Special Report

Countries With the Largest Militaries


To determine the countries with the largest militaries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed World Bank data on military personnel from 2019, the most recent year of available data. Personnel counts include active-duty military personnel as well as paramilitary personnel. 

Annual military expenditure in current U.S. dollars in 2020 are from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Military expenditure covers the expenditures on current military forces and activities, including salaries and benefits, operational expenses, arms and equipment purchases, military construction, research and development, central administration, command, and support. Supplemental data on military expenditure and military expenditure as a percentage of GDP, and military expenditure per capita also came from SIPRI. Population data for 2020 came from the World Bank.

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