20+ Difference between Island and Continent (Explained)

It is common knowledge that the Earth’s surface is covered in 75% water and 25% land. Therefore, various landforms are present on the Earth.

A landform can be defined as a geographical feature that forms a significant part of the Earth’s terrain. One can distinguish different landforms based on their structure and their formation.

A small piece of land mass that is surrounded by water bodies on all sides is known as an “island.”

A continent might be surrounded by oceans and seas as well. However, they are too large to be classified as an island.

Comparison Between Island And Continent

DefinitionAn island is a very small piece of land that is surrounded by water bodies on its sides.A continent is a large surface that can be regarded as a collective region.
Number of islands presentThere are millions of islands on the earth’s surface.There are only seven continents on Earth.
SizeIslands can be tiny as well as large. Continents are extremely vast and form the biggest forms of landforms.
AccommodationNot only islands are habitable. Additionally, these small landmasses can only accommodate a smaller group of people.In a continent, many people coexist within lawful, distinguished boundaries.
Relation with tectonic platesIslands are scattered over various plates or sometimes in between them.Being a huge land mass, a continent generally occupies large portions of the tectonic plates.
Lifestyle and CultureSince islands contain smaller sections of the population, inhabitants’ overall lifestyles and cultures are similar.A huge number of people inhabit the continents. Different people belonging to different countries have dissimilar lifestyles and cultures.
Results after calamitiesDisastrous calamities, particularly tsunamis, might result in the disappearance of islands. Typically, the smaller islands can suffer from this fate.Owing to its massive size, a natural calamity cannot be successful in complete destruction of a continent. 
Natural or artificialAlthough most islands are natural, several of them have been created by man for recreational purposes.It is not possible to manually build a continent.
ClimateThe climate, temperate, and other geographical factors are consistent throughout the island.Geographical factors like climate, temperate, and rainfall in one particular part of the continent can be different from another location in the same continent. 
comparison between island and continent

The Major Difference Between Island And Continent

What is an Island?

An island is a piece of a subcontinent surrounded by a body of water, such as the Ocean and seas. Occasionally, islands might also be encircled by large lakes. Islets or Skerries are tiny islands built on emerging land or atolls.

An Eyot is an island produced in a river or colossal lake, whereas a Holm is an island off the shore. An “archipelago” refers to a collection of geographically connected islands.

Key Difference: Island

  • An island is a tiny landmass covered by water on all sides.
  • The term “island” originates from the English word “ing.”
  • An island has a small population density.
  • The culture and tradition of inhabitants are overall similar.
features of island

What is a Continent?

The term “continent” refers to a massive landmass that is constructed from several significantly smaller landmasses that make it up. A continent is an enormous land mass geographically isolated from all other continents by sea.

The only thing that separates these continents from one another is the physical borders that confine these land masses to a specific region.

Key Difference: Continent

  • Continents refer to large land masses collectively considered to be a single unit.
  • The term “continent” derives from the Latin “continental land.”
  • A continent has a very high population density.
  • The cultures and traditions of people are vastly different from each other.
features of continent

Contrast Between Island And Continent


  • Island- An island is a small piece of land surrounded by water bodies on all sides. They can be surrounded by oceans, seas, or sometimes big lakes.
  • Continent- A continent is a large mass of land that can be considered a collective landmass. Often, two continents are separated by a geographical barrier.


  • Island- The term “island” has been derived from the ancient English word “ieg.”
  • Continent- The name “continent” has been derived from the Latin word “Continent land,” which means “connected land.”


  • Island- Islands are of varying sizes. However, all islands are much smaller than continents. 
  • Continent- All continents are much more prominent in comparison to islands. 


  • Island- Small islands can accommodate only a smaller number of people. Furthermore, the flora and fauna of an island are not very diverse. Finally, it is to be noted that all islands are not inhabitable. 
  • Continent- A continent can accommodate a large number of people. Also, flora and fauna found in various parts of a continent are mainly different from each other. 


  • Island: Being a smaller region, an island’s overall climate and temperature are the same. 
  • Continent- The climate, temperature, and rainfall experienced by different parts of a continent are entirely different. 

Natural or artificial:

  • Island- Most islands found today are natural. However, artificial islands have been constructed as well for recreation.
  • Continent- Creating a continent artificially is not possible.


  • Island- There are millions of islands present all over the world.
  • Continent- There are only seven continents: Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the most significant island?

Greenland is the most significant island in the world, with an area of around 2.1 million square km.

Q2. Can islands be made artificially?

Modern technology and resources have allowed the construction of artificial islands. The primary purpose of such islands is recreation and entertainment.  

Q3. What are the seven continents?

The seven continents are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and Europe.

Q4. What is the largest and smallest continent?

The largest continent is Asia and the smallest in Australia.

Q5. Is an island part of a continent?

Yes, all islands are part of a continent. Therefore, while considering a particular continent, all of the islands associated with it are included.

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