Military Size By Country 2020

A country’s military is one of its most important assets. The military of a nation works for the government and is used to enforce and further domestic and foreign policies and offer protection for its citizens.

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 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 that was 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 throughout the world 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 members of the military, 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).

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, there are nations that have no active members of the military or their militaries are very small. These nations have no active members of the military:

  • Costa Rica
  • Iceland
  • Libya
  • Mauritius
  • Palestine
  • Panama

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 members of the military per country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also tops the list in terms of total military members per capita, as well as active military members per capita.

Country Active Military Reserve Military Paramilitary Total Military Total Military per 1,000 Active Military per 1,000 Population 2020
China2,035,000510,0001,500,0004,045,0002.91.51,439,323,776
India1,440,0002,096,0001,585,9505,121,95041.11,380,004,385
United States1,374,699845,0002,918,1615,137,86015.64.2331,002,651
Russia1,013,6282,572,5002,310,8595,896,98741.57.1145,934,462
North Korea950,000200,0005,889,0007,039,000278.837.625,778,816
Pakistan653,000653,0003.13.1220,892,340
South Korea599,0003,100,000900,0004,599,00089.911.751,269,185
Iran523,0001,350,0002,640,0004,513,000556.483,992,949
Vietnam482,0005,000,00040,0005,522,00057.4597,338,579
Egypt438,500479,000397,0001,314,50013.54.5102,334,404
Myanmar406,000107,250513,2509.37.454,409,800
Indonesia395,500400,000280,0001,075,5004.11.5273,523,615
Thailand360,850245,00093,700699,55010.25.369,799,978
Turkey355,200378,700156,800890,700114.484,339,067
Sri Lanka346,70035,90062,200444,80019.815.521,413,249
Brazil334,5001,340,000395,0002,069,500101.6212,559,417
Colombia293,20034,950187,900516,05010.86.150,882,891
Mexico277,15081,50058,900417,5503.42.2128,932,753
Taiwan275,0002,800,0001,883,4504,958,450210.911.723,816,775
Japan247,15056,00013,740316,8902.52126,476,461
Saudi Arabia227,00024,500251,5008.87.934,813,871
Ukraine204,000900,00088,0001,192,00027.14.643,733,762
France202,70072,300103,400378,4005.6365,273,511
Eritrea201,750120,000321,75054.834.43,546,421
Morocco195,800150,00050,000395,80011.65.836,910,560
South Sudan185,000185,00014.214.211,193,725
Germany178,60027,900500207,0002.62.283,783,942
Israel176,500465,0008,000649,50078.321.38,655,535
Italy174,50018,300182,350375,15062.860,461,826
Afghanistan174,300148,700323,0009.55.138,928,346
Bangladesh157,05063,900220,9501.41164,689,383
United Kingdom150,25082,650232,9003.62.367,886,011
Syria142,500150,000292,50016.27.917,500,658
Greece141,350220,5004,000365,8503413.110,423,054
Ethiopia138,000138,0001.31.3114,963,588
Dr Congo134,250134,2501.61.689,561,403
Algeria130,000150,000187,200467,20011.43.243,851,044
Philippines125,000181,00040,500346,5003.31.2109,581,078
Cambodia124,30067,000191,30011.87.716,718,965
Venezuela123,0008,000220,000351,00011.23.928,435,940
Spain121,20015,45076,750213,4004.42.546,754,778
Nigeria118,00082,000200,00010.6206,139,589
Malaysia109,000296,300264,600669,90021.33.532,365,999
Angola107,00010,000117,00043.732,866,272
Poland105,00073,400178,4004.62.737,846,611
Sudan104,30085,00020,000209,3005.62.843,849,260
Jordan100,500100,00015,000215,500219.810,203,134
Nepal96,60062,000158,6005.43.329,136,808
Peru81,000188,00077,000346,00011.12.632,971,854
Chile77,20040,00044,700161,9009.14.319,116,201
Argentina74,20031,250105,4502.41.745,195,774
Singapore72,500312,50019,900404,90068.812.35,850,342
Romania69,30050,00079,900199,2009.33.219,237,691
Azerbaijan66,950300,00015,000381,95038.36.710,139,177
South Africa66,35015,05081,4001.51.259,308,690
Iraq64,000145,000209,0005.31.640,222,493
United Arab Emirates63,000180,000243,0004010.49,890,402
Canada63,00030,0004,50097,5002.71.837,742,154
Lebanon60,00020,00080,00012.89.66,825,445
Australia57,80021,10078,9003.42.525,499,884
Dominican Republic56,05015,00071,0506.65.210,847,910
Cuba49,0001,159,0001,465,0002,673,000239.84.411,326,616
Uzbekistan48,00020,00068,0002.31.633,469,203
Belarus45,350289,500110,000444,85046.64.79,449,323
Uganda45,00010,0001,40056,4001.41.145,741,007
Armenia44,800210,0004,300259,10085.114.72,963,243
Oman42,6004,40047,00013.712.45,106,626
Ecuador40,250118,000500158,7509.72.517,643,054
Kazakhstan39,00031,50070,5003.82.118,776,707
Turkmenistan36,5005,00041,5007.86.86,031,200
Hungary36,00058,00012,000106,00010.83.79,660,351
Tunisia35,80012,00047,8004.23.111,818,619
Netherlands35,4104,6605,90045,9702.72.117,134,872
Bolivia34,10037,10071,2006.43.111,673,021
Finland33,4901,127,5002,7001,163,690210.96.15,540,720
Rwanda33,0002,00035,0002.92.812,952,218
Bulgaria31,3003,00034,3004.84.46,948,445
Portugal30,500211,95044,000286,45026.42.810,196,709
Chad30,3509,50039,8503.32.516,425,864
Burundi30,05021,00051,0504.52.611,890,784
Sweden29,75021,95051,7005.2310,099,265
Laos29,100100,000129,10018.14.17,275,560
Zimbabwe29,00021,80050,8003.72.114,862,924
Belgium28,8005,00033,8002.92.511,589,623
Serbia28,15050,1503,70082,00011.548,737,371
Tanzania27,00080,0001,400108,40020.559,734,218
Ivory Coast25,40025,4001.11.126,378,274
Uruguay24,65080025,4507.67.33,473,730
El Salvador24,5009,90017,00051,4008.346,486,205
Kenya24,1005,00029,1000.60.553,771,296
Norway23,95038,59062,54011.84.55,421,241
Czech Republic23,20023,2002.22.210,708,981
Austria22,400152,20025,000199,60022.82.69,006,398
Switzerland20,950218,270239,220292.58,654,622
Georgia20,6505,40026,0505.34.23,989,167
Djibouti20,00012,00032,0003723.1988,000
Yemen20,00020,0000.70.729,825,964
Somalia19,80019,8001.81.815,893,222
Lithuania18,3506,70011,30036,35012.96.52,722,289
Guatemala18,05063,85025,000106,9006.91.217,915,568
Denmark16,10045,70061,800112.95,792,202
Mauritania15,8505,00020,8505.54.24,649,658
Slovakia15,85015,8502.92.95,459,642
Croatia15,6503,00018,6504.33.64,105,267
Kuwait15,50023,7007,10046,30016.15.44,270,571
Ghana15,50015,5000.60.631,072,940
Zambia15,1003,0001,40019,5001.20.918,383,955
Cyprus15,00050,00075065,75053.812.31,207,359
Honduras14,95060,0008,00082,9509.21.79,904,607
Cameroon14,4009,00023,4000.90.626,545,863
Senegal13,6005,00018,6001.30.916,743,927
Madagascar13,5008,10021,6000.90.527,691,018
Nicaragua12,00012,000226,624,554
Qatar11,8005,00016,8007.35.12,881,053
Burkina Faso11,20025011,4500.60.620,903,273
Mozambique11,20011,2000.40.431,255,435
Kyrgyzstan10,9009,50020,4003.51.96,524,195
Malawi10,7004,20014,9000.80.619,129,952
Paraguay10,650164,50014,800189,95027.41.57,132,538
Bosnia And Herzegovina10,50010,5002.72.73,280,819
Ireland10,0003,48013,4802.724,937,786
Republic Of The Congo10,0002,00012,0002.425,518,087
Mali10,0007,80017,80010.620,250,833
Namibia9,9006,00015,9006.442,540,905
Mongolia9,700137,0007,500154,20050.33.23,278,290
Guinea9,7002,60012,30010.813,132,795
New Zealand9,3002,60011,9002.51.94,822,233
Botswana9,0009,0004.14.12,351,627
Tajikistan8,8007,50016,3001.919,537,645
Togo8,5507509,3001.21.18,278,724
Sierra Leone8,5008,5001.41.47,976,983
Bahrain8,20011,26019,46013.85.81,701,575
Macedonia8,0004,8507,60020,4509.73.82,083,374
Albania8,0005008,5002.82.62,877,797
Slovenia7,2501,7605,95014,9607.63.72,078,938
Benin7,2502,5009,7500.90.712,123,200
Brunei7,2007004,90012,80028.916.2437,479
Central African Republic7,1501,0008,1501.41.34,829,767
Estonia6,60012,00015,80034,40027.55.31,326,535
Latvia5,3107,85013,1606.82.71,886,198
Niger5,3005,40010,7000.60.324,206,644
Moldova5,15058,0002,40065,55018.91.54,033,963
Gabon4,7002,0006,7003.82.72,225,734
Guinea Bissau4,4504,4502.52.51,968,001
Trinidad And Tobago4,0504,0503.33.31,399,488
Jamaica3,9509804,9301.61.32,961,167
Papua New Guinea3,6003,6000.50.58,947,024
Fiji3,5006,0009,50010.33.8896,445
Guyana3,4006704,0705.54.6786,552
Liberia2,1002,1000.40.45,057,681
Lesotho2,0002,000112,142,249
Malta1,9501802,1305.14.7441,543
Montenegro1,95010,10012,05018.83628,066
Suriname1,8401001,9403.33.1586,632
Belize1,5007001502,3506.54.2397,628
Equatorial Guinea1,4501,4501.91.91,402,985
Timor Leste1,3301,330111,318,445
Bahamas1,3001,3003.93.9393,244
Cape Verde1,2001,2002.12.1555,987
Luxembourg9006001,5002.51.5625,978
Gambia8008000.40.42,416,668
Barbados6104301,0403.62.1287,375
Seychelles4204204.54.598,347
Antigua And Barbuda180802602.71.997,929
Haiti1505020011,402,528
Iceland2502500.7341,243
Mauritius2,5502,5501.91,271,768
Panama22,05022,0505.94,314,767
Costa Rica9,8009,80025,094,118
Palestine5,101,414
Libya6,871,292