Which countries have the best military

Which country has the most soldiers? The ranking of the largest and most expensive armies in the world in 2021

Düsseldorf 2020, military spending increased worldwide despite the corona crisis. This is shown by the data from the Stockholm peace research institute Sipri. According to this, states have, adjusted for inflation, spent 2.6 percent more, specifically 1.981 trillion dollars (around 1.65 trillion euros), on their armed forces. That is a high since comparable estimates began in 1988.

In terms of percentage, Germany grew faster than any other top ten country. Now it has to be seen whether the countries would maintain this level of expenditure in the second year of the pandemic.

But which country spent the most in 2021? And where are the armed forces greatest? An overview.

These armies will have the largest number of soldiers in the world in 2021

To compare the size and strength of armies in different states, troop strength is one of several indicators. It shows how many people are in the military. The number of soldiers can provide a rough guide to the military's clout. However, it says little about the technical and financial resources.

The number of troops in the world's largest armies in 2021 will be Global Firepower used. Global Firepower collects and evaluates analytical representations of data since 2006 on the 140 modern military powers. The numbers in this ranking apply to the year 2021 and are continuously updated. If no official figures are available, these are estimates based on previous years.

Ranking: The troop strength of the world's largest armies in 2021

placecountryTroop strengthShare in the population
(rounded)
1.China2,185,000 soldiers0.15 percent
2.India1,445,000 soldiers0.1 percent
3.United States1,400,000 soldiers0.4 percent
4.North Korea1,300,000 soldiers5.0 percent
5.Russia1,014,000 soldiers0.7 percent
6.Pakistan654,000 soldiers0.3 percent
7.South Korea600,000 soldiers1.2 percent
8.Iran525,000 soldiers0.6 percent
9.Vietnam482,500 soldiers0.5 percent
10.Saudi Arabia480,000 soldiers1.4 percent

The armies of China, India and the USA are the largest in the world. With regard to the proportion of soldiers in the total population, three other countries stand out: Saudi Arabia, South Korea and North Korea. Measured in terms of the total population, these three countries have the largest armed forces and are also located in regions of conflict.

However, as the example of North Korea in particular shows, the troop strength and financial resources of an army can be very different. Because only six countries from this ranking are among the 15 countries with the highest military spending in the world.

To compare the number of troops: With currently 185,000 soldiers, Germany is in 30th place in the ranking of the largest armies in the world. In the Federal Republic of Germany about 0.2 percent of the population belong to the Bundeswehr. In terms of military spending, however, the Federal Republic of Germany is among the top ten.

Military budget: These countries have the highest spending on their military

In order to compare the technical and financial resources of different militaries, the military expenditure is the most important factor. The Stockholm peace research institute Sipri publishes figures on this every year. The most recent ones appeared at the end of April 2021 for the year 2020. In order to put the expenditure in relation to the economic strength of the countries, the share of the gross domestic product is also given.

Ranking: The 15 countries with the highest military spending in the table

placecountryMilitary spendingShare of GDP
1.United States$ 766.6 billion3.7 percent
2.China$ 245 billion1.7 percent
3.India$ 73 billion2.9 percent
4.Russia$ 66.8 billion4.3 percent
5.Great Britain$ 58.5 billion2.5 percent
6.Saudi Arabia$ 55.5 billion8.4 percent
7.France$ 51.6 billion2.1 percent
8.Germany$ 51.6 billion1.3 percent
9.Japan$ 48.2 billion1.0 percent
10.South Korea$ 46.1 billion2.8 percent
11.Italy$ 28.4 billion1.6 percent
12.Australia$ 27.6 billion2.1 percent
13.Brazil$ 25.1 billion1.4 percent
14.Canada$ 22.9 billion1.4 percent
15.Israel$ 21.1 billion5.6 percent
A total of:$ 1,588 billion

Which country spends the most on the military in the world?

The country with the highest military spending in 2021 is the USA, followed by the People's Republic of China. The USA and China are well ahead of the other 13 countries in this ranking. There are a total of six NATO members in the list. Of these six countries, only the USA, Great Britain and France comply with the NATO guidelines. This states that the NATO countries must invest at least two percent of their GDP in the military. For comparison: the US spends around six percent of GDP on education.

The GDP comparison also shows that the USA and China have the largest military budgets in nominal terms. But Israel with 5.6 percent and Saudi Arabia with 8.4 percent spend significantly more money on their armed forces when measured against their economic strength.

More:US military: US will not decide whether to withdraw troops from Germany until summer