State of Power 2021: Coercive World

Notes and references


The research for this infographic has been collected by our partners at Tipping Point North South. To find out more information, please see

We would also like to thank Chris Jones, Mark Akkerman, Felip Daza and the team at ODHE for providing insightful and critical feedback on the work.

If you have any questions, comments or corrections on this data and the infographics, we would love to hear from you. Please email stateofpower AT tni DOT org

Coercive Spending

Military spending

Source: SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2021

Eliminating extreme poverty and hunger (SDGs 1 and 2) would amount to only about 13 per cent of annual military spending. ( and

Policing/public order

Expenditure on public order & safety as % of GDP dataset is from IMF.
IMF’s own total are only in domestic currency and not adjusted for inflation so the following formula is used for meaningful year-by-year country-by-country comparison.
The formula is (% of GDP) * (constant-price GDP).
IMF have 4 sub-categories: General Government, Central, State and Local. Central+State+Local= General. For those without data for ‘Spending on public order & safety’ by General Government, corresponding figures for ‘Central Government’ were used to fill the gaps.
GDP is in constant 2010 price and from World Bank.

Police spending worldwide has risen even while the global crime rate has fallen by 21% since the early 1990s. (


Expenditure on prisons as % of GDP dataset is from IMF.

The formula is (% of GDP) * (constant-price GDP).

GDP is in constant 2010 price and from World Bank.

US data from U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances and adjusted to 2010 price by using US CPI (Consumer Price Index ).

Since 2000 the world prison population total has grown by almost 20%. (

Intelligence (US)

Source: Official Government Publications; Federation of American Scientists
The figures include budgets for both the National Intelligence Program and the Military Intelligence Program.

US national intelligence spending has more than doubled since 9/11. (

Border Agencies (US)

Source: Congressional budgets, gross budget authority as provided in Conference Reports, FY 2003-2021

The annual budgets of CBP and ICE has more than tripled since 2003. ( )

With more than 60,000 agents, US Customs and Border Patrol is one of the world’s largest law enforcement agencies. (

Geography of Coercion

Military spending

Source: SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2021

The US’ military budget is greater than the next ten countries combined. Just five countries (United States, China, India, Russia and Britain) account for 62% of world military spending. ( and

Military personnel

Source: IISS Military Balance (2021),

There are more armed forces personnel in the world than global workforce of doctors and nurses. (Armed forces personnel include active armed forces and active paramilitary, but not reservists. The nurse workforce includes nurses and midwives. Sources: International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance; The 2018 update, Global Health Workforce Statistics, World Health Organization

Public order spending

Expenditure on public order & safety is from IMF.
The formula is (% of GDP) * (constant-price GDP) / (Population).
Population figures are from UN’s World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision.
See also notes above for Coercive spending: Policing/public order

Intelligence employers

Source: A Study Into the Size of the World’s Intelligence Industry, Chris Hippner (2009)
These were estimated figures. Please see Hippner’s thesis for methodology.
The world’s intelligence industry spends approximately US$106 billion and employs about one million people. (

Police Personnel

Source: UNODC and some gaps filled with Wikipedia
The figures are mainly based on available data from UNODC. 2017 is chosen because this was the latest year without too many missing numbers. For countries lacking figures for 2017, figures for the latest available year are used. Figures provided in the Wikipedia are used for countries that failed to submit any data to UNODC.

Prison populations

Source: World Prison Brief (WPB)

There are more than 10.35 million people incarcerated throughout the world, more than the entire population of Portugal. 20% of the world’s prison population is in the US. (

Private military and security companies

Private security workers outnumber police forces in at least 44 countries. (

Infrastructure of Coercion

This infographic is based on interviews with key researchers:

Privatisation of Security

Global coercive companies

This is selected based on a mixed criteria of size of revenue, contracts in more than one coercive field (eg prisons and borders), global reach, strategic importance in field and known reports on its activities.  It is a selective and ultimately subjective list, because there is not only simple way eg revenue to assess their role and because there is insufficient transparency on corporations. Revenue for example would always show just military companies. Sometimes small companies play a very strategic role in coercive infrastructure. In other cases, private companies don’t declare revenue or provide data on contracts. Often little is known about companies involvement in coercive infrastructure unless a particular scandal emerges. We hope to continue refining these lists, and welcome thoughts, suggestions and inputs.

Military firms

Source: SIPRI, Mapping International Presence World’s largest arms companies (2020)

Border companies

This is based on TNI’s research together with StopWapenhandel on the border industry, which we have been gathering since 2015:
This has included investigations of the European border industry and the US border industry. Our most recent report, Financing Border Wars, expanded the investigation to Australia’s border industry as well as the key financial investors in strategic border and immigration enforcement companies.

Homeland security and intelligence companies

This is based on the initial research by Tim Shorrock in his book Spires for Hire (2018), complemented with data from as well as

Private Military and Security companies

This list and company descriptions are based on the research by the team at Observatory on Human Rights and Business in the Mediterranean Region ( and Shock Monitor (

Additional references for company descriptions:


This list and company descriptions are based on the research by the team at Observatory on Human Rights and Business in the Mediterranean Region ( and Shock Monitor (  The selection is determined by revenue, influence and known activities.

References for company descriptions: