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Countries With the Biggest Militaries In the World

24/7 Wall St. Logo By Angelo Young of 24/7 Wall St. | Slide 1 of 21: Global military spending is booming once again following a period of tepid growth in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2009. The world's military expenditures rose to $1.82 trillion in 2018, a 2.6% increase from 2017, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI. This is the highest level of spending since consistent global data became available in 1988, representing 2.1% of global gross domestic product, or $239 per person.
Military spending was far from even among the world's countries. Sixty percent of 2018 military spending originated in one of the countries spending the most on war: the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India, and France, according to SIPRI. But military spending does not necessarily indicate the size of a country's military. 
To identify the countries with the biggest armies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of personnel in the armed forces as well as the 10-year percentage growth in armed personnel from 2007-2017 from the World Bank’s  “World Development Indicators Database”

While France and Saudi Arabia -- the latter of which is among the nations increasing their weapons stockpiles the fastest -- are big spenders, the size of their armed forces (in terms of number of personnel) does not even make it into the top 20. The United States, the world’s biggest spender, has reduced its military personnel over the past decade as it deescalates its military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Global military spending is booming once again following a period of tepid growth in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2009. The world's military expenditures rose to $1.82 trillion in 2018, a 2.6% increase from 2017, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI. This is the highest level of spending since consistent global data became available in 1988, representing 2.1% of global gross domestic product, or $239 per person.

Military spending was far from even among the world's countries. Sixty percent of 2018 military spending originated in one of the countries spending the most on war: the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India, and France, according to SIPRI. But military spending does not necessarily indicate the size of a country's military.

To identify the countries with the biggest armies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of personnel in the armed forces as well as the 10-year percentage growth in armed personnel from 2007-2017 from the World Bank’s  “World Development Indicators Database” While France and Saudi Arabia -- the latter of which is among the nations increasing their weapons stockpiles the fastest -- are big spenders, the size of their armed forces (in terms of number of personnel) does not even make it into the top 20. The United States, the world’s biggest spender, has reduced its military personnel over the past decade as it deescalates its military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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