Most Populous Countries in 1950

Name the most populous countries and empires in the year 1950.
Only countries that were sovereign in the year 1950
Population includes all possessions and territories
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: January 24, 2020
First submittedDecember 7, 2013
Times taken51,220
Average score85.0%
Rating4.68
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Population
Country
563 m
China
370 m
India
189 m
Soviet Union
152 m
United States
140 m
British Empire
133 m
French Empire
86 m
Pakistan
84 m
Japan
83 m
Indonesia
53 m
Brazil
Population
Country
52 m
West Germany
48 m
Italy
29 m
Mexico
28 m
Spain
25 m
Belgian Empire
25 m
Poland
21 m
Egypt
21 m
Philippines
21 m
South Korea
21 m
Turkey
+15
Level 32
Dec 8, 2013
Dien Bien Phu aside, the Philippines are so easily forgotten it's crazy.
+4
Level 83
Sep 10, 2016
Huh? Dien Bien Phu is Vietnam...
+13
Level 83
Sep 11, 2016
This is a reference to a previous version of the quiz. Originally, I had decided not to include territorial or imperial possessions in the population totals. I also put in a note about why I put Vietnam on the quiz- and this was because I had decided to accept the Vietnamese narrative which is that the country was united and independent by 1950 and fighting against foreign occupation. If the country was still part of France then obviously it wouldn't be sovereign and get a spot on the list, and if it were divided into north and south then also the population would be halved and not be enough to get on the list.

Dien Bien Phu was site of a major siege against French forces in Indochina. Vietnamese victory there basically meant an end to French involvement in Vietnam. This occurred in 1954.

+4
Level 58
Jan 10, 2015
My mind blanked on the East/West Germany thing.
+18
Level 83
Aug 31, 2016
Germany has been added as a type-in for West Germany to make the quiz consistent with other featured quizzes. Russia was removed as a type-in for the USSR for the same reason. Nigeria has been added to Britain's total. Vietnam has been added to France's total. The Congo has been added to Belgium's total. And Pakistan in 1950 comprised both Pakistan (West Pakistan) and Bangladesh (East Pakistan). Those are the major differences with a contemporary quiz.
+4
Level 44
Feb 12, 2015
Yugoslavia?
+10
Level 83
Feb 12, 2015
Total population in 1950: 7.1 million.
+3
Level 58
Jun 20, 2022
Incorrect. Yugoslavia's population in 1950 was 16.3 million. Still doesn't make the list of course, being well short of 21 million.

I usualy wouldn't reply to a comment this old, but this quiz was recently spotlighted and I don't want people to be misinformed.

+3
Level 83
Jun 20, 2022
okay if you say so. I've got no idea where I got that figure from as it was 7 years ago; could be wrong.
+1
Level 66
Jun 23, 2022
The Demographics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Wiki page seems to back up Jymy's claim. FWIW. 😁
+1
Level 57
Aug 21, 2021
Yugoslavia was in the Balkans and the only major type city was Belgrade which still isnt a lot
+1
Level 31
Aug 12, 2015
Didnt get brazil
+1
Level 31
Sep 14, 2015
Forgot france
+45
Level 83
Sep 14, 2015
Did you get Brazil this time?
+2
Level 48
Nov 24, 2016
lol
+1
Level 41
Mar 18, 2016
Seems like this quiz should be easy, but I only got 16/20 and was so disappointed I missed Egypt and Poland
+1
Level 65
Jul 21, 2016
Cool quiz. I recommend it for a feature
+3
Level 83
Jul 21, 2016
Thanks. I've recommended a dozen or two quizzes to QM to be featured. I don't think this was one of them, I felt that there were many others I've done that were better, but... not every quiz that ends up featured is genius or anything.
+2
Level 63
Aug 29, 2016
I guess it was considered.
+1
Level 81
Aug 31, 2016
Was almost forgetting Japan and South Korea.
+1
Level 61
Sep 7, 2016
I feel like Russia should be accepted for USSR. It was still commonly referred to as Russia back then.
+5
Level 83
Sep 7, 2016
Originally it was and you have a good point. Quizmaster changed it to be consistent with other quizzes on the site.
+1
Level 38
Mar 28, 2020
I agree.
+1
Level 60
Oct 31, 2016
Good one.
+1
Level 67
Nov 24, 2016
Nice quiz. Forgot Poland and Belgium. Kept trying to think Africa.
+3
Level 83
Nov 24, 2016
If anyone's wondering how it's possible that Pakistan had more people than Japan at this point in history, it's because Pakistan included Bangladesh (East Pakistan) at the time. Britain gets a big boost from Nigeria. and I think when QM changed this to include territories and imperial possessions Vietnam got lumped in with France, though the North Vietnamese had already declared independence.
+3
Level 70
Oct 30, 2019
If this quiz was set just 3 years earlier, I'm guessing Britain would be #1 because of the British Raj. 2 years before that, "Dutch Empire" would be here because of Indonesia. It might be interesting to make a quiz like this for 1945 because the 5 years between 1945 and 1950 saw a lot of changes.
+4
Level 83
Oct 31, 2019
There's one for 1900.
+1
Level 21
Nov 24, 2016
i typed russia but is was soviet union
+6
Level 49
Nov 24, 2016
Only missed Belgium (though tried Congo and Zaire, not realising it weren't sovereign at that time). Anyway, I really enjoyed this quiz, makes you think about the changing world. Fascinating how small, in terms of population, were some countries then, as compared to now.

However, what is the source for the numbers in this quiz? Thanks.

+4
Level 70
Nov 24, 2016
It's really hard to imagine Belgium as having had an empire.
+3
Level 71
Dec 25, 2020
Built on slave labor and waffles.
+2
Level 81
May 31, 2022
Not beer?
+4
Level 63
Nov 24, 2016
The only one I missed was Belgium, though in all fairness I did guess D.R. Congo, not even considering that it was a colony at the time.
+2
Level 52
Nov 25, 2016
I got 17/20 but still missed the US: "What country could have possibly had a population of 150 million in 1950....?"
+2
Level 32
Nov 25, 2016
Portugal had a little more than 20 m
+2
Level 86
Aug 5, 2019
I was betting the Portuguese possessions had to be extremely close.
+1
Level 82
Nov 26, 2016
I almost missed USA, believing I had already written it. At least I got enough time to check my near-miss.
+1
Level 54
May 4, 2017
Did Canada ever get on this list?
+10
Level 83
May 5, 2017
Sure. It's on the list of 196 most populous countries in 2017 list.
+1
Level 66
Nov 1, 2017
:)
+1
Level 54
Dec 11, 2017
...well, you're not wrong...
+2
Level 57
Aug 21, 2021
I mean even if it was highly populated it was technically a British Dominion or idk Canadian Independence is confusing lol
+1
Level 65
May 13, 2017
dammit! Tried the Congo, but forgot it was still a Belgian colony.
+1
Level 63
Sep 27, 2017
It's crazy how different this is from the 1900 one. Then you reach 2017 and your African/Asian knowledge is tested more than ever.
+5
Level 83
Nov 1, 2017
Some of the missing African and Asian countries (Vietnam, Congo, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Ukraine) are not here because at the time they were part of other countries. Others simply hadn't yet undergone the population boom that they would in the following century as the benefits of industrialization spread to the poorest countries in the world.
+2
Level 43
Mar 29, 2020
Ukraine isn't in Africa or Asia.
+1
Level 83
Mar 30, 2020
True. But it was part of the USSR which was partly in Asia.
+1
Level 45
Dec 29, 2017
20 out of 20 but somehow almost forgot the ussr...
+5
Level 76
Dec 1, 2018
Tried Korea, didn't work. Forgot to try South Korea later, but got all of the rest.
+1
Level 30
Jun 6, 2019
Everything I missed was because I thought is was still a colony. Figured Pakistan was still a part of Raj, and eventually guessed South Africa, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Zaire, and then gave up on Egypt. Shame.
+1
Level 83
Jun 6, 2019
A lot of newly independent countries in the 40s and 50s.
+1
Level 71
Nov 17, 2019
Missed South Korea and Belgium. Tried Congo and Korea. I guess that I need to learn more about the historical World maps...
+1
Level 33
Mar 22, 2020
Why is there south korea?
+3
Level 57
Aug 21, 2021
Because it existed
+2
Level 77
Mar 28, 2020
Literally typed "Congo", "DRC" and "Zaire" before realising it didn't get independence from Belgium until like 1960. Then I didn't think to type Belgium too. Got 19/20. I'm so dumb.
+1
Level 54
Mar 28, 2020
You're not the only one, I did the same.
+1
Level 26
Apr 27, 2020
South Korea in 1950?
+2
Level 48
Aug 3, 2020
lol italy's population has barely gone up compaired to other countries
+1
Level 58
Aug 6, 2020
wasn't poland part of the soviet union at this time??
+3
Level 83
Aug 6, 2020
Not all of it. Parts of Eastern Poland were annexed by the USSR after WW2, and parts of Eastern Germany were given to the Polish People's Republic, which was a communist state aligned with the Soviet Union, but not part of the Soviet Union.
+1
Level 71
Dec 25, 2020
Colonialism elements of this quiz aside, it's a bit frightening to note that since 1950, the USA has doubled its population while the Philippines has QUINTUPLED its population.
+1
Level 55
Jun 20, 2022
No way should British 'possessions' be called part of the 'Empire' at that time: most were independent countries by then.
+1
Level 44
Jun 20, 2022
This quiz only counts the ones that weren't.
+1
Level 37
Jun 20, 2022
Missed South Korea and Poland only
+1
Level 25
Jun 21, 2022
I missed turkey and poland
+2
Level 33
Jun 21, 2022
I'm kind of shocked that Poland made the list given what had just happened to it's demography during the war.