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While watching Naruto, I had this same question,

How were there 80,000 ninjas in the Shinobi World War in Naruto?

And one of the conclusions I came up with was also the conclusion of the accepted answer:

As you can see, the village is quite large. I can estimate a population of over 100,000 easily. Since many of them are shinobi, I don't think it's exaggerated to think that there are at least 12,000 shinobi there (probably more).

(I think the wikia stated somewhere that it has around 80,000 persons, so I thought may be the thousands of ninjas actually came from there)

But that doesnt explain very well why was Tsunade always short of ninjas for the missions. How is this explained? Is there an elite of ninjas that can only be chosen for missions, are the rest of ninjas from the land of fire in the 4th shinobi war actually coming from other villages in the land of fire or what?

If there are thousands of ninjas in Konoha, why was Tsunade always short of ninjas for the missions in the anime?

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    Not really a full fledge answer, so posting as comment: I highly doubt there are 80,000 ninjas in Konoha. Perhaps the wiki meant 80,000 residents, as there are many villagers who are not apart of Konoha's military. Perhaps on a regular basis, Konoha has only a handful of active shinobi and the spike of numbers were through some required military draft Jun 23 at 17:13
  • @Wondercricket sorry I meant persons and I wrote ninjas. Edited.
    – Pablo
    Jun 23 at 18:25
  • Also, supposing Naruto belonged to an elite class of ninjas both when graduated and in the academy (the ninjas chosen for the missions are always the ones Naruto had as classmates in the academy) , why was he always portrayed as a loser? Doesnt this rule out that possibility, leaving only other options such as most ninjas in the 4th shinobi war came from other villages? Also, if there were around 16,000 ninjas in Konoha, shouldnt they have been able to counter Pain? Otherwise which use did they have against 5 pains, 5 kages , several other top ninjas and the 100,000 white zetsus?
    – Pablo
    Jun 23 at 18:31
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I'm not exactly sure but I think that some of the missions that Tsunade assigns are like B, A or S rank missions, and most of the ninja aren't very competent, furthermore, about 75% of the Village Hidden In The Leaves are civilians. Another possibility is that most of the teams are out on other missions.

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