North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all 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 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 565 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands (most notably the Caribbean) are included.
Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. The lake is shared by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north, the US state of Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the south. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world's third-largest freshwater lake by volume and the largest by volume in North America. The furthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, Superior has the highest elevation and drains into the St. Mary's River.