Special Report

36 Nations With No Standing Military

NiseriN / Getty Images

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a conflict that many experts expected to be over in days, has now stretched on for months. The reason many pundits expected such a short conflict is the relative differences in military size between the warring nations, with Russia’s forces many times larger than that of Ukraine.  

The fact that the invasion has dragged on for so long is a reminder that a standing army may not be the only military force in a country. Ukraine’s military numbers 196,000, but many of its citizens have joined in the battle for independence.

The size of military forces generally corresponds to the population. There are a few exceptions, the most notable of which is North Korea. In the United States, less than 2% of the labor force is in the military. In North Korea, the figure comes close to 9%.

Thirty-six nations in the world have no standing militaries at all, according to the CIA World Factbook, as compiled by the World Population Review. Some of these are territories. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list, adding population figures from the World Bank.

According to World Population Review, “Countries without militaries have either been demilitarized, never established a military when the country was created, or are former colonies/dependencies of nations with militaries and are still under the protection of those countries.” 

Greenland is an example. The largest island in the world is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Another country without a military is Liechtenstein. Its population is only 39,000. It covers only 62 square miles and sits between Austria and Switzerland.

The Falkland Islands is another territory without a military. It was the site of a war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982. Currently, it is a British Overseas Territory. (Many of the countries on this list are among the world’s least populated countries. And this country has the fewest residents in the world.)

Click here to see these are the nations without a military

Source: LisaStrachan / iStock via Getty Images

36. Niue
> Population: 1,620

[in-text-ad]

Source: Adrian Wojcik / iStock via Getty Images

35. Svalbard (unincorporated region of Norway)
> Population: 2,642

Source: JeremyRichards / iStock via Getty Images

34. Falkland Islands
> Population: 3,480

Source: TheBT / iStock via Getty Images

33. Montserrat
> Population: 4,992

[in-text-ad-2]

32. Nauru
> Population: 10,834

Source: Dmitry Malov / iStock via Getty Images

31. Tuvalu
> Population: 11,792

[in-text-ad]

Source: Gerold Grotelueschen / iStock via Getty Images

30. Cook Islands
> Population: 17,565

Source: Norimoto / iStock via Getty Images

29. Palau
> Population: 18,092

Source: taratata / iStock via Getty Images

28. San Marino
> Population: 33,938

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: RossHelen / iStock via Getty Images

27. Lichtenstein
> Population: 38,137

Source: Garsya / iStock via Getty Images

26. Monaco
> Population: 39,244

[in-text-ad]

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

25. Sint Maarten
> Population: 40,812

Source: miroslav_1 / iStock via Getty Images

24. Faroe Islands
> Population: 48,865

Source: Elizabeth M. Ruggiero / iStock via Getty Images

23. Greenland
> Population: 56,367

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: KKKvintage / iStock via Getty Images

22. Marshall Islands
> Population: 59,194

Source: Blue Sky / iStock via Getty Images

21. Cayman Islands
> Population: 65,720

[in-text-ad]

Source: NAPA74 / iStock via Getty Images

20. Dominica
> Population: 71,991

Source: gbarm / iStock via Getty Images

19. Andorra
> Population: 77,265

Source: dbvirago / iStock via Getty Images

18. Aruba
> Population: 106,766

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Vadim_Nefedov / iStock via Getty Images

17. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
> Population: 110,947

Source: NAPA74 / iStock via Getty Images

16. Grenada
> Population: 112,519

[in-text-ad]

15. Federated States of Micronesia
> Population: 115,021

Source: EvaKaufman / iStock via Getty Images

14. Kiribati
> Population: 119,446

Source: Marina113 / iStock via Getty Images

13. Curacao
> Population: 155,014

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: NAPA74 / iStock via Getty Images

12. St. Lucia
> Population: 183,629

Source: mvaligursky / iStock via Getty Images

11. Samoa
> Population: 198,410

[in-text-ad]

Source: Zarnell / iStock via Getty Images

10. New Caledonia
> Population: 271,960

Source: bomboman / iStock via Getty Images

9. French Polynesia
> Population: 280,904

Source: Turbo989 / iStock via Getty Images

8. Vanuatu
> Population: 307,150

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: patpongs / iStock via Getty Images

7. Iceland
> Population: 366,425

Source: Sean3810 / iStock via Getty Images

6. Macau (China S.A.R.)
> Population: 649,342

[in-text-ad]

Source: Graeme Snow / iStock via Getty Images

5. Solomon Islands
> Population: 686,878

Source: Nuture / iStock via Getty Images

4. Mauritius
> Population: 1,265,740

Source: Scott Biales / iStock via Getty Images

3. Kosovo
> Population: 1,775,378

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Rodrigo Cuel / iStock via Getty Images

2. Panama
> Population: 4,314,768

Source: Kevin Wells / iStock via Getty Images

1. Costa Rica
> Population: 5,094,114

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.