Military Size by Country 2022

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A country’s military is one of its most important assets. The military works for the government and is tasked with enforcing domestic and foreign policies and protecting that country's citizens. Some nations have mandatory military service in which every citizen must serve for at least a certain number of years.

Factors to consider when evaluating a country's military strength

There are several crucial factors to consider when analyzing the strength of a nation’s military. The capability and availability of equipment (vehicles, weaponry, communications gear, etc.) is essential. The quality of training each soldier receives is vital. Their commanders' ability to consistently devise effective tactical strategies can be pivotal. But one of the most fundamental measures of a country's military strength is the number of soldiers it can deploy.

The list of countries that boast the highest total (active duty, reserves, and paramilitary) number of members in the military may be surprising to some readers. However, it is vital to also keep in mind servicepeople are usually divided into three categories: soldiers on active duty, reserves, or paramilitary members.

  • Soldiers on active duty — Soliders who work for the military full time, often live on base, and may be deployed at any time.
  • Reservists — Soldiers who typically serve part time and join the reserves—such as the Army Reserve or National Guard—to make extra money, get tuition bonuses at college/university, or take advantage of other perks without devoting themselves full time to the military.
  • Paramilitary members — Servicepeople who belong to organizations such as Canada’s Canadian Rangers or France's National Gendarmerie, which are military-like, but not formally part of the armed forces.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Total Number of Military Personnel (in members):

Rank Country Total Personnel Total (Per 1000 Capita) Active (Per 1000 Capita)
1 Vietnam 10,522,000 108.4 5
2 North Korea 7,769,000 306.1 50.4
3 South Korea 6,712,500 130.5 11.6
4 India 5,137,500 4 1.1
5 China 4,015,000 2.9 1.6
6 Russia 3,568,000 25.1 7.1
7 United States 2,133,050 6.5 4.2
8 Brazil 2,101,500 10.1 1.8
9 Taiwan 1,831,800 77.8 6.9
10 Pakistan 1,495,000 7.2 3.1

North Korea dominates the list in terms of military members per capita, with 306.1 total members and 50.4 active members per capita. For comparison, the next closest countries in those categories are South Korea with 130.5 total per capita and Eritrea with 33.8 total active members per capita. However, these numbers can be deceiving, as the overwhelming majority of soldiers in Vietnam, North Korea, and South Korea are reserves or paramilitary, not active duty. In terms of the total number of active military members, there are eight nations with active militaries exceeding 500,000 soldiers:

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Active-Duty Military Personnel (in members):

  1. China: 2,185,000
  2. India: 1,455,550
  3. United States: 1,388,100
  4. North Korea: 1,280,000
  5. Russia: 1,014,000
  6. Pakistan: 654,000
  7. Iran: 610,000
  8. South Korea: 599,000
  9. Vietnam: 482,000
  10. Egypt: 438,500

It is noteworthy that the world's three most populous countries also have the three largest standing armies, and in the same order. China's massive force is the largest, followed by India and the United States. While the United States has the third-highest population in total, the third-highest number of active military members, and the fourth-highest number of military members overall, it has the highest military spending of any country in the world. Once reserve members are added in, Vietnam's military becomes the largest, with roughly 5 million people in its reserves. The Republic of Korea also has 3.1 million members in its military reserves.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Active-Duty and Reserve Military Personnel (in members):

  1. Vietnam: 5,482,000
  2. South Korea: 3,699,000
  3. China: 3,355,000
  4. Russian Federation: 3,014,000
  5. India: 2,610,550
  6. United States: 2,233,050
  7. North Korea: 1,880,000
  8. Taiwan: 1,820,000
  9. Brazil: 1,706,500
  10. Pakistan: 1,204,000

Looking strictly at each nation's paramilitary capabilities, the ranking again changes. The nation with the largest paramilitary is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), which has over 5.889 million members. Conversely, the United States does not count paramilitary organizations as part of its available military (though some, such as the Civil Air Patrol, are considered auxiliaries), so its paramilitary officially has zero members.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Paramilitary Personnel (in members):

  1. North Korea: 5,889,000
  2. Vietnam: 5,000,000
  3. South Korea: 3,013,500
  4. India: 2,526,950
  5. Cuba: 1,146,500
  6. China: 660,000
  7. Russia: 554,000
  8. Egypt: 397,000
  9. Brazil: 395,000
  10. Pakistan: 291,000

On the other side of the coin, some nations have no active military members, or their militaries are minimal. The following six nations have no active members of the military: Costa Rica, Iceland, Libya, Marutius, Palestine, and Panama. For a full table of countries and their military headcounts, see below.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Active-Duty Military Personnel (in members):

  1. China - 2.2M
  2. India - 1.5M
  3. United States - 1.4M
  4. North Korea - 1.3M
  5. Russia - 1M
  6. Pakistan - 654K
  7. Iran - 610K
  8. South Korea - 599K
  9. Vietnam - 482K
  10. Egypt - 438.5K

Military Size by Country 2022

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Military Size by Country 2022

Country Active Duty Paramilitary Reserves Total Personnel 2022 Population
China2.2M660K1.2M4M1,425,887,337
India1.5M2.5M1.2M5.1M1,417,173,173
United States1.4M0845K2.2M338,289,857
North Korea1.3M5.9M600K7.8M26,069,416
Russia1M554K2M3.6M144,713,314
Pakistan654K291K550K1.5M235,824,862
Iran610K40K350K1M88,550,570
South Korea599K3M3.1M6.7M51,815,810
Vietnam482K5M5M10.5M98,186,856
Egypt438.5K397K479K1.3M110,990,103
Myanmar406K107K0513K54,179,306
Indonesia395.5K280K400K1.1M275,501,339
Brazil366.5K395K1.3M2.1M215,313,498
Thailand360.9K138.7K200K699.5K71,697,030
Turkey355.2K156.8K378.7K890.7K85,341,241
Colombia293.2K187.9K35K516K51,874,024
Sri Lanka255K92.6K5.5K353.1K21,832,143
Japan247.2K14.3K56K317.5K123,951,692
Saudi Arabia227K24.5K0251.5K36,408,820
Mexico216K111.9K81.5K409.4K127,504,125
Ukraine209K102K900K1.2M39,701,739
France203.3K130.8K41K375.1K64,626,628
Eritrea201.8K0120K321.8K3,684,032
Morocco195.8K50K150K395.8K37,457,971
Iraq193K148K0341K44,496,122
South Sudan185K00185K10,913,164
Germany183.5K030.1K213.6K83,369,843
Afghanistan178.8K99K0277.8K41,128,771
Israel169.5K8K465K642.5K9,038,309
Syria169K100K0269K22,125,249
Italy165.5K175.8K18.3K359.6K59,037,474
Bangladesh163.1K63.9K0226.9K171,186,372
Taiwan163K11.8K1.7M1.8M23,893,394
United Kingdom148.5K078.6K227.1K67,508,936
Philippines143.1K62.3K131K336.4K115,559,009
Nigeria143K80K0223K218,541,212
Greece142.7K4K221.3K368.1K10,384,971
Ethiopia138K00138K123,379,924
DR Congo134.3K00134.3K99,010,212
Algeria130K187.2K150K467.2K44,903,225
Azerbaijan127K15K330K471.9K10,358,074
Cambodia124.3K67K0191.3K16,767,842
Venezuela123K220K8K351K28,301,696
Spain120.3K75.8K15.2K211.3K47,558,630
Poland114K75.4K0189.4K39,857,145
Malaysia113K267.2K51.6K431.8K33,938,221
Angola107K10K0117K35,588,987
Sudan104.3K105K0209.3K46,874,204
Jordan100.5K15K65K180.5K11,285,869
Nepal96.6K15K0111.6K30,547,580
Peru81K77K188K346K34,049,588
Chile77.2K44.7K40K161.9K19,603,733
Argentina72.1K31.3K0103.3K45,510,318
Romania69.3K57K50K176.3K19,659,267
Canada67.4K4.5K35.6K107.5K38,454,327
South Africa65.3K015.1K80.4K59,893,885
United Arab Emirates63K0063K9,441,129
Lebanon60K20K080K5,489,739
Australia58.6K030.1K88.7K26,177,413
Dominican Republic56K15K071K11,228,821
Singapore51K7.4K252.5K310.9K5,975,689
Cuba49K1.1M39K1.2M11,212,191
Uzbekistan48K20K068K34,627,652
Belarus45.4K110K289.5K444.9K9,534,954
Uganda45K1.4K10K56.4K47,249,585
Armenia44.8K4.3K210K259.1K2,780,469
Oman42.6K4.4K047K4,576,298
Ecuador40.3K500118K158.8K18,001,000
Yemen40K0040K33,696,614
Kazakhstan39K31.5K070.5K19,397,998
Bulgaria37K03K40K6,781,953
Turkmenistan36.5K5K041.5K6,430,770
Tunisia35.8K12K047.8K12,356,117
Netherlands35.4K5.9K4.5K45.8K17,564,014
Bolivia34.1K37.1K071.2K12,224,110
Chad33.3K11.9K045.1K17,723,315
Rwanda33K2K035K13,776,698
Burundi30.1K21K051K12,889,576
Sweden29.8K21.2K051K10,549,347
Laos29.1K100K0129.1K7,529,475
Zimbabwe29K21.8K050.8K16,320,537
Serbia28.1K3.7K50.1K82K7,221,365
Hungary27.8K12K20K59.8K9,967,308
Ivory Coast27.4K0027.4K28,160,542
Portugal27.3K24.7K211.7K263.6K10,270,865
Tanzania27K1.4K80K108.4K65,497,748
Belgium26.3K05.1K31.4K11,655,930
Cameroon25.4K9K034.4K27,914,536
El Salvador24.5K17K9.9K51.4K6,336,392
Kenya24.1K5K029.1K54,027,487
Finland23.8K14.2K216K254K5,540,745
Norway23.3K040K63.3K5,434,319
Austria22.1K0125.6K147.7K8,939,617
Czech Republic21.8K0021.8K10,493,986
Uruguay21K1.4K022.4K3,422,794
Georgia20.6K5.4K026.1K3,744,385
Lithuania19.9K14.4K6.7K41K2,750,055
Somalia19.8K0019.8K17,597,511
Switzerland19.6K0196.4K216K8,740,472
Guatemala18.1K25K63.9K106.9K17,843,908
Kuwait17.5K7.1K23.7K48.3K4,268,873
Qatar16.5K5K021.5K2,695,122
Mauritania15.8K5K020.9K4,736,139
Slovakia15.8K0015.8K5,643,453
Ghana15.5K0015.5K33,475,870
Croatia15.2K3K18.4K36.5K4,030,358
Zambia15.1K1.4K3K19.5K20,017,675
Cyprus15K75050K65.8K1,251,488
Honduras14.9K8K60K83K10,432,860
Denmark14.5K044K58.5K5,882,261
Paraguay13.9K14.8K164.5K193.3K6,780,744
Senegal13.6K5K018.6K17,316,449
Madagascar13.5K8.1K021.6K29,611,714
Mali13K7.8K020.8K22,593,590
Nicaragua12K0012K6,948,392
Burkina Faso11.2K250011.4K22,673,762
Mozambique11.2K0011.2K32,969,518
Kyrgyzstan10.9K9.5K020.4K6,630,623
Malawi10.7K4.2K014.9K20,405,317
Bosnia and Herzegovina10.5K0010.5K3,233,526
Djibouti10.4K2.6K013.1K1,120,849
Republic of the Congo10K2K012K5,970,424
Namibia9.9K6K015.9K2,567,012
Mongolia9.7K7.5K137K154.2K3,398,366
Guinea9.7K2.6K012.3K13,859,341
Ireland9.5K04K13.6K5,023,109
Central African Republic9.2K1K010.2K5,579,144
New Zealand9K02.3K11.3K5,185,288
Botswana9K009K2,630,296
Tajikistan8.8K7.5K016.3K9,952,787
Togo8.6K75009.3K8,848,699
Sierra Leone8.5K008.5K8,605,718
Bahrain8.2K11.3K019.5K1,472,233
North Macedonia8K7.6K4.8K20.4K2,093,599
Albania8K008K2,842,321
Slovenia7.3K6K1.5K14.7K2,119,844
Benin7.3K4.8K012.1K13,352,864
Brunei7.2K4507008.3K449,002
Estonia7.1K017.5K24.6K1,326,062
Latvia6.2K015.9K22.1K1,850,651
Niger5.3K5.4K010.7K26,207,977
Moldova5.2K90058K64K3,272,996
Gabon4.7K2K06.7K2,388,992
Guinea Bissau4.5K004.5K2,105,566
Trinidad and Tobago4K004K1,531,044
Jamaica4K09804.9K2,827,377
Papua New Guinea3.6K003.6K10,142,619
Fiji3.5K06K9.5K929,766
Guyana3.4K06704.1K808,726
Montenegro2.4K10.1K012.4K627,082
Liberia2K002K5,302,681
Lesotho2K002K2,305,825
Malta1.9K01802.1K533,286
Suriname1.8K001.8K618,040
Belize1.5K1507002.4K405,272
Equatorial Guinea1.4K001.4K1,674,908
Bahamas1.3K001.3K409,984
Cape Verde1.2K001.2K593,149
Luxembourg90060001.5K647,599
Gambia800008002,705,992
Barbados61004301K281,635
Seychelles42000420107,118
Antigua and Barbuda18008026093,763
Haiti15050020011,584,996
Panama026K026K4,408,581
Costa Rica09.8K09.8K5,180,829
Mauritius02.5K02.5K1,299,469
Iceland02500250372,899

Military Size by Country 2022

Sources