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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

Which Countries Meet NATO’s Spending Target?

In 2023, only 11 member countries reached NATO’s target of spending 2% of their country’s GDP on defense.

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Bar chart showing Nato defense spending by country

Which Countries Meet NATO’s Spending Target?

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.

In 2006, NATO defense ministers agreed that each member country would commit a minimum of 2% of its GDP to defense spending.

This graphic breaks down which members are keeping the agreement, based on data from NATO as of July 2023.

Poland Leads Ahead of the U.S.

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 and ensure mutual defense and security.

In 2023, only 11 member countries were on track to meet NATO’s target of spending 2% of their country’s GDP on defense.

The U.S. accounted for 68% of the total defense expenditures by NATO countries, or $860 billion. This amount is over 10 times more than the second-placed country, Germany, if measured in absolute terms.

However, compared to the country’s GDP, the U.S. appears in second place with spending of 3.5% of GDP, behind Poland’s defense spending of $29.1 billion or 3.9% of GDP.

CountryDefense spending in 2023E (% of GDP)
🇵🇱 Poland*3.9
🇺🇸 United States3.5
🇬🇷 Greece3.0
🇪🇪 Estonia2.7
🇱🇹 Lithuania*2.5
🇫🇮 Finland2.5
🇷🇴 Romania*2.4
🇭🇺 Hungary2.4
🇱🇻 Latvia*2.3
🇬🇧 United Kingdom2.1
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic2.0
🇫🇷 France1.9
🇲🇪 Montenegro1.9
🇲🇰 North Macedonia1.9
🇧🇬 Bulgaria1.8
🇭🇷 Croatia1.8
🇦🇱 Albania1.8
🇳🇱 Netherlands1.7
🇳🇴 Norway1.7
🇩🇰 Denmark1.7
🇩🇪 Germany1.6
🇨🇿 Czechia1.5
🇵🇹 Portugal1.5
🇮🇹 Italy1.5
🇨🇦 Canada1.4
🇸🇮 Slovenia1.4
🇹🇷 Turkiye1.3
🇪🇸 Spain1.3
🇧🇪 Belgium1.1
🇱🇺 Luxembourg0.7

Situated in a crucial geopolitical location in Central Europe, Poland has increased its military spending in recent years, primarily due to concerns about escalating instability along the country’s eastern border with Belarus. According to polls, two-thirds of Poles hold a favorable opinion regarding NATO’s activities.

On the other hand, significant economic and military powers are among the members that are falling short. The list includes France (1.9%), Italy (1.5%), Canada (1.4%), and Germany (1.6%).

Despite being on the 2% list, the U.K. reduced the percentage spent in recent years from 2.14% in 2014 to an estimated 2.07% in 2023.

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