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Fast Facts on the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is made up of 53 independent countries that work together to pursue common goals which promote development, democracy and peace. Our combined population is 2.2 billion, of which more than 60 per cent is aged 29 or under.

The Commonwealth spans the globe and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. It encompasses Africa (18 countries), Asia (8), the Caribbean and Americas (13), Europe (3), and the Pacific (11).

Thirty-one of our members are small states, usually with a population under 1.5 million, and 25 members are small island developing states.

The Pacific nation of Nauru is the smallest Commonwealth member country with a population of about 10,000. The most populous member country is India with over 1.2 billion people.

Top facts

  • The Commonwealth has observed more than 140 elections in 36 countries since 1980.
  • Since 1991, 12 Commonwealth member countries have moved to multi-party democracy from military or one-party rule.
  • The combined gross domestic product of Commonwealth member countries is predicted to reach US$14 trillion by 2020.
  • Trade between Commonwealth countries is estimated at over $680 billion today and projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2020.
  • Half of the top 20 global emerging cities are in the Commonwealth: New Delhi, Mumbai, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore, Johannesburg, Kolkata, Cape Town, Chennai and Dhaka.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, eight of the top 10 countries with the lowest levels of corruption are Commonwealth members, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index. 
  • Seven of the top 10 countries in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which measures rule of law, human rights, participation, human development and sustainable economic opportunity, are Commonwealth members.
  • Twenty-seven Commonwealth countries have high or very high human development according to the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index.
  • Seven of the top 10 countries for gender equality in Sub-Saharan Africa are Commonwealth countries, according to World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2015.
  • Many small and developing Commonwealth countries are among those with the lowest ecological footprints worldwide.
  • Five of the best performing 15 countries in the Youth Development Index are Commonwealth members.

Media factsheets

Fast Facts on the Commonwealth Secretary-General
Fast Facts on the Commonwealth