NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

World Military Spending Remains Flat

June 29, 2001

From 1990 to 1998, world governments reduced their outlays for arms. Since then, world military spending has remained flat.

  • From 1990 to 2000, world military spending fell from 3.7 percent to 2.4 percent of global gross domestic product.
  • Industrial countries devoted about 2.5 percent of GDP to defense expenditures in 2000, according to International Monetary Fund estimates -- while developing countries spent 2.1 percent of GDP on arms.
  • Developing nations in the Middle East allotted 7.8 of GDP to military spending -- or about 29 percent of their total government spending.
  • The newly industrialized Asian economies spent 3.3 percent of GDP -- or 15.4 percent of government outlays -- on the military.

The lowest spenders were the developing countries of the Western Hemisphere. They devoted just 1.2 percent of GDP -- or 7 percent of government budgets -- to military matters last year.

Source: Gene Koretz, "Economic Trends: Arms Spending: The Slide Stops," Business Week, July 2, 2001.


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