Which Countries Have the Most Nuclear Weapons?


This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist


Visualizing Countries with the Most Nuclear Weapons

Which Countries Have the Most Nuclear Weapons?

In theory, nuclear weapon stockpiles are closely held national secrets. The leading countries have rough estimates that aren’t regularly updated, newly nuclear countries keep their capabilities vague and unclear, and Israel has never officially confirmed a nuclear weapons program.

But thanks to limited disclosures, records, and leaks, we can visualize the full extent of the world’s nuclear arsenal. This graphic uses estimated nuclear warhead inventories from the Federation of American Scientists as of August 2021.

Based on these estimates, there are just nine countries with nuclear weapons in the world.

Nuclear Weapons, by Country

The nuclear arms race has always centered around the U.S. and Russia.

After the end of World War II and well into the Cold War, the world’s two superpowers raced to build more nuclear weapons (and more capable nuclear weapons) than the other.

Even while international organizations lobbied for the end of nuclear proliferation, the world’s nuclear weapon stockpile grew to a peak of 70,300 total warheads in 1986.

As arms agreements and non-proliferation treaties started to gain greater momentum, the U.S. and Russia cut back on stockpiles while new countries with nuclear weapons started to pop up.

CountryTotal Warheads (2021)% of Total
?? Russia6,25747.7%
?? U.S.5,55042.3%
?? China3502.67%
?? France2902.21%
?? UK2251.71%
?? Pakistan1651.26%
?? India1601.22%
?? Israel900.69%
?? North Korea450.34%

Despite reducing their stockpiles significantly since the end of the Cold War, Russia and the (Read more...)