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Military strength has always determined how powerful a country is compared to others, and how many soldiers are necessary to keep peace and order in the global map. On the other hand, it also reflects the desire of human nature to constantly battle. An interesting fact reveals that in the last 3,400 years, people have been in peace for only 268 years, and the total number of casualties from wars since the dawn of history is estimated between 150 million and 1 billion.

Although there are many inventions and technological developments that were created by militaries throughout history, we can fairly say that most people would prefer to avoid military service.

So, how many people worldwide serve in the military as of 2020? 

Worldwide in 2020, there are 30,277,850 million people serving in the armed forces, not including paramilitary units, according to Wikipedia. The total number of armed forces personnel including reserve military and paramilitary unites is 75,543,487. China has the largest armed forces personnel with 2,035,000 million troops.

According to the World Bank, the total armed forces personnel in 2017 was 27,414,000, as you can see in the chart below.

Following China, here’s a list of the largest armed forces personnel by country:

  • India – 1,440,000
  • The United States of America – 1,374, 699
  • Russian Federation – 1,013,628
  • North Korea – 950,000
  • Pakistan – 650,000
  • Republic of Korea – 599,000
  • Iran – 523,000
  • Vietnam – 482,000
  • Egypt – 438,500
  • Myanmar – 406,000

In fact, the ten largest militaries in the world reflect a third of the total armed forces personnel – 9,914,827 million troops.

How many countries do not have a military?

As of 2020, 23 countries do not have any armed forces, according to the WorldAtlas. These countries include:

Marshall Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Solomon Islands
Vatican City
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