According to the United Nations, the northern region of Africa includes eight countries; the largest of these by land area are Algeria, Sudan and Libya. The other countries included by the United Nations as part of northern Africa are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Western Sahara and South Sudan.
Population counts change regularly. As of May 2015, the three largest countries in the northern region of Africa by population are Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. The three smallest by population are Western Sahara, Libya and Tunisia.
Northern Africa is separated from the rest of Africa by the Sahara Desert. All countries not considered part of northern Africa are collectively referred to as sub-Saharan Africa.
According to The World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency, Western Sahara is a disputed territory with its legal status unresolved. The Polisario Front, the recognized representative of Western Sahara, has declared Western Sahara a republic with a government-in-exile. The government-in-exile is based in refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria and led by President Mohamed Abdelaziz.
The Moroccan government claims that the territory of Western Sahara is under Moroccan sovereignty, but the United Nations considers Western Sahara to be a non-self-governing territory rather than a country. The sovereignty of Western Sahara has been disputed since 1976.