Military Size By Country 2021

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A country’s military is one of its most important assets. The military works for the government. It is used to enforce domestic and foreign policies and protect its citizens. Some nations have mandatory military service.

There are several different things to consider when discussing the size of a nation’s military. One of the most important is whether a person is an active military, on reserves, or part of a paramilitary. An active member is someone that works for the military full time. These servicemen may be deployed at any time. They may also live on military bases. For example, this would be someone in the Air Force or the Army in the United States.

A reservist is not full-time. These servicemembers typically hold another full-time job. Reservists may be deployed at any time and may have to attend special training and work part-time throughout the year. Many people join the reserves – such as the Army Reserve or National Guard – to make extra money, get tuition bonuses to go back to school, or take advantage of other perks without devoting themselves full time to the military.

Finally, paramilitary members are part of an organization that is similar to the military. However, these are not formally part of the armed forces. Some examples of paramilitary organizations worldwide include Canada’s Canadian Rangers of the United States Civil Air Patrol.

Now knowing the differences between these, we can explore which nations have the largest militaries. By active military members, China comes out on top with over 2 million people in this nation’s military.

There are three other nations with active militaries exceeding 1 million people. Those are India (1.395 million), the United States (1.358 million), and the Russian Federation (1.01 million). The United States has the third-highest number of active military members and the fourth-highest overall military members. The U.S. also the highest military spending of any country.

Nations with militaries exceeding 500,000 active members include:

  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: 950,000
  • Pakistan: 653,000
  • Republic of Korea: 599,000
  • Iran: 523,000

On the other side of the coin, some nations have no active military members, or their militaries are minimal. These nations have no active members of the military:

In terms of reserve members, Vietnam comes out on top. This nation has about 5 million members of its reserves. The Republic of Korea also has several million members of its military reserves – 3.1 million to be more exact. Other nations with reserve militaries with at least 1 million members include:

  • Republic of China: 2.8 million
  • Russian Federation: 2.57 million
  • India: 2.096 million
  • Iran: 1.35 million
  • Brazil: 1.34 million
  • Cuba: 1.159 million
  • Finland: 1.127 million

The nation with the largest paramilitary is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has over 5.889 million members. In the United States, there are more than 2.9 million people that work for a paramilitary organization. Iran, the Russian Federation, the Republic of China, India, the People’s Republic of China, and Cuba all have paramilitary organizations that exceed 1 million members.

When looking at the total numbers, the nation with the largest military is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has over 7 million members. The Russian Federation, Vietnam, the United States, and India also top the list with more than 5 million military members per country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also tops the list in terms of total military members per capita and active military members per capita.

Military Size By Country 2021

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Military Size By Country 2021

Country Active Military Reserve Military Paramilitary Total Military Total Military per 1,000 Active Military per 1,000 2021 Population
China2,035,000510,0001,500,0004,045,0002.901.501,444,216,107
India1,440,0002,096,0001,585,9505,121,95041.101,393,409,038
United States1,374,699845,0002,918,1615,137,86015.604.20332,915,073
Russia1,013,6282,572,5002,310,8595,896,98741.507.10145,912,025
North Korea950,000200,0005,889,0007,039,000278.8037.6025,887,041
Pakistan653,000653,0003.103.10225,199,937
South Korea599,0003,100,000900,0004,599,00089.9011.7051,305,186
Iran523,0001,350,0002,640,0004,513,000556.4085,028,759
Vietnam482,0005,000,00040,0005,522,00057.40598,168,833
Egypt438,500479,000397,0001,314,50013.504.50104,258,327
Myanmar406,000107,250513,2509.307.4054,806,012
Indonesia395,500400,000280,0001,075,5004.101.50276,361,783
Thailand360,850245,00093,700699,55010.205.3069,950,850
Turkey355,200378,700156,800890,700114.4085,042,738
Sri Lanka346,70035,90062,200444,80019.8015.5021,497,310
Brazil334,5001,340,000395,0002,069,500101.60213,993,437
Colombia293,20034,950187,900516,05010.806.1051,265,844
Mexico277,15081,50058,900417,5503.402.20130,262,216
Taiwan275,0002,800,0001,883,4504,958,450210.9011.7023,855,010
Japan247,15056,00013,740316,8902.502126,050,804
Saudi Arabia227,00024,500251,5008.807.9035,340,683
Ukraine204,000900,00088,0001,192,00027.104.6043,466,819
France202,70072,300103,400378,4005.60365,426,179
Eritrea201,750120,000321,75054.8034.403,601,467
Morocco195,800150,00050,000395,80011.605.8037,344,795
South Sudan185,000185,00014.2014.2011,381,378
Germany178,60027,900500207,0002.602.2083,900,473
Israel176,500465,0008,000649,50078.3021.308,789,774
Italy174,50018,300182,350375,15062.8060,367,477
Afghanistan174,300148,700323,0009.505.1039,835,428
Bangladesh157,05063,900220,9501.401166,303,498
United Kingdom150,25082,650232,9003.602.3068,207,116
Syria142,500150,000292,50016.207.9018,275,702
Greece141,350220,5004,000365,8503413.1010,370,744
Ethiopia138,000138,0001.301.30117,876,227
Dr Congo134,250134,2501.601.6092,377,993
Algeria130,000150,000187,200467,20011.403.2044,616,624
Philippines125,000181,00040,500346,5003.301.20111,046,913
Cambodia124,30067,000191,30011.807.7016,946,438
Venezuela123,0008,000220,000351,00011.203.9028,704,954
Spain121,20015,45076,750213,4004.402.5046,745,216
Nigeria118,00082,000200,00010.60211,400,708
Malaysia109,000296,300264,600669,90021.303.5032,776,194
Angola107,00010,000117,00043.7033,933,610
Poland105,00073,400178,4004.602.7037,797,005
Sudan104,30085,00020,000209,3005.602.8044,909,353
Jordan100,500100,00015,000215,500219.8010,269,021
Nepal96,60062,000158,6005.403.3029,674,920
Peru81,000188,00077,000346,00011.102.6033,359,418
Chile77,20040,00044,700161,9009.104.3019,212,361
Argentina74,20031,250105,4502.401.7045,605,826
Singapore72,500312,50019,900404,90068.8012.305,896,686
Romania69,30050,00079,900199,2009.303.2019,127,774
Azerbaijan66,950300,00015,000381,95038.306.7010,223,342
South Africa66,35015,05081,4001.501.2060,041,994
Iraq64,000145,000209,0005.301.6041,179,350
Canada63,00030,0004,50097,5002.701.8038,067,903
United Arab Emirates63,000180,000243,0004010.409,991,089
Lebanon60,00020,00080,00012.809.606,769,146
Australia57,80021,10078,9003.402.5025,788,215
Dominican Republic56,05015,00071,0506.605.2010,953,703
Cuba49,0001,159,0001,465,0002,673,000239.804.4011,317,505
Uzbekistan48,00020,00068,0002.301.6033,935,763
Belarus45,350289,500110,000444,85046.604.709,442,862
Uganda45,00010,0001,40056,4001.401.1047,123,531
Armenia44,800210,0004,300259,10085.1014.702,968,127
Oman42,6004,40047,00013.7012.405,223,375
Ecuador40,250118,000500158,7509.702.5017,888,475
Kazakhstan39,00031,50070,5003.802.1018,994,962
Turkmenistan36,5005,00041,5007.806.806,117,924
Hungary36,00058,00012,000106,00010.803.709,634,164
Tunisia35,80012,00047,8004.203.1011,935,766
Netherlands35,4104,6605,90045,9702.702.1017,173,099
Bolivia34,10037,10071,2006.403.1011,832,940
Finland33,4901,127,5002,7001,163,690210.906.105,548,360
Rwanda33,0002,00035,0002.902.8013,276,513
Bulgaria31,3003,00034,3004.804.406,896,663
Portugal30,500211,95044,000286,45026.402.8010,167,925
Chad30,3509,50039,8503.302.5016,914,985
Burundi30,05021,00051,0504.502.6012,255,433
Sweden29,75021,95051,7005.20310,160,169
Laos29,100100,000129,10018.104.107,379,358
Zimbabwe29,00021,80050,8003.702.1015,092,171
Belgium28,8005,00033,8002.902.5011,632,326
Serbia28,15050,1503,70082,00011.5048,697,550
Tanzania27,00080,0001,400108,40020.5061,498,437
Ivory Coast25,40025,4001.101.1027,053,629
Uruguay24,65080025,4507.607.303,485,151
El Salvador24,5009,90017,00051,4008.3046,518,499
Kenya24,1005,00029,1000.600.5054,985,698
Norway23,95038,59062,54011.804.505,465,630
Czech Republic23,20023,2002.202.2010,724,555
Austria22,400152,20025,000199,60022.802.609,043,070
Switzerland20,950218,270239,220292.508,715,494
Georgia20,6505,40026,0505.304.203,979,765
Yemen20,00020,0000.700.7030,490,640
Djibouti20,00012,00032,0003723.101,002,187
Somalia19,80019,8001.801.8016,359,504
Lithuania18,3506,70011,30036,35012.906.502,689,862
Guatemala18,05063,85025,000106,9006.901.2018,249,860
Denmark16,10045,70061,800112.905,813,298
Slovakia15,85015,8502.902.905,460,721
Mauritania15,8505,00020,8505.504.204,775,119
Croatia15,6503,00018,6504.303.604,081,651
Ghana15,50015,5000.600.6031,732,129
Kuwait15,50023,7007,10046,30016.105.404,328,550
Zambia15,1003,0001,40019,5001.200.9018,920,651
Cyprus15,00050,00075065,75053.8012.301,215,584
Honduras14,95060,0008,00082,9509.201.7010,062,991
Cameroon14,4009,00023,4000.900.6027,224,265
Senegal13,6005,00018,6001.300.9017,196,301
Madagascar13,5008,10021,6000.900.5028,427,328
Nicaragua12,00012,000226,702,385
Qatar11,8005,00016,8007.305.102,930,528
Mozambique11,20011,2000.400.4032,163,047
Burkina Faso11,20025011,4500.600.6021,497,096
Kyrgyzstan10,9009,50020,4003.501.906,628,356
Malawi10,7004,20014,9000.800.6019,647,684
Paraguay10,650164,50014,800189,95027.401.507,219,638
Bosnia And Herzegovina10,50010,5002.702.703,263,466
Mali10,0007,80017,80010.6020,855,735
Republic Of The Congo10,0002,00012,0002.4025,657,013
Ireland10,0003,48013,4802.7024,982,907
Namibia9,9006,00015,9006.4042,587,344
Guinea9,7002,60012,30010.8013,497,244
Mongolia9,700137,0007,500154,20050.303.203,329,289
New Zealand9,3002,60011,9002.501.904,860,643
Botswana9,0009,0004.104.102,397,241
Tajikistan8,8007,50016,3001.9019,749,627
Togo8,5507509,3001.201.108,478,250
Sierra Leone8,5008,5001.401.408,141,343
Bahrain8,20011,26019,46013.805.801,748,296
Albania8,0005008,5002.802.602,872,933
Benin7,2502,5009,7500.900.7012,451,040
Slovenia7,2501,7605,95014,9607.603.702,078,724
Brunei7,2007004,90012,80028.9016.20441,532
Central African Republic7,1501,0008,1501.401.304,919,981
Estonia6,60012,00015,80034,40027.505.301,325,185
Latvia5,3107,85013,1606.802.701,866,942
Niger5,3005,40010,7000.600.3025,130,817
Moldova5,15058,0002,40065,55018.901.504,024,019
Gabon4,7002,0006,7003.802.702,278,825
Guinea Bissau4,4504,4502.502.502,015,494
Trinidad And Tobago4,0504,0503.303.301,403,375
Jamaica3,9509804,9301.601.302,973,463
Papua New Guinea3,6003,6000.500.509,119,010
Fiji3,5006,0009,50010.303.80902,906
Guyana3,4006704,0705.504.60790,326
Liberia2,1002,1000.400.405,180,203
Lesotho2,0002,000112,159,079
Montenegro1,95010,10012,05018.803628,053
Malta1,9501802,1305.104.70442,784
Suriname1,8401001,9403.303.10591,800
Belize1,5007001502,3506.504.20404,914
Equatorial Guinea1,4501,4501.901.901,449,896
Timor Leste1,3301,330111,343,873
Bahamas1,3001,3003.903.90396,913
Cape Verde1,2001,2002.102.10561,898
Luxembourg9006001,5002.501.50634,814
Gambia8008000.400.402,486,945
Barbados6104301,0403.602.10287,711
Seychelles4204204.504.5098,908
Antigua And Barbuda180802602.701.9098,731
Haiti1505020011,541,685
Libya6,958,532
Palestine5,222,748
Costa Rica9,8009,80025,139,052
Panama22,05022,0505.904,381,579
Mauritius2,5502,5501.901,273,433
Iceland2502500.70343,353

Military Size By Country 2021