Western Asia

Western Asia
Location of Western Asia on Earth
Area6,255,160 km2
(2,415,131 sq mi)a
  • Population
  •  • Density
  • 313,428,000a
  •  50.1/km2 (130/sq mi)
Nominal GDP$2.742 trillion (2010)
GDP per capita$8,748 (2010)
Time zonesUTC+02:00
  • Notes
  • a Area and population figures include the Sinai.

Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East (or the Near East), the main difference usually being the exclusion of the majority of Egypt (which would be counted as part of North Africa) and the inclusion of the Caucasus. The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015. Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "Middle East".

In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent into the "Asiatic" or "Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt. As a geographic concept, Western Asia includes the Levant, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, the Armenian Highlands, the South Caucasus, the Arabian peninsula as well as the Sinai Peninsula, making Egypt a transcontinental country.

The term is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition. The National Geographic Style Manual as well as Maddison's The World Economy: Historical Statistics (2003) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestinian territories (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen as West Asian countries.[1][2] In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes Israel (as Other) and Turkey (as Europe).[3]Unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) excludes Iran from Western Asia and includes Turkey, Georgia, and Cyprus in the region.[4] In the United Nation's geopolitical Eastern European Group, Armenia and Georgia are included in Eastern Europe, whereas Cyprus and East Thracian Turkey are in Southern Europe. These three nations are listed in the European category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

National members of West Asian sports governing bodies are limited to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.[5][6][7] The Olympic Council of Asia's multi-sport event West Asian Games are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the region's sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation, West Asian Football Federation, and the West Asian Tennis Federation.


"Western Asia" was in use as a geographical term in the early 19th century, even before "Near East" became current as a geopolitical concept.[8] In the context of the history of classical antiquity, "Western Asia" could mean the part of Asia known in classical antiquity, as opposed to the reaches of "interior Asia", i.e. Scythia, and "Eastern Asia" the easternmost reaches of geographical knowledge in classical authors, i.e. Transoxania and India.[9][10][11] In the 20th century, "Western Asia" was used to denote a rough geographical era in the fields of archaeology and ancient history, especially as a shorthand for "the Fertile Crescent excluding Ancient Egypt" for the purposes of comparing the early civilizations of Egypt and the former.[12]

Use of the term in the context of contemporary geopolitics or world economy appears to date from at least the mid-1960s.[13]

Other Languages
Acèh: Asia Barat
Afrikaans: Wes-Asië
العربية: غرب آسيا
asturianu: Asia Occidental
Avañe'ẽ: Kuarahyreike Ásia
azərbaycanca: Ön Asiya
Bân-lâm-gú: Sai-lâm-a
беларуская: Пярэдняя Азія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Паўднёва-Заходняя Азія
български: Югозападна Азия
brezhoneg: Azia ar Mervent
Чӑвашла: Малти Ази
dansk: Vestasien
Deutsch: Vorderasien
Ελληνικά: Δυτική Ασία
español: Asia Occidental
Esperanto: Okcidenta Azio
français: Asie de l'Ouest
한국어: 서아시아
Bahasa Indonesia: Asia Barat
íslenska: Suðvestur-Asía
Basa Jawa: Asia Kidul-kulon
кырык мары: Анзыл Ази
lietuvių: Vakarų Azija
lingála: Azía ya Límbe
Lingua Franca Nova: Asia sude-ueste
македонски: Југозападна Азија
മലയാളം: പശ്ചിമേഷ്യ
მარგალური: ბჟადალი აზია
Bahasa Melayu: Asia Barat
монгол: Баруун Ази
Nederlands: Zuidwest-Azië
日本語: 西アジア
нохчийн: Хьалхара Ази
Nordfriisk: Fööraasien
norsk: Vest-Asia
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gʻarbiy Osiyo
português: Sudoeste Asiático
Qaraqalpaqsha: Qubla-Batıs Aziya
română: Asia de Vest
Simple English: Western Asia
slovenčina: Juhozápadná Ázia
српски / srpski: Југозападна Азија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jugozapadna Azija
Basa Sunda: Asia Kulon
suomi: Etu-Aasia
svenska: Sydvästasien
татарча/tatarça: Алгы Азия
Türkmençe: Alynky Aziýa
українська: Західна Азія
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: غەربىي جەنۇبىي ئاسىيا
Tiếng Việt: Tây Nam Á
吴语: 西亞
粵語: 西亞
中文: 西亚