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The Countries With Skyrocketing Military Spending: See Where the US Ranks

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World military spending increased by 3.7% last year, according to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released earlier this year. The arms control and disarmament research organization noted that by far the largest driver of the global increase was the escalation of tensions in Europe, the result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. For comparison, arms spending increased 0.7% in 2021

Among European nations, military spending rose by 13% last year alone, the greatest increase in weapons spending in the region since the end of the Cold War. 

The war between Russia and Ukraine has caused both Russia and Ukraine’s allies in NATO and elsewhere to dramatically ramp up military spending. NATO’s latest annual budget, approved at the end of last year, represented a 25.8% annual increase in military spending. But there are a number of nations outside of Europe dramatically increasing spending as well. (Also, comparing Russia and NATO’s military strength.)

To determine the world military powers ramping up military spending the most, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the latest data on military expenditure from SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Database. Of the 40 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2022, 24/7 Wall St. ranked the 27 nations that increased military expenditure from 2021 to 2022. 

Out of  27 countries on this list, 12 are members of NATO. Notably, Belgium, Netherlands, and Poland — which is Ukraine’s closest European neighbor and a country worried where Russia might go next — increased military spending by more than 10% last year. Also on this list are Russia, which increased spending by 9.2%, and Ukraine, which unsurprisingly reported the largest increase in military spending in both percentage and dollar terms. 

In 2021, SIPRI estimated that Ukraine spent $5.9 billion on its military. Last year, that figure increased to $44.0 billion, a 640% increase – the highest ever recorded by a single country since SIPRI began tracking military budget data. That increase of roughly $38 billion was easily more than three times that of the nation with the second-largest increase, China. China, a nation with 30 times more people than Ukraine’s, spent 47 times Ukraine’s military budget in 2020. By 2022, Ukraine’s weapons spending ballooned to one-sixth that of the Chinese military budget, and a little more than half of Russia’s. (See also: Comparing Russian and Ukrainian weapons and vehicle losses in the war so far.)

The U.S. military budget increased by a relatively modest 0.7%, less on a percentage basis than its main rivals, Russia and China (+4.2%). Still, the U.S. remains by far the largest military power on Earth, and with a $877 billion military budget, the U.S. spends more than twice the combined military spending of Russia and China in 2022. (See: the size of the U.S. military every year since the Korean War.)

Click here to see nations ramping up military spending the most.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

27. Australia
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.3%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $32.3 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +47.0% (#9 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.9% (#19 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#22 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 26.1 million (#54 largest out of 237
> Region: Australia and Oceania

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25. Taiwan
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.4%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $12.5 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +14.0% (#31 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#24 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.9% (#17 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 23.6 million (#57 largest out of 237
> Region: East and Southeast Asia

25. Switzerland
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.4%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $6.1 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +22.0% (#24 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 0.8% (#38 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 0.7% (#38 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 8.5 million (#101 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

23. France
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.6%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $53.6 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +15.0% (#28 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.9% (#19 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.8% (#19 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 68.3 million (#21 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

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23. Greece
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.6%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $8.1 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +69.0% (#4 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.7% (#9 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.4% (#12 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 10.5 million (#88 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

22. United States
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +0.7%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $877.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +2.7% (#35 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.5% (#10 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 4.0% (#5 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 337.3 million (#3 largest out of 237
> Region: North America

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21. Colombia
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +1.1%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $9.9 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +20.0% (#26 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.1% (#11 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.3% (#8 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 49.1 million (#29 largest out of 237
> Region: South America

20. Indonesia
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +1.3%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $9.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +8.6% (#33 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 0.7% (#39 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 0.9% (#36 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 277.3 million (#4 largest out of 237
> Region: East and Southeast Asia

19. Germany
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +2.3%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $55.8 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +33.0% (#17 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.4% (#29 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.2% (#30 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 84.3 million (#18 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

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18. Singapore
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +2.8%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $11.7 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +26.0% (#20 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.8% (#12 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.0% (#10 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 5.9 million (#113 largest out of 237
> Region: East and Southeast Asia

17. Canada
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +3.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $26.9 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +49.0% (#8 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.2% (#32 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.0% (#34 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 38.2 million (#38 largest out of 237
> Region: North America

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16. United Kingdom
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +3.7%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $68.5 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +9.7% (#32 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.2% (#18 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.3% (#13 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 67.8 million (#22 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

15. China
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +4.2%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $292.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +63.0% (#5 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#24 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.7% (#21 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 1.4 billion (#1 largest out of 237
> Region: East and Southeast Asia

14. Iran
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +4.6%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $6.8 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +27.0% (#19 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.6% (#14 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.2% (#14 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 86.8 million (#17 largest out of 237
> Region: Middle East

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13. Japan
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +5.9%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $46.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +18.0% (#27 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.1% (#36 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 0.9% (#36 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 124.2 million (#11 largest out of 237
> Region: East and Southeast Asia

12. India
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +6.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $81.4 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +47.0% (#9 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.4% (#16 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.5% (#11 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 1.4 billion (#2 largest out of 237
> Region: South Asia

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11. Norway
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +6.2%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $8.4 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +46.0% (#11 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#24 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.4% (#24 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 5.6 million (#117 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

10. Spain
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +7.3%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $20.3 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +28.0% (#18 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.5% (#28 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.3% (#27 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 47.2 million (#31 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

9. Denmark
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +8.8%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $5.5 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +43.0% (#13 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.4% (#29 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.2% (#30 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 5.9 million (#114 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

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8. Russia
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +9.2%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $86.4 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +15.0% (#28 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 4.1% (#8 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 3.9% (#6 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 142.0 million (#9 largest out of 237
> Region: Central Asia

7. Poland
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +11.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $16.6 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +95.0% (#3 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 2.4% (#16 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.8% (#19 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 38.1 million (#39 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

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5. Netherlands
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +12.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $15.6 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +53.0% (#7 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#24 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.2% (#30 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 17.4 million (#70 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

5. Sweden
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +12.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $7.7 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +57.0% (#6 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.3% (#31 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.1% (#33 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 10.5 million (#89 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

4. Belgium
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +13.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $6.9 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +34.0% (#16 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.2% (#32 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.0% (#34 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 11.8 million (#81 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

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3. Saudi Arabia
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +16.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $75.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: -2.7% (#3 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 7.4% (#2 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 9.0% (#2 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 35.4 million (#41 largest out of 237
> Region: Middle East

2. Qatar
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +27.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $15.4 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: Not available
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 7.0% (#3 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: Not available
> Population, 2022: 2.5 million (#143 largest out of 237
> Region: Middle East

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1. Ukraine
> Change in military spending, 2021-2022: +640.0%
> Military expenditure, 2022: $44.0 billion
> Change in military spending, 2013-2022: +1661.0% (#1 largest increase out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2022 military spending as a share of GDP: 34.0% (#1 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> 2013 military spending as a share of GDP: 1.6% (#22 most out of 40 biggest military spenders)
> Population, 2022: 43.5 million (#35 largest out of 237
> Region: Europe

Methodology’

To determine the countries with the fastest growing military expenditure, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed historical data on military expenditure from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Military Expenditure Database. The 40 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2022 were ranked based on change in military expenditure from 2021 to 2022 and only the 27 countries that increased military spending are included. Data is in constant 2021 dollars. Data on military expenditure as percentage of government spending also came from SIPRI. 

Population figures come from the CIA World Factbook and are 2022 estimates. SIPRI notes that some values for certain nations are estimates, including the spending as a percent of GDP in Ukraine and all the spending figures for China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. It should be noted also that estimates for 2021 military spending figures are based on a calculation of published SIPRI 2022 military budget and change figures and may differ slightly from SIPRI’s 2021 published figures due to rounding. 

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