Military Size by Country 2022

map placeholder

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.

Military Size by Country 2022

Loading...

Military Size by Country 2022

Country Active Duty Paramilitary Reserves Total Personnel 2022 Population
Vietnam482K5M5M10.5M98,953,541
North Korea1.3M5.9M600K7.8M25,990,679
South Korea599K3M3.1M6.7M51,329,899
India1.5M2.5M1.2M5.1M1,406,631,776
China2.2M660K1.2M4M1,448,471,400
Russia1M554K2M3.6M145,805,947
United States1.4M0845K2.2M334,805,269
Brazil366.5K395K1.3M2.1M215,353,593
Taiwan163K11.8K1.7M1.8M23,888,595
Pakistan654K291K550K1.5M229,488,994
Egypt438.5K397K479K1.3M106,156,692
Cuba49K1.1M39K1.2M11,305,652
Ukraine209K102K900K1.2M43,192,122
Indonesia395.5K280K400K1.1M279,134,505
Iran610K40K350K1M86,022,837
Turkey355.2K156.8K378.7K890.7K85,561,976
Thailand360.9K138.7K200K699.5K70,078,203
Israel169.5K8K465K642.5K8,922,892
Colombia293.2K187.9K35K516K51,512,762
Myanmar406K107K0513K55,227,143
Azerbaijan127K15K330K471.9K10,300,205
Algeria130K187.2K150K467.2K45,350,148
Belarus45.4K110K289.5K444.9K9,432,800
Malaysia113K267.2K51.6K431.8K33,181,072
Mexico216K111.9K81.5K409.4K131,562,772
Morocco195.8K50K150K395.8K37,772,756
France203.3K130.8K41K375.1K65,584,518
Greece142.7K4K221.3K368.1K10,316,637
Italy165.5K175.8K18.3K359.6K60,262,770
Sri Lanka255K92.6K5.5K353.1K21,575,842
Venezuela123K220K8K351K29,266,991
Peru81K77K188K346K33,684,208
Iraq193K148K0341K42,164,965
Philippines143.1K62.3K131K336.4K112,508,994
Eritrea201.8K0120K321.8K3,662,244
Japan247.2K14.3K56K317.5K125,584,838
Singapore51K7.4K252.5K310.9K5,943,546
Afghanistan178.8K99K0277.8K40,754,388
Syria169K100K0269K19,364,809
Portugal27.3K24.7K211.7K263.6K10,140,570
Armenia44.8K4.3K210K259.1K2,971,966
Finland23.8K14.2K216K254K5,554,960
Saudi Arabia227K24.5K0251.5K35,844,909
United Kingdom148.5K078.6K227.1K68,497,907
Bangladesh163.1K63.9K0226.9K167,885,689
Nigeria143K80K0223K216,746,934
Switzerland19.6K0196.4K216K8,773,637
Germany183.5K030.1K213.6K83,883,596
Spain120.3K75.8K15.2K211.3K46,719,142
Sudan104.3K105K0209.3K45,992,020
Paraguay13.9K14.8K164.5K193.3K7,305,843
Cambodia124.3K67K0191.3K17,168,639
Poland114K75.4K0189.4K37,739,785
South Sudan185K00185K11,618,511
Jordan100.5K15K65K180.5K10,300,869
Romania69.3K57K50K176.3K19,031,335
Chile77.2K44.7K40K161.9K19,250,195
Ecuador40.3K500118K158.8K18,113,361
Mongolia9.7K7.5K137K154.2K3,378,078
Austria22.1K0125.6K147.7K9,066,710
Ethiopia138K00138K120,812,698
DR Congo134.3K00134.3K95,240,792
Laos29.1K100K0129.1K7,481,023
Angola107K10K0117K35,027,343
Nepal96.6K15K0111.6K30,225,582
Tanzania27K1.4K80K108.4K63,298,550
Canada67.4K4.5K35.6K107.5K38,388,419
Guatemala18.1K25K63.9K106.9K18,584,039
Argentina72.1K31.3K0103.3K46,010,234
Australia58.6K030.1K88.7K26,068,792
Honduras14.9K8K60K83K10,221,247
Serbia28.1K3.7K50.1K82K8,653,016
South Africa65.3K015.1K80.4K60,756,135
Lebanon60K20K080K6,684,849
Bolivia34.1K37.1K071.2K11,992,656
Dominican Republic56K15K071K11,056,370
Kazakhstan39K31.5K070.5K19,205,043
Uzbekistan48K20K068K34,382,084
Cyprus15K75050K65.8K1,223,387
Moldova5.2K90058K64K4,013,171
Norway23.3K040K63.3K5,511,370
United Arab Emirates63K0063K10,081,785
Hungary27.8K12K20K59.8K9,606,259
Denmark14.5K044K58.5K5,834,950
Uganda45K1.4K10K56.4K48,432,863
El Salvador24.5K17K9.9K51.4K6,550,389
Burundi30.1K21K051K12,624,840
Sweden29.8K21.2K051K10,218,971
Zimbabwe29K21.8K050.8K15,331,428
Kuwait17.5K7.1K23.7K48.3K4,380,326
Tunisia35.8K12K047.8K12,046,656
Oman42.6K4.4K047K5,323,993
Netherlands35.4K5.9K4.5K45.8K17,211,447
Chad33.3K11.9K045.1K17,413,580
Turkmenistan36.5K5K041.5K6,201,943
Lithuania19.9K14.4K6.7K41K2,661,708
Yemen40K0040K31,154,867
Bulgaria37K03K40K6,844,597
Croatia15.2K3K18.4K36.5K4,059,286
Rwanda33K2K035K13,600,464
Cameroon25.4K9K034.4K27,911,548
Belgium26.3K05.1K31.4K11,668,278
Kenya24.1K5K029.1K56,215,221
Ivory Coast27.4K0027.4K27,742,298
Georgia20.6K5.4K026.1K3,968,738
Panama026K026K4,446,964
Estonia7.1K017.5K24.6K1,321,910
Uruguay21K1.4K022.4K3,496,016
Latvia6.2K015.9K22.1K1,848,837
Czech Republic21.8K0021.8K10,736,784
Madagascar13.5K8.1K021.6K29,178,077
Qatar16.5K5K021.5K2,979,915
Mauritania15.8K5K020.9K4,901,981
Mali13K7.8K020.8K21,473,764
North Macedonia8K7.6K4.8K20.4K2,081,304
Kyrgyzstan10.9K9.5K020.4K6,728,271
Somalia19.8K0019.8K16,841,795
Zambia15.1K1.4K3K19.5K19,470,234
Bahrain8.2K11.3K019.5K1,783,983
Senegal13.6K5K018.6K17,653,671
Tajikistan8.8K7.5K016.3K9,957,464
Namibia9.9K6K015.9K2,633,874
Slovakia15.8K0015.8K5,460,193
Ghana15.5K0015.5K32,395,450
Malawi10.7K4.2K014.9K20,180,839
Slovenia7.3K6K1.5K14.7K2,078,034
Ireland9.5K04K13.6K5,020,199
Djibouti10.4K2.6K013.1K1,016,097
Montenegro2.4K10.1K012.4K627,950
Guinea9.7K2.6K012.3K13,865,691
Benin7.3K4.8K012.1K12,784,726
Nicaragua12K0012K6,779,100
Republic of the Congo10K2K012K5,797,805
Burkina Faso11.2K250011.4K22,102,838
New Zealand9K02.3K11.3K4,898,203
Mozambique11.2K0011.2K33,089,461
Niger5.3K5.4K010.7K26,083,660
Bosnia And Herzegovina10.5K0010.5K3,249,317
Central African Republic9.2K1K010.2K5,016,678
Costa Rica09.8K09.8K5,182,354
Fiji3.5K06K9.5K909,466
Togo8.6K75009.3K8,680,837
Botswana9K009K2,441,162
Sierra Leone8.5K008.5K8,306,436
Brunei7.2K4507008.3K445,431
Albania8K008K2,866,374
Gabon4.7K2K06.7K2,331,533
Jamaica4K09804.9K2,985,094
Guinea Bissau4.5K004.5K2,063,367
Guyana3.4K06704.1K794,045
Trinidad And Tobago4K004K1,406,585
Papua New Guinea3.6K003.6K9,292,169
Mauritius02.5K02.5K1,274,727
Belize1.5K1507002.4K412,190
Malta1.9K01802.1K444,033
Liberia2K002K5,305,117
Lesotho2K002K2,175,699
Suriname1.8K001.8K596,831
Luxembourg90060001.5K642,371
Equatorial Guinea1.4K001.4K1,496,662
Bahamas1.3K001.3K400,516
Cape Verde1.2K001.2K567,678
Barbados61004301K288,023
Gambia800008002,558,482
Seychelles4200042099,426
Antigua And Barbuda18008026099,509
Iceland02500250345,393
Haiti15050020011,680,283

Military Size by Country 2022

Sources