Military expenditure around the world

The best available data on military spending are compiled and published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI is an international institute based in Stockholm, Sweden that has provided analysis on international conflict, armament, military spending, and other international security issues since 1966.

With their permission, we reproduced two interesting indicators: military spending as percent of GDP and military spending in millions of dollars. In 2012, countries spent about 2 percent of their GDP on the military:

Military spending as percent of GDP

There are significant differences between countries. The biggest spender is Saudi Arabia where 8.9 percent of GDP is spent on the military, followed closely by Sudan, Oman, and Israel. Of the large economies, the list is topped by the U.S. where military spending is 4.4 percent of its GDP. For comparison, European countries such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain spend about 2 percent of their GDP on the military. The U.S. neighbors, Canada and Mexico, as well as Japan spend about 1 percent of their GDP on the military. Russia’s numbers are the same as those of the U.S. with 4.4 percent of GDP.

However, looking at actual dollar spending, the picture is starkly different:

Military spending in millions of U.S. dollars

The U.S. is well ahead of all other countries with 682 billion dollars in military spending, compared to Russia’s 91 billion. China is the second biggest spender but even in China military spending is “only” 166 billion. The UK, Japan, and France are also in the top ten with about 50 billion in military spending per year. In contrast, Iceland spent 17 million dollars on its military in 2012. Aren't the Icelanders concerned about foreign invasion?

More data and information on security issues can be found at the SIPRI website.
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