These Are the World's Largest Armies

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This list gives a comprehensive insight not just into army size, but funding, future potential, and how big a part the military plays in national culture. Newsweek

When it comes to sheer numbers of soldiers, the Chinese army dwarfs every other country.

Their army has almost a million more active personnel than the U.S. army, reflecting the stark difference in each country’s population—China has a billion more citizens than the U.S.

Although China has more boots on the ground, the U.S. spends almost ten times the amount on each personnel unit. The Chinese army may be bigger, but U.S. soldiers are better equipped, with far more resources behind them.

According to data from Global Firepower, the U.S. actually spends the most per personnel in the world. The country with the least per-soldier spending is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who spend only $1,120 per soldier every year. The DRC’s military has a host of ongoing problems, including use of child soldiers and accusations of human rights violations.

Another measure of size is the percentage of the country’s total population that is serving in the military. Unsurprisingly, that honor goes to North Korea, where military service is compulsory for ten years for men, and six years for women.

They are followed by Israel, which also makes military service compulsory for both genders. At the bottom of the list is Nigeria, which has a fairly large population but no conscription.

Using Global Firepower’s data, we’ve ranked the world’s armies according to size, but also included other vital information, such as the percentage of the total population in the military, reserve personnel and available manpower. We’ve also included total defense budget and how that breaks down into per-soldier spending.

This list gives a comprehensive insight not just into army size, but funding, future potential, and how big a part the military plays in national culture.

01 Portugal
75. Portugal. Active Military Personnel: 35,000. Total Population: 10,839,514 (0.323%). Manpower Available: 5,030,000. Fit-for-Service: 4,122,000. Reaching Military Age: 117,000. Total Military Personnel: 268,500. Reserve Personnel: 233,500. Defense Budget: $3,800,000,000 ($108,571 per soldier). Armend Nimani/AFP
02 Tunisia
74. Tunisia. Active Military Personnel: 38,150. Total Population: 11,403,800 (0.335%). Manpower Available: 5,800,000. Fit-for-Service: 5,000,000. Reaching Military Age: 178,000. Total Military Personnel: 50,150. Reserve Personnel: 12,000. Defense Budget: $550,000,000 ($14,416 per soldier). Fathi Belaid/AFP
03 Ecuador
73. Ecuador. Active Military Personnel: 40,000. Total Population: 16,290,913 (0.246%). Manpower Available: 7,600,000. Fit-for-Service: 6,105,000. Reaching Military Age: 300,000. Total Military Personnel: 158,500. Reserve Personnel: 118,500. Defense Budget: $2,400,000,000 ($60,000 per soldier). Guillermo Granja/Reuters
04 Serbia
72. Serbia. Active Military Personnel: 40,075. Total Population: 7,111,024 (0.246%). Manpower Available: 3,500,000. Fit-for-Service: 2,755,000. Reaching Military Age: 86,000. Total Military Personnel: 90,075. Reserve Personnel: 50,000. Defense Budget: $830,000,000 ($20,711 per soldier). AFP
05 Netherlands
71. Netherlands. Active Military Personnel: 42,705. Total Population: 17,084,719 (0.25%). Manpower Available: 7,800,000. Fit-for-Service: 6,325,000. Reaching Military Age: 202,000. Total Military Personnel: 53,205. Reserve Personnel: 10,500. Defense Budget: $9,840,000,000 ($230,417 per soldier). Evert-Jan Daniels/AFP
06 Yemen
70. Yemen. Active Military Personnel: 43,500. Total Population: 28,036,829 (0.155%). Manpower Available: 11,040,000. Fit-for-Service: 8,175,000. Reaching Military Age: 565,000. Total Military Personnel: 43,500. Reserve Personnel: 0. Defense Budget: $1,440,000,000 ($33,103 per soldier). Abdullah al-Qadry/AFP
07 Bolivia
69. Bolivia. Active Military Personnel: 44,800. Total Population: 11,138,234 (0.402%). Manpower Available: 5,000,000. Fit-for-Service: 3,780,000. Reaching Military Age: 215,000. Total Military Personnel: 81,900. Reserve Personnel: 37,100. Defense Budget: $315,000,000 ($7,031 per soldier). Aizar Raldes/AFP
08 Armenia
68. Armenia. Active Military Personnel: 44,800. Total Population: 3,045,191 (1.471%). Manpower Available: 1,700,000. Fit-for-Service: 1,400,000. Reaching Military Age: 45,000. Total Military Personnel: 215,700. Reserve Personnel: 170,900. Defense Budget: $512,000,000 ($11,428 per soldier). Karen Minasyan/AFP
09 Uganda
67. Uganda. Active Military Personnel: 45,000. Total Population: 39,570,125 (0.114%). Manpower Available: 14,300,000. Fit-for-Service: 8,515,000. Reaching Military Age: 845,000. Total Military Personnel: 56,500. Reserve Personnel: 11,500. Defense Budget: $280,000,000 ($6,222 per soldier). Charles Akti Lomodong/AFP
10 Albania
66. Albania. Active Military Personnel: 50,000. Total Population: 3,047,987 (1.64%). Manpower Available: 1,515,000. Fit-for-Service: 1,300,000. Reaching Military Age: 62,000. Total Military Personnel: 64,000. Reserve Personnel: 14,000. Defense Budget: $138,400,000 ($2,768 per soldier). Gent Shkullaku/AFP
11 Dominican Republic
65. Dominican Republic. Active Military Personnel: 50,925. Total Population: 10,734,247 (0.474%). Manpower Available: 3,535,621. Fit-for-Service: 1,767,810. Reaching Military Age: 105,855. Total Military Personnel: 65,925. Reserve Personnel: 15,000. Defense Budget: $110,850,000 ($2,176 per soldier). Kena Betancur/Reuters