Military spending

World military spending sees dramatic rise in 2022 reaching $2.24 trillion

Total global military expenditure increased by 3.7% in real terms in 2022, to reach a new high of $2.24 trillion. Military expenditure in Europe saw its steepest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years. The three largest spenders in 2022—the United States, China and Russia—accounted for 56% of the world total, according to new data published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The United States remains by far the world’s biggest military spender. US military spending reached $877 billion in 2022, which was 39 per cent of total global military spending and three times more than the amount spent by China, the world’s second largest spender. The 0.7% real-terms increase in US spending in 2022 would have been even greater had it not been for the highest levels of inflation since 1981.

China remained the world’s second largest military spender, allocating an estimated $292 billion in 2022. This was 4.2% more than in 2021 and 63 per cent more than in 2013. China’s military expenditure has increased for 28 consecutive years.

Russian military spending grew by an estimated 9.2 per cent in 2022, to around $86.4 billion. This was equivalent to 4.1% of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, up from 3.7% of GDP in 2021.

(Illustration by BuildPress)

“The continuous rise in global military expenditure in recent years is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world,” said Dr Nan Tian, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. “States are bolstering military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not foresee improving in the near future.”

Other notable developments

  • The real-terms increase in world military spending in 2022 was slowed by the effects of inflation, which in many countries soared to levels not seen for decades. In nominal terms (i.e. in current prices without adjusting for inflation), the global total increased by 6.5%.
  • India’s military spending of $81.4 billion was the fourth highest in the world. It was 6.0% more than in 2021.
  • In 2022 military spending by Saudi Arabia, the fifth biggest military spender, rose by 16% to reach an estimated $75.0 billion, its first increase since 2018.
  • Nigeria’s military spending fell by 38% to $3.1 billion, after a 56% increase in spending in 2021.
  • Military spending by NATO members totalled $1232 billion in 2022, which was 0.9% higher than in 2021.
  • The United Kingdom had the highest military spending in Central and Western Europe at $68.5 billion, of which an estimated $2.5 billion (3.6%) was financial military aid to Ukraine.
  • In 2022 Türkiye’s military spending fell for the third year in a row, reaching $10.6 billion—a decrease of 26% from 2021.
  • Ethiopia’s military spending rose by 88% in 2022, to reach $1.0 billion. The increase coincided with a renewed government offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the north of the country.

Stockholm-based SIPRI, a leading defence think tank, monitors developments in military expenditure worldwide and maintains the most consistent and extensive publicly available data source on military expenditure.