it abiding by the same laws of the same government. These states are smaller communities that all adhere to one federal government in the country
A nation can be an imagined society with the context being that any connections between the populace might be impersonal even if they subjectively feel a part of the embodied unity. A county can also be used to refer to other political entities while at other times it refers to only states.
The word nation came from the Old French word nacion which means “place of origin”. The word ‘Country’ is derived from the Old French word contrée’. The word is believed that have entered the English language during the Norman Invasions of England in the 11th Century
The word “nation” is sometimes used as a synonym for:

  • Sovereign state: a government which controls a specific territory, 
  • Country: A geographic territory, which may or may not have an affiliation with a government or ethnic group.
The term “country” can refer to a sovereign state. The degree of autonomy of non-sovereign countries varies widely. Some are possessions of sovereign states, such as French Polynesia.

While others consist of a union of smaller polities which are considered countries like the United Kingdom consisting of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Nation and Country are recurring terms under the Geography and Polity segment of the IAS Exam. Aspirants can find study materials for the segments through the links given below

Difference Between County and Nation:- Download PDF Here

Become familiar with the general pattern of the IAS Exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page. For more preparation materials they can refer to the links given in the table below:

UPSC Preparation:

Frequently Asked Questions about Country and Nation


What country is an example of a nation?

Places like France, Egypt, Germany, and Japan are excellent examples of nation-states. There are some States which have two nations, such as Canada and Belgium. Even with its multicultural society, the United States is also referred to as a nation-state because of the shared American “culture.

What is an example of a nation?

The definition of a nation is a body of people in a particular location with a distinct government. An example of nation is the United States. The Roma are a nation without a country. The Kurdish people constitute a nation in the Middle East.
NCERT Books UPSC Exam Pattern Current Affairs Quiz
Current Affairs PDF Universal Civil Code PIB Summary and Analysis
Green Revolution in India Ujala Yojana Article 32


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.