English Language Statistics: How Many People Speak English Worldwide?

English is the most widely spoken language in the world, with 2.2 billion native speakers (as of July 2018). The English language also has many regional variations and dialects. The biggest difference between British English and American English is vocabulary.

How many people speak English worldwide?

The English language is the most widely spoken language in the world, with over one billion native speakers and a total of over two billion people who speak it as a second language. English has become a global lingua franca, used by more than 150 million people in 130 countries around the world.

A Brief History of English

The English language was formed in the 9th century by combining a large number of dialects and languages, including what became known as Old Norse (the ancestor of modern Scandinavian) with some old Germanic Gothic, Celtic, Latin, and other Mediterranean languages. It is sometimes referred to as Anglo-Saxon or Anglish “Angūson” from an original present “anguish”.

A Look at the English-Speaking Countries

The United Kingdom is home to over 300 million people who speak English as their first language, making it the most spoken official language in Western Europe. For many others, English remains a second or foreign language.

“Other Countries with significant numbers of native speakers include India (1.21 billion), Nigeria (210 million), Canada, and South Africa, which have about 175 million each; Pakistan (170+); Brazil (150+ ), Mexico (130+); Australia, the Philippines, and Ireland (120+).”

Here are the countries where people speak English is spoken as an official language:

  • Antigua
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands (part of the USA)
  • India Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Panama

English Speaking European Countries

English-speaking European countries have a lot in common and for this reason, many of them are members of the United Kingdom or its former colonies. They do not all use English as their official language (set aside Ireland which is an outstanding exception to this point), but they also share several characteristics sometimes referred to with “Anglosphere countries”, one such characteristic would be that their insignia includes lions on a shield (Ireland, Malta, England) or a flag featuring these lions (England, Germany, the Netherlands ).

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Here are those countries with a high prevalence of English speakers:

  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • United States
  • Guernsey
  • Malta

English Speaking Countries in Asia

These are mainly countries of the Commonwealth of Nations as well in Oceania (such as Bali, New Zealand, Australia ) Great Britain, Ireland, and Canada that make up its Anglophone empires. Still part of the British Empire they speak English but also varieties originating from Nigeria to Malayalam. Thailand is an example.

And those with a high prevalence:

  • Australia
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica

English Speaking Countries in Africa

As in the case of Asia and Oceania, this is an area where English has been made official or when it was imposed on local languages. Although these countries mainly settled British colonialists or are former colonies themselves, they did not all adhere to English as a lingua franca but several of them also have begun using it rather soon too:

And those with a high prevalence:

  • Cameroon
  • Ghana
  • Benin
  • Zambia
  • Namibia
  • Kenya
  • Mauritius
  • Botswana
  • Malaysia

English Speaking Countries in Oceania

New Zealand in particular, Australia, and Papua New Guinea are examples of this. However also Tahiti, Fiji (former colony too) Maori is something that developed a lot around the fifteenth century or so as part of Second Fleet by Captain Cook’s men, but not only them did use it at locations like England. Today many will still speak either English or French for communication purposes since there is no assimilation process underway within the island’s nations yet.

And those with a high prevalence:

  • New Zealand
  • Queensland
  • Australia
  • Papua
  • New Guinea
  • Maori
  • Tahiti
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How many people speak English, and where is it spoken?

England, 15%

USA 6%

Australia 5.8 %

Mexico 3.2 %

New Zealand 2.9 %

India 30 cantons that include Zurich 0.6%. Philippines 1 republic and 97 provinces of which only 150 000 may speak English 80 thousand in Taiwan (Chinese) 11 million in Nigeria 8 million nearly between the ’50s to 80s can still speak French around 20-30 million people use Spanish today old colonies like in Latin America there can be between 30 and 50 “linguas maternal” in each country, around 99% of them are just regional varieties while school or media language is already standardized.

Countries where English is an official language

In some countries where English is an official language, people who understand it may have up to 9/10 of all population speakers.

But also in countries like Nigeria where English is commonly used as lingua franca and many follow different languages or regional cultures, that makes the number of all speaking users is less than 50% at best. (Some would speak their own local dialect ) but this article studies mostly those places whose ages have seen the assimilation process already underway.

It’s one of the few Top languages used in philology circles, so It has a lot to offer when it comes to providing information about populations that can be related to our work on these territories. Let’s have its statistics: 100 million people may use English as either first or second language (USA) 300 million outside the United States and Canada are potential users with a 15-20% prevalence rate of 60 percent.

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Is English the most spoken language worldwide?

In fact, we just need to count the total number of speakers, not unreachable 16000 million in 2092, when it may reach twice as much now. But still no single language holds globally so many spoken users or that this use becomes a monolingual system, even English doesn’t have a monopoly on all kinds of languages (the goal of the UN).

Even though fraternal England and France share about 60% among them, Spanish-speaking Castile- la Mancha, Aragon-Languedoc, French, and Catalan share almost 40% between them.


  1. http://www.lincsgc.org
  2. http://www3.unesco [dot] org/English/glossary_en [More…]
  3. Localization and Globalisation: The Case of English” by R Harries, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Nº1 (2003)
  4. http://en.wikipedia [dot] org
  5. “List Of Languages”

In conclusion, this data is not proof of language dominance, it’s just evidence of the fact that English has become one of the most used languages in the world.

It’s clear that English is the main source for many people to learn other languages, and that there are other languages with a very high number of speakers which can be useful to us as well (and we will see them in the next articles). But in my opinion, the more languages we use ourselves, the better independency and understanding of people.