How Big Is Scotland Compared To A State?

basic blue map of scotland's outline

How Big Is Scotland Compared To A State?

Have you been wondering “how big is Scotland”? The country’s diverse landscapes span roughly 30,090 square miles (80,031 square kilometres). It’s a nation with a notably diverse range of landscapes packed into a relatively compact space. 

When stacked against countries worldwide, it doesn’t rank anywhere near amongst the largest. However, its size is comparable to many smaller countries and US states, granting it a unique balance between cultural significance and geographical expanse.

But just how big is Scotland compared to American states? Maine is the closest in terms of land area, offering a unique perspective on the size of this iconic nation. 

Let’s delve deeper into how Scotland’s size measures up against various states (and a few other countries as a bonus), illustrating its geographical standing on the world stage.

Comparing Scotland to US States

When seeking a more congruent size comparison within the US, states like South Carolina and Maine come to the fore. Both are roughly similar in land area to Scotland. However, other states like Rhode Island or Delaware are significantly smaller, while states such as Alaska or California far surpass Scotland’s geographical footprint.

Here’s a more detailed look:

Scotland Versus Texas: A Popular Comparison

map showing texas overlaid on scotland

The comparison between Scotland and Texas is often made, not just because of the sheer size of the Lone Star State, but also due to the significant cultural impact and identity both regions boast. 

While both are renowned for their distinctive traditions, landscapes, and contributions to their respective nations, their sizes tell a different story. 

Texas, stretching across an expansive area of approximately 268,596 square miles (or about 695,662 square kilometres), dwarfs Scotland many times over. This stark difference in land area showcases the vastness of American states while highlighting the concentrated cultural richness of Scotland.

Texas has a population of about 30 million, which, like its physical size, dwarfs Scotland’s 5.44 million people.

South Carolina

map showing south carolina overlaid on scotland

Covering an area of about 32,020 square miles (or around 82,932 square kilometres), South Carolina is only slightly larger than Scotland. It boasts a coastal charm along the Atlantic and an interior marked by rolling hills and forests, much like Scotland.

With a population close to 5 million, it’s also similarly densely populated as Scotland. The state is known for its Southern hospitality, historic towns, and rich Civil War history, a cultural blend of traditions distinct from Scotland’s Celtic roots.


map showing maine overlaid on scotland

Maine stretches over approximately 35,385 square miles (or about 91,646 square kilometres) so it’s slightly bigger than Scotland. Its rocky coastlines, dense forests, and picturesque landscapes echo some of the natural beauty found in Scotland.

The real difference is when comparing the populations of Maine and Scotland. Hosting a population of around 1.3 million, Maine has a significantly lower population density than Scotland.

In terms of culture, there are again some similarities. Famous for its seafood, particularly lobster, Maine’s culture is deeply connected to the sea, akin to many coastal regions of Scotland. However, Maine’s American colonial history and Scotland’s Highland traditions provide contrasting historical narratives.

Rhode Island

map showing rhode island overlaid on scotland

As the smallest US state, Rhode Island spans only about 1,214 square miles (or 3,144 square kilometres). It’s many times smaller than Scotland. But, despite its small size, it houses over a million people, resulting in a high population density.


map showing alaska overlaid on the UK

The largest US state, Alaska, stretches across a mammoth 663,267 square miles (or about 1,717,856 square kilometres), offering a stark contrast to Scotland’s size–it’s over 20 times larger! With a population of just over 700,000, its vast landscapes remain largely untouched–it’s largely uninhabitable.

Other Interesting Comparisons and Fun Facts About Scotland’s Size

Beyond the US, several global regions bear a resemblance to Scotland in terms of size. The Czech Republic (Czechia) is the country closest in size to Scotland, at 30,450 square miles (78,865 square kilometers). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has an area of 32,278 square miles (83,600 square kilometres), putting it slightly above Scotland in the list of countries by size.

In terms of what the land area is made up of, the country is home to over 30,000 freshwater lochs (lakes), including the world-renowned Loch Ness (22 square miles, or 56 square kilometres). And, while Scotland covers less than 1% of Europe’s total land area, it’s home to 60% of the UK’s coastline, giving it a vast maritime boundary for its size.

Another fun fact, the shortest commercial flight in the world operates in Scotland. It travels between Westray and Papa Westray, Orkney, lasting just over a minute and covering a distance of 1.7 miles!

Factors Influencing Perceptions of Size

The perception of a place’s size isn’t solely about the square miles it occupies on the map. Various factors play into our conceptualisation of how “big” a region is.

  • Population Density: An area might seem busier or more extensive based on the number of people per square mile. For instance, urban centres in Scotland might feel much larger than rural expanses in larger US states due to the concentration of people.
  • Topography: The layout and features of the land can influence our perception. Mountains, valleys, plains, and coastlines break up space and can either make regions seem expansive or compact. The country’s rugged Highlands, for example, can feel vast and endless.
  • Cultural Significance: The cultural weight a region holds can amplify its perceived size. Scotland, steeped in millennia of history, folklore, and distinct traditions, might feel larger-than-life to many, despite its actual geographical dimensions.
  • Economic and Cultural Impact: Geographical size doesn’t dictate the cultural or economic influence of a region. For instance, Scotland’s whisky industry, festivals, or contributions to innovation, art and literature give it a massive global footprint.
  • Media, Literature, and History: Our perceptions are often shaped by how places are portrayed in movies, books, or historical accounts. The country, which has been romanticised in many tales like Outlander or historical epics like Braveheart, occupies a large space in global imagination.

A Last Word…

While Scotland might be much smaller than the US as a whole, it is similar in size to South Carolina and Maine. And despite not being the biggest country in the world, Scotland has made a huge contribution in terms of culture and exports, and its small size means it’s very easy to get around, even if you don’t have a car.


What US state is closest to the size of Scotland?

South Carolina is the US state that’s closest in terms of land area to Scotland, at 32,020 square miles to Scotland’s 30,900. Both regions have a similar geographical footprint, although they differ in terms of topography and culture.

What is the comparative size of Scotland?

Scotland covers roughly 30,090 square miles (or about 80,031 square kilometres). When comparing this to the entire US, it’s smaller than most individual states but is comparable in size to states like Maine or South Carolina. 

Is Scotland as big as Texas?

No, Scotland is significantly smaller than Texas. While Scotland occupies around 30,090 square miles, Texas spans an expansive area of approximately 268,596 square miles.

Is Wales or Scotland bigger?

In terms of land area, Scotland is larger than Wales. Wales covers roughly 8,000 square miles, about a quarter of the size of Scotland.

Which US states are bigger than the UK?

Several US states are larger in land area than the entire United Kingdom (which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). These states include, but are not limited to, Texas, California, Montana, and Alaska.

Is Scotland bigger than England in area?

No, England is larger in terms of land area. While Scotland is a little over 30,000 square miles, England covers an area of about 50,300 square miles.

How does Scotland’s population compare to that of US states?

Scotland has a population just over 5 million, compared to America’s almost 332 million. Some individual states with similar populations include Colorado, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Is Scotland larger than Wales or Northern Ireland?

Yes, in terms of land area, Scotland is larger than both Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s the second-largest country in the UK, behind England.

What’s the largest city in Scotland by area and population?

Glasgow is the largest city in terms of population (almost 1.7 million) and area (the Greater Glasgow Urban Area covers 142.27 square miles, or 368 square kilometres). Comparable areas in the US are Las Vegas (141.8 square miles, 367 square kilometres) or Detroit (138.7 miles, 359 square kilometres).

How does Scotland’s economy compare in size to US states?

Scotland’s economy, while smaller than many US states due to its smaller population and land area, is robust and diverse, with significant contributions from sectors like oil and gas, whisky, tourism, and finance.

How does the size of Scotland’s largest lake compare to US lakes?

Loch Lomond is Scotland’s largest lake by surface area (27 square miles, 71 square kilometres). While it’s significant in UK terms, it’s very much smaller than many of the US’s Great Lakes. Lake Superior covers an area of 31,700 square miles, or 82,170 square kilometers.

Owner and author at Scotland in a Week, born and raised in Scotland. Emily has travelled extensively across the country and is eager to share her knowledge with everyone planning a trip to this magical country.

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