Last year saw an increase in global military spending despite the damage the coronavirus lockdowns did to the world’s economy. A new study from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found total global military expenditures rose to $1.98 trillion in 2020, representing a 2.6 percent increase from 2019.
The 2.6 percent increase came as the global gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 4.4 percent. Military spending accounted for 2.4 percent of the global GDP, a figure known as the military burden. The military burden for the 2019 global GDP was 2.2 percent. The increase in military burden from 2019 to 2020 represents the most significant year-on-year rise since the 2009 financial crisis.
As always is the case, the US was by far the biggest spender. The SIPRI study estimated that the US spent $778 billion on its military, accounting for 39 percent of the global total. US military spending saw a 4.4 percent increase from 2019. The study said 2020 marked the third consecutive rise in military spending for the US after seven years of continuous reductions.
Following the US in spending was China at $252 billion, a 1.9 percent increase from 2019. India came in third at $72.9 billion, followed by Russia at $61.7 billion. Notably, Russia’s spending was 6.6 percent lower than its military budget for the year. The UK was the fifth-highest spender at $59.2 billion.