North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 4.8% of the planet’s surface or about 16.5% of its land area. As of July 2008, its population was estimated at nearly 529 million people across 23 independent states, representing about 7.5% of the human population. Most of the continent’s land area is dominated by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, while smaller states exist in the Central American and Caribbean regions. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe.