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Reproduced from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; Note: China and Saudi Arabia's spending is estimated; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global military spending climbed in 2019 for the fifth consecutive year to a new high of $1.9 trillion, or 2.2% of global GDP, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Breaking it down: The U.S. spent nearly three times as much as China and 10 times as much as any other country on Earth.

  • While U.S. spending rose 5% last year, it's still down 15% from 2010, when it accounted for 4.9% of GDP (vs. 3.4% now).
  • Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia (8%) and Oman (8.8%) spent the most on their militaries as a proportion of GDP, while Mexico (0.5%), Indonesia (0.7%), Switzerland (0.7%) and Japan (0.9%) are on the low end.
  • Germany increased military spending by 10% last year, a sign that U.S. pressure on NATO countries to spend more is showing some results.
  • India increased spending by 7% last year, and it moved from fifth to third on the list of biggest spenders.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 1 billion people, spent a total of $18 billion in 2019, less than Israel (pop. 9 million) and one-fortieth of the U.S. total.

What to watch: Military budgets contracted sharply following the 2008 financial crisis, and a similar trend is likely due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Note: China's and Saudi Arabia's numbers are an estimate.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jul 31, 2020 - Technology

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The big picture: Thursday morning, government economists reported a 30% drop in GDP for the second quarter — the largest decline, by far, since the numbers have been reported.

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Why it matters: While we fell into the hole swiftly, economists are dashing hopes of an equally swift recovery. They warn it could take years for the U.S. to recover.

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