Institute for Global Enterprise in Indiana

WorldView - Asia

Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area (or 29.9% of its land area) and with approximately 4 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population. During the 20th century Asia's population nearly quadrupled.

The Middle East is a region that encompasses southwestern Asia and Egypt. In some contexts, the term has recently been expanded in usage to sometimes include Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and North Africa. It's often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner.

Countries of Asia and the Middle East

The wealth of Asia differs very widely among and within its regions, due to its vast size and huge range of different cultures, environments, historical ties and government systems. In terms of nominal GDP, Japan has the largest economy on the continent and the second largest in the world. In purchasing power parity terms, however, China has the largest economy in Asia and the second largest in the world.

Middle Eastern economies range from being very poor (such as Gaza and Yemen) to extremely wealthy nations (such as Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia). Overall, as of 2007, according to the CIA World Factbook, all nations in the Middle East are maintaining a positive rate of growth.