War Facts & Figures

In 2015, there were at least 40 wars around the world, with over 162,212 fatalities. Some wars (i.e. Afghanistan) have been going on for decades and the cumulative death toll is in the millions.

The countries with the most casualties in 2015 were:

Syria                      55,219

Afghanistan          36,345

Iraq                       22,810

Nigeria                 10,677

Mexico                   8,122

Global arms exports are close to Cold War levels. The United States is the overall top supplier of weapons. The United States is also the top supplier of weapons to the developing world, accounting for around 36% of worldwide weapons sales, followed by Russia, United Kingdom, Germany and China.

It is estimated that there are over 639 million small arms in circulation produced by over 1,135 companies based in 98 countries.

American War Casualties

Dead          Wounded

Revolutionary War           4,435           6,188

War of 1812                     2,260           4,505

Indian “Wars” (1812-98)  1,000

Mexican American War   13,283         4,152

Civil War                        498,332      281,881

Spanish American War     2,446          1,662

World War I                    116,516      204,002

World War II                   405,399      671,846

Korean War                      54,246      103,284

Vietnam War                     90,220      153,303

Persian Gulf War                1,948             467

Afghanistan                         2,326      450,000

Iraq                                      4,486      450,000


Total                             1,197,475     2,330,290

These figures do not include Post Trauma Syndrome (PTS), military suicides after the war or civilian casualties.

The Huffington Post


It is estimated that the world spends about $1.8 trillion a year (about 2.3% of Gross National Product) on the arms trade.

The countries that supply the most arms are:

U.S.                                      44%

Russia                                  17%

France                                   8%

UK                                          5%

China                                      4%

CRS Report for Congress

The countries that purchase the most arms are:

Saudi Arabia                       21%

India                                    13%

United Arab Emirates          6%

Egypt                                    4%

Pakistan                               4%

                              CRS Report for Congress

The countries with the largest military expenditures are:

        Budget          % of GNP   PerPerson

U.S.:               $597 billion   3.3%         $1,859

China:             $145 billion   1.2%         $106

Saudi Arabia: $81 billion    12.9%       $2,949

UK:                $56 billion         2%         $878

Russia:          $51 billion       4.1%        $362


Total:       $1.563 trillion     2.1%     $216

The U.S. companies that sell the most arms are:

Sales  % of Total Sales  Profit

Lockheed: $35 billion 78%     $3 billion

Boeing:     $30 billion  35%     $4 billion

Raytheon: $21 billion  93%     $2 billion

Northrop: $20 billion    82%     $2 billion

General: $18 billion     60%     $2 billion

It is estimated that the combined arms sales of the top 100 largest arms producing companies amounted to an estimated $315 billion.

For comparison, the operating budget for Pax Christi USA – the largest national Catholic peace organization is around $450,000.

Charity navigator

Much of the military’s equipment (bombs, missiles, tanks and ammunition etc.) is not considered a “consumer good.” “Consumer goods” are designed to be used and then replaced – a process which stimulates the economy. Most military equipment sits in storage waiting to be used.


The Costs of American Wars

Revolutionary War                         $101 million

War of 1812                                     $90 million

Mexican American War                    $71 million

Civil War                                             $5 billion

Spanish American War                  $283 million

World War I                                       $31 billion

World War II                                    $316 billion

Korean War                                      $54 billion

Southeast Asia War                        $111 billion

Persian Gulf War                             $61 billion

Total                                               $578 billion


War costs often do not include: training, recuperation, counseling, peacetime operating costs of the military establishment, the prewar buildup of military expenditures in anticipation of hostilities and the postwar tapering off of such expenditures, property damage, the lost economic value of people killed or disabled in war, and the costs of wartime economic disruption.

The costs of a war are often transferred to future generations in the form of interest charges on war debts, and these charges usually continue long after the debts themselves have lost their identity in the total national debt. In a similar category are the costs of veterans’ pensions and bonuses and medical and hospital care and lifetime care.