In a world where nuclear weapons exist and warfare continues to occur, countries having large militaries comes as no surprise. While the size of most militaries is generally relevant to the population of each country — so more populated countries generally have larger militaries — some countries have a surprisingly large military presence per capita, or in relation to each individual. Here are the largest militaries in the world in terms of raw numbers of personnel. The following figures were gathered from the 2017 edition of “The Military Balance,” which is published annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Vietnam has a massive reserve unit of 5 million people. Its number of active personnel is lower at 482,000, bringing its number of service members per capita to 5.1. Though maybe not viewed as large in relation to some of the other militaries from around the world, Vietnam’s military is considered large when factoring its population of 96 million people and the country’s relatively small size, which is smaller in landmass than Japan.
Iran might have a fairly modest military with 523,000 active-duty personnel and 350,000 personnel in the reserves, but with a population of just over 82 million, this number is also relatively large. Iran’s number of military members per capita is 6.3, which is the third-largest in the world.
7. South Korea
South Korea is one spot above Iran with the second-largest number of military personnel per capita at 12.4. The country has a large group of reserves at 7.5 million people, though a much smaller active number of service members at 630,000 people. With a population of over 51 million, nearly one-sixth of South Koreans are in the country’s military.
Do you know which country has the largest military in terms of per capita? Click ‘next’ to read on and find out!