The world’s military spending is a subject of intense debate, especially in the context of global warming. Some will argue that the vast majority of military budgets are spent on maintaining peace and security in our increasingly fragile world. Others will say that there’s no point in spending money on weapons when we could be using it to solve real problems like poverty and disease. One thing is certain: there are some very powerful militaries out there! We’ve compiled a list below of how much each country spends on defense annually to give you an idea of where your tax dollars go when they’re not being spent on roads or schools or other useful things—and who might be threatening our freedom if we let ourselves get too distracted from what’s really important.
The United States spends the most on military defense, followed by China and then Saudi Arabia. The United States spends more than all other countries combined. It also spends more than the next 10 countries combined and even more than Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and India combined.
China is the world’s second largest military spender, accounting for 13% of the global total. In 2016, China’s military budget increased by 7.6%, reaching $230 billion. This amounts to an increase of $24 billion from 2015 and is more than three times what India spends on its armed forces each year (around $60 billion).
Russia’s military budget is the ninth largest in the world, with a total of $82.6 billion for 2017. The country has a total of 1.5 million active personnel in its armed forces, including 2,000 strategic nuclear warheads and 1,800 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Russia has 845 combat aircraft and 880 helicopters at its disposal.
Military defense spending by country. The US spent $761.6 billion on defense in 2019 and is followed by China and Russia. China spent $230 billion on military defense in 2019 and Russia spent $71 billion. The highest spending country in Africa is Algeria, which spends over 9% of its GDP on its military budget each year at around $7 billion per year, while South Africa only spends 1% of its GDP or about $1 billion annually on its armed forces. The world’s military budget is still a massive amount of money, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. With so much money being spent on defense, it may be time for countries like Russia or China to consider finding other ways of ensuring their safety from threats such as terrorism or nuclear warfare (e.g. diplomacy).