War Facts & Figures

The world spends about $2 trillion on its militaries — each year.

$2 trillion represents about 2% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, or $242 for every person on earth.

The 5 biggest military spenders are the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom — accounting for 62% of global expenditure. Military spending by China grew for the 26th consecutive year.

84 countries have mandatory military service.

15 nations do not have military forces. Factors include:
  • Size: 7 of the 10 smallest countries of the world
  • Achieved independence in a peaceful manner
  • Agreements with other countries for help
  • Too costly to maintain. Use funds for other purposes
  • Fear of a military coup
  • Possess a strong police force, militarized coast guard or an air defense system
  • Symbol of peace = source of pride

World Atlas


Throughout its history, the U.S. has had 1,197,475 soldiers killed in war and approximately another 2,330,290 have been woundedThese figures do not include Post Trauma Syndrome (PTS) victims or military suicides after the war.

The New York Times


Civilians often account for many wartime casualties. These deaths are caused by military actions, war-related famine and disease, and war crimes. Here are some estimates from wars America was involved with over the past century:

World War I — 9,000,000

World War II — 40,000,000

Korea — 2,000,000

Vietnam — 2,700,000

Persian Gulf — 2,000

Iraq — 193,000

Afghanistan —  38,000

The New York Times

50% of war casualties are civilians caught in the crossfire.

200 million children worldwide live in high-intensity conflict zones.


For the past 70 years the United States has been the top supplier of weapons to the world. The U.S. exports more arms than than the next 9 countries combined.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 

The top 5 arms manufacturers in the world, along with their estimated sales figures are:

Lockheed Martin — $47,000,000,000

Boeing — $29,000,000,000

Northrop Grumman — $26,000,000,000

Raytheon — $23,000,000,000

General Dynamics — $22,000,000,000

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

There are an estimated 875,000,000 small arms in circulation worldwide, produced by more than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries. Their trade value exceeds $8,500,000,000 — each year.

Small Arms Survey

It is estimated that the world spends nearly $3 trillion a year on arms, and the United States drives the bulk of the globe’s weapons trade — about 79%.

The U.S. State Department

For fiscal year 2019 (FY2019), the U.S. Department of Defense budget is approximately $693,058,000,000 — which is about $2,100 per person.

U.S. Defense Department

It is estimated that the combined arms sales of the top 100 largest arms producing companies amounted to an estimated $315,000,000,000.

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.


Humanitarian Aid
Nearly 168 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection around the world. This represents 1 in about 45 people — the highest figure in decades.

86% of humanitarian needs occur in situations of conflict and violence.

Funding for peace building across the world is $6.3 billion or less than .3% of military expenditures.

Nuclear Weapons
There are estimated to be nearly 13,000 nuclear warheads in the world. Russia has 6,257 & the U.S. possesses 5,550, accounting for over 90%. Other countries include:
  • China=350
  • France=290
  • The United Kingdom=225
  • Pakistan=165
  • India=156
  • Israel=90
  • North Korea=40-50

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Thousands of people are killed and injured by landmines each year. Almost 80% of these are civilians and over 40% are children.

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

Most of the deaths and injuries occur where there are current conflicts, but people are hurt by these devices in over 50 countries. For example, in Vietnam 40,000 people are thought to have been killed and 60,000 injured by American landmines since 1975.

In 1999, an agreement was reached to ban creating, stockpiling or the transfer of landmines and was signed by 163 countries with the exception of China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The U.S. is estimated to have 3,000,000 of these devices on hand.