Project description

Military expenditure, also known as the defence budget, is the amount of financial resources dedicated by a nation to raising and maintaining its armed forces and making acquisitions for defence purposes. As defence is a necessary evil, each country spends on its defence as per its threat perception, the strength of its economy, and also during emergency situations like facing a war-like situation on its border.

We at Rediff Labs analyzed the military expenditure data in order to monitor and analyze trends in military expenditure over time, looking at the nations’ economic, political and security drivers and their implications for global peace, security, and development.

We analyzed the data on military expenditure put out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute or SIPRI.

What makes this project innovative?

We have visualized the data on multimaps in three ways. The military expenditure is shown as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product of a country, as a percentage of government spending and as per capita in $ (US dollars). Military expenditure is visualized on chart where India and its major neighbours China and Pakistan are compared with the top three countries where it is shown as a percentage of GDP spent on the military, as per capita (USD), and as a share of government spending.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The readership for this project is in the range of 80000 and still counting

Source and methodology

GDP is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a nation’s economy. The chart shows the top three countries where the percentage of GDP spend on the military is high. It is compared with India, China and Pakistan, and shows the trend in expenditure on military from 1996 to 2016.

From the data it can be seen that India spends a lower percentage on defence compared to Pakistan and more when compared to China.

The military expenditure of all countries in 2016 as a percentage of GDP is visualized on a map, from which it can be seen that the top countries are Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria and Kuwait.

The countries which spend a lower percentage of their GDP on military are Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, Ireland and Nigeria.

In the second chart, we have visualized India and its neighbours’ military expenditure per capita in US dollars. India and China can be seen to have gradually increased their military spend. China has gone from spending 11$ per capita in 1996 to $155 per capita in 2016, while India has gone from spending $10 per capita to $42 per capita. Pakistan had gone from spending $28 per capita in 1996 to $20 per capita in 2001, but it spent $52 per capita in 2016.

In the map which shows a country’s military expenditure as per capita USD, the top countries which spend higher on military as per capita are Israel with $2193 (topping the list) followed by Saudi Arabia with $1978, Oman with $1953$, the United States with $1886 and Singapore with $1749.

The countries that spend the least on military per capita are Malawi at $1.9, Madagascar $2.4, Liberia $2.7, Mozambique $3.9 and Sierra Leone $4.1.

Military expenditure as a share of government spending is the percentage of the amount spent on military by the government against its total expenditure. The third chart shows how India spends on its military as a percentage of government spending and compares it to top countries which spend a higher percentage, and to its neighbours.

When compared to Pakistan and China India spent a lower percentage in 1996 but over time it has gone through a roller-coaster ride. In 2016 it spent 8.9 percent while China spent 6.2 percent and Pakistan spent 18.1 percent.

From the map which shows military expenditure as a share of government spending in 2016, the countries with highest percentage spend on military are Oman (29.6%), Saudi Arabia (27.6%), Sudan (24.7%), Pakistan (18.1%) and Iran (17.7%).

The countries which spend a lower amount are Equatorial Guinea (0.60%), Mauritius (0.70%), Venezuela (0.70%) and Ireland (1.20%).

Technologies Used

Microsoft Excel and Rediff’s own Maps platform based on OpenStreetMap

Project members

Gagan Bansal, Maps Architect


Project owner administration

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