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This is How Much NATO Countries Spend on Defense

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Visualizing NATO Defense Spending by Country

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This Is How Much NATO Countries Spend on Defense

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exists for the sole purpose of facilitating a political and military alliance between almost 30 countries. All are obligated to one another in times of war, but some countries have much stronger militaries and defense systems than others.

Using data from NATO, this map reveals what each NATO member country spends on its own national defense.

Note: Numbers are 2021 projections.

Biggest NATO Defense Spenders

The U.S. spends more on defense than any other NATO country.

According to the 2021 estimates, U.S. defense spending will be close to $811 billion this year. On the other hand, the defense spending of all other NATO countries combined is projected to be $363 billion, meaning the U.S. will outspend all other countries by a whopping $448 billion.

RankCountryMillions (USD) 2021pChange (2014-2021)
#1🇺🇸 United States$811,14024.0%
#2🇬🇧 United Kingdom$72,76510.8%
#3🇩🇪 Germany$64,78540.3%
#4🇫🇷 France$58,72912.9%
#5🇮🇹 Italy$29,76321.5%
#6🇨🇦 Canada$26,52346.0%
#7🇪🇸 Spain$14,87517.7%
#8🇳🇱 Netherlands$14,37838.9%
#9🇵🇱 Poland$13,36932.3%
#10🇹🇷 Turkey$13,057-3.8%
#11🇳🇴 Norway$8,2927.4%
#12🇬🇷 Greece$8,01453.1%
#13🇧🇪 Belgium$6,50325.1%
#14🇷🇴 Romania$5,785114.9%
#15🇩🇰 Denmark$5,52236.1%
#16🇨🇿 Czech Republic$4,013103.2%
#17🇵🇹 Portugal$3,97532.2%
#18🇭🇺 Hungary$2,907140.3%
#19🇸🇰 Slovakia$2,043104.6%
#20🇭🇷 Croatia$1,84673.6%
#21🇱🇹 Lithuania$1,278198.8%
#22🇧🇬 Bulgaria$1,25367.7%
#23🇱🇻 Latvia$851189.9%
#24🇪🇪 Estonia$78753.2%
#25🇸🇮 Slovenia$76056.0%
#26🇱🇺 Luxembourg$47487.4%
#27🇦🇱 Albania$23933.8%
#28🇲🇰 North Macedonia$21976.6%
#29🇲🇪 Montenegro$9740.0%

NATO is based on building up forces and equipment for the goal of joint security and defense. And, despite the pandemic, many members did increase their spending in 2020.

However, not all countries contribute equally. The agreed-upon target for European NATO members, for example, is to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024, but many countries are not on track to meet this goal.

Who Pays for NATO Itself?

One of the key pillars of NATO is collective defense: a commitment to the idea that an act of violence against one or more of its member states is an act of aggression towards all.

Collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis management are at the heart of NATO’s purpose and operations.

Apart from defense spending, running a transcontinental political alliance costs around $3 billion annually. So which countries foot the bill for these expenses?

CountryCost Share Arrangements
(2021-2024)
🇺🇸 United States16.36%
🇩🇪 Germany16.36%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom11.29%
🇫🇷 France10.50%
🇮🇹 Italy8.79%
🇨🇦 Canada6.88%
🇪🇸 Spain6.00%
🇹🇷 Turkey4.73%
🇳🇱 Netherlands3.45%
🇵🇱 Poland2.99%
🇧🇪 Belgium2.11%
🇳🇴 Norway1.78%
🇩🇰 Denmark1.31%
🇷🇴 Romania1.23%
🇬🇷 Greece1.06%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic1.06%
🇵🇹 Portugal1.05%
🇭🇺 Hungary0.76%
🇸🇰 Slovakia0.52%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria0.37%
🇭🇷 Croatia0.30%
🇱🇹 Lithuania0.26%
🇸🇮 Slovenia0.23%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg0.17%
🇱🇻 Latvia0.16%
🇪🇪 Estonia0.12%
🇦🇱 Albania0.09%
🇮🇸 Iceland0.06%
🇲🇪 Montenegro0.03%
Total 100.00%

Members have pre-arranged mechanisms to divide NATO alliance expenses evenly.

Getting into specifics, the members are paying for:

  • Civilian staff wages and overhead costs of running NATO headquarters.
  • Running strategic commands, joint operations, early warning and radar systems, training, etc.
  • Defense communications systems, harbors, airfields, and fuel supplies.

The Future of NATO

While outright nation-on-nation conflict is becoming more rare, threats to the collective security of NATO allies have not disappeared.

While countries may have differing opinions over the exact amount each should contribute, rising expenditures are a sign that NATO is still a priority for the near future.

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Politics

Breaking Down $1.3T in NATO Defense Spending

The U.S. accounts for 68% of NATO’s total combined defense spending.

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Voronoi graphic breaking down $1.3T in NATO defense spending in 2023.

Breaking down $1.3T in NATO Defense Spending

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a political and military alliance comprising 31 countries. Its primary purpose is to facilitate cooperation among member nations, ensuring mutual defense and security.

This graphic breaks down the expected defense expenditures of NATO members in 2023, using data from NATO and based on current prices and exchange rates.

U.S. Dominance of NATO’s Defense Spending

NATO defines defense expenditure as payments made by a national government, excluding regional, local, and municipal authorities, specifically to fulfill the requirements of its armed forces. It requires members to spend at least 2% of its GDP on defense.

A major component of defense expenditure includes payments for active armed forces personnel as well as retired pensioners. Expenditures for stockpiling war reserves of military equipment or supplies are also included. Additionally, it encompasses expenditures for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, as well as the destruction of weapons.

The U.S. is by far the largest contributor to NATO’s budget. In 2023, the country accounted for $860 billion spent by the organization, representing 68% of the total expenditure. This amount is over 10 times more than that of the second-placed country, Germany.

Country2023 Defense Spending (USD, Millions)*
🇺🇸 United States$860,000
🇩🇪 Germany$68,080
🇬🇧 United Kingdom$65,763
🇫🇷 France$56,649
🇮🇹 Italy$31,585
🇵🇱 Poland$29,105
🇨🇦 Canada$28,950
🇪🇸 Spain$19,179
🇳🇱 Netherlands$16,741
🇹🇷 Türkiye$15,842
🇳🇴 Norway$8,814
🇷🇴 Romania$8,481
🇫🇮 Finland$7,325
🇬🇷 Greece$7,125
🇧🇪 Belgium$7,076
🇩🇰 Denmark$6,775
🇭🇺 Hungary$5,036
🇨🇿 Czechia$5,033
🇵🇹 Portugal$4,167
🌐 Other$12,400

U.S. defense spending, within the context of NATO, aims to support European allies, deter adversaries like Russia, and gain access to additional military resources, among other objectives.

In 2018, then-President Trump sent letters to NATO allies demanding that they spend more on defense to meet the 2% minimum target. In recent years, however, the U.S. has increased its spending, experiencing a 6% jump compared to 2021.

The Future of NATO

After two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, NATO has mostly maintained its unity against Moscow.

The alliance has expanded with Finland’s membership in 2023 and will likely include Sweden soon.

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