The 50 countries with the largest armed forces on earth

By | October 20, 2021

Once a year, the renowned Stockholm peace research institute SIPRI publishes an overview of all countries that invest the most money in their military. While Russia has held a top position for a long time in recent years, the superpower falls significantly behind in last year’s ranking. But which countries currently dominate the top 50 of the country comparison with the largest military forces?┬áSee for 10 largest countries in the world.

Ranking of the 50 countries with the largest armed forces

Rank Country Armed forces
1 China, People’s Republic (Asia) 2,190,000
2 United States of America (North America) 1,429,000
3 India (Asia) 1,360,000
4 Russia (Europe) 1,216,000
5 Korea, Democratic People’s Republic (Asia) 1,082,000
6 Korea, Republic of (Asia) 692,000
7 Pakistan (Asia) 620,000
8 Iran (Asia) 570,000
9 Turkey (Asia) 515,000
10 Myanmar (Asia) 494,000
11 Vietnam (Asia) 484,000
12 Egypt (Africa) 470,000
13 Syria, Arab Republic (Asia) 317,000
14 Thailand (Asia) 317,000
15 Indonesia (Asia) 303,000
16 Ukraine (Europe) 292,000
17 Brazil (South America) 288,000
18 Taiwan (Asia) 270,000
19 Germany (Europe) 265,000
20 France (Europe) 252,000
21 Japan (Asia) 240,000
22 Great Britain (Europe) 210,000
23 Colombia (South America) 210,000
24 Mexico (North America) 194,000
25 Morocco (Africa) 192,000
26 Italy (Europe) 190,000
27 Greece (Europe) 176,000
28 Israel (Asia) 175,000
29 Sri Lanka (Asia) 161,000
30 Poland (Europe) 160,000
31 Spain (Europe) 156,000
32 Ethiopia (Africa) 150,000
33 Eritrea (Africa) 144,000
34 Angola (Africa) 131,000
35 Algeria (Africa) 130,000
36 Saudi Arabia (Asia) 121,000
37 Cambodia (Asia) 120,000
38 Bangladesh (Asia) 110,000
39 Malaysia (Asia) 107,000
40 Philippines (Asia) 106,000
41 Jordan (Asia) 105,000
42 Sudan (Africa) 102,000
43 Peru (South America) 100,000
44 Romania (Europe) 95,000
45 Venezuela (South America) 83,000
46 Nigeria (Africa) 79,000
47 Libya (Africa) 76,000
48 Singapore (Asia) 76,000
49 Argentina (South America) 73,000
50 Lebanon (Asia) 72,000
Troop strength of the armed forces.

This country comparison takes 152 countries into account.

Armed forces statistics

feature value
Number of countries covered 152
average 130,173.03
Median 32,000
minimum 1,000
maximum 2,190,000

The United States currently has the largest armed force

The country with the largest armed force currently is the USA. Compared to 2009, the country spends up to 17 percent less money on the military today. Even so, the budget in the past was still around $ 649 billion. These expenditures correspond to around 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product. In second place is China with an estimated annual budget of $ 250 billion. With this value, the Asian country has increased its expenditure on training and maintaining the armed forces by an incredible 83 percent since 2009. According to SIPRI estimates, maintaining the military is worth around 8.8 percent of total gross domestic product to the country of Saudi Arabia. As a result, spending on military investments in Saudi Arabia has also increased significantly in recent years.

Countries like India or France occupy top places

India follows on in fourth place. The numbers speak for themselves: With an annual budget of around 66.5 billion US dollars, investments in armed forces have increased by around 29 percent since 2009. On the other hand, France currently occupies fifth place with an annual budget of 63.8 billion US dollars. This means that France ranks higher than last year. One of the biggest surprises is probably Russia. With an annual budget of 61.4 billion US dollars, the country even loses two places in the ranking. Nevertheless, the investment costs for the military have increased by around 27 percent since 2009. Countries like Great Britain, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Turkey rank next.

Tips for handling the information

A few things should be mentioned about these statistics. Many of these countries hide precise information about their troop strengths. An example of this is the country China, about which the information is based on estimates by the American secret service. Other states, however, officially publish the exact data on the armed forces. There are also some countries that have no armed forces at all or have no units that can be designated as armed forces. In particularly small countries or island states, the transition from police to military is often fluid. These countries are therefore more likely to be viewed as states without a military. In addition, the size of the defense budget should only be used as a guide. Because the defense budget often also receives money from other departments. For example, it is common for smaller countries with a weak economy to be promoted and supported by larger states with so-called military aid.

largest armed forces