Military budget by country: how it changes in 2022

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The new international tensions, especially in Europe, changed the world’s military policies in 2022, in some cases with big surprises. There is a general trend to increase military spending for the current year, but some nations have sent a much stronger signal than others: for example, Germany’s decision to increase its military budget for 2022 from about 60 billion USD in 2021 to over 100 billion in 2022 has caused a sensation, quickly placing the country in third place among the nations that spend most in their military profile.

In the possibility that the coming years will be characterized by a possible new wave of tensions, it can be interesting to understand what is happening in the world, how much each nation has decided to spend on military and defense costs and how 2022 has changed things. An important indicator of how many nations openly opposed to war are changing their conduct, especially at a very particular time that must have been characterized by the economic recovery after the pandemic and the completion of the recovery support policies not yet completed after 2020 and 2021.

The ten country with the highest military budget in the world

Most of the web pages dedicated to the topic are updated to the 2021 budgets. Below you will find the military spending budgets updated to 2022 for the top ten nations in the world, based on the declarations of the governments regarding the intentions of this year. For some of these countries, the figures are estimates based on government and ministerial declarations at the beginning of the year and on the estimated GDP growth for 2022. For cases where no major changes have been announced from the previous year and the estimates are not yet official, the nation is indicated as “stable from 2021”.

For Russia, the budget measured in US dollars is affected by the collapse of the ruble against the dollar (last year that same budget meant more than double in US dollars). Furthermore, there are no reliable data on the 2022 GDP estimate given the extent of the sanctions in place, it is therefore impossible to determine a rate over the GDP.

CountryMilitary budget (in USD)% of GDP
United States770 billion
(stable from 2021)
China230 billion
(+7% compared to 2021)
Germany110 billion
(+107% compared to 2021)
India70 billion
(+10% compared to 2021)
United Kingdom50-70 billion
(stable from 2021)
France48-55 billion
(stable from 2021)
Japan47 billion
(+1% compared to 2021)
Saudi Arabia46 billion
(-10% compared to 2021)
South Korea46 billion
(+4% compared to 2021)
Russia31 billion
(stable from 2021)
(3.5% in 2021)

Basing on these data, the fundamental stability of the military policies emerges for United States and Russia, which already dedicated one of the highest percentages of GDP in the world in this direction. The most noticeable increases have been recorded in China and European nations, which see the conflict between Ukraine and Russia as a possible war that they will have to participate in (although many of these nations repudiate the war in their constitution). The figure for Germany continues to stand out, doubling its budget dedicated to military spending for 2022. The opposite trend is for Saudi Arabia, which decides to reduce its budget, combined with a very positive estimate of GDP for the year in course: the percentage of military spending on GDP in 2021 was over 8%, while in 2022 it will be about half.

The military expenses decided by each nation are counted as expenses dedicated to defense, therefore not necessarily as costs of active participation in a war, of course. But the direction in which the budget is moving gives a clear indication of how much that nation feels the need to prepare for the current year from a military point of view.