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Swedish research shows military spending worldwide grew at record rates in 2023, reaching nearly US$2.5 trillion

Monday, 22 April 2024, 09:33
Swedish research shows military spending worldwide grew at record rates in 2023, reaching nearly US$2.5 trillion
Stock photo: Getty Images

Global military spending reached US$2.443 trillion in 2023, marking a 6.8% increase compared to the previous year, with growth rates being the highest since 2009.

Source: European Pravda, citing research by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Military expenditure worldwide has increased for the ninth consecutive year. For the first time since 2009, military spending rose in all five geographical regions defined by SIPRI, with particularly significant increases observed in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East.


Quote: "The unprecedented rise in military spending is a direct response to the global deterioration in peace and security," said Nan Tian, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

"States are prioritising military strength but they risk an action-reaction spiral in the increasingly volatile geopolitical and security landscape," he added.

The top 10 players in 2023, led by the United States, China, and Russia, all increased their military expenditure.

Russia's military expenditure increased by 24% to US$109 billion in 2023, which is 57% higher than in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. In 2023, Russia's military spending accounted for 16% of total state expenditure, and its military burden (military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product or GDP) stood at 5.9%.

In 2023, Ukraine ranked eighth in terms of expenditure after experiencing a sharp increase in spending by 51%, reaching US$64.8 billion. This resulted in a military burden on Ukraine of 37% and accounted for 58% of total state expenditure.

In 2023, Ukraine's military expenditure amounted to 59% of Russia's. However, throughout the year, Ukraine also received at least $35 billion in military aid, including US$25.4 billion from the United States. Together, this aid and Ukraine's own military spending accounted for approximately 91% of Russia's expenditure.

In 2023, NATO's 31 members collectively spent US$1.341 trillion, which equals 55% of global military expenditure. U.S. military spending increased by 2.3% to US$916 billion in 2023, accounting for 68% of NATO's total military spending. In 2023, most European NATO members increased their military expenditure. Their combined share in NATO reached 28%, the highest in a decade. The remaining 4% came from Canada and Türkiye.

Ten years after NATO members officially committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence, 11 out of 31 NATO members met or exceeded this level in 2023, the highest number since the commitment was made. Additionally, 28 NATO members achieved another goal of directing at least 20% of military spending to "equipment spending" in 2023, compared to 7 in 2014.

Poland saw the largest increase among European countries, now ranking 14th in the world in military spending. The country's expenditure reached US$31.6 billion after a 75% increase between 2022 and 2023, the highest annual growth among European countries.

China, the world's second-largest spender on military, allocated approximately US$296 billion for military purposes in 2023, a 6.0% increase compared to 2022. This marked the 29th consecutive year of growth in China's military spending. China accounts for half of the total military spending in the Asia-Pacific region. Several of China's neighbours linked their increased spending to China's rising military expenditure.


  • In another SIPRI study, it was noted that over the past five years, arms imports to Europe nearly doubled, partly due to the full-scale war in Ukraine, while arms exports from Russia decreased.
  • According to SIPRI data, Ukraine has become the fourth largest importer of arms by volume and the largest importer of arms from Europe. Last year, the institute reported that Kyiv was third in the rankings of the largest global arms importer in 2022.

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