English Worldwide


In how many countries is the English language spoken?

English is the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish. Approximately 330 to 360 million people speak English as their first language. Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from 470 million to more than 1 billion. When combining native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language worldwide.

The United States has the most native speakers at 258 million. Additionally, there are 60 million native English speakers in the United Kingdom, 19 million in Canada, 16.5 million in Australia, 4.5 million in Ireland, and 3.8 million in New Zealand.

There are six large countries with a majority of native English speakers that are sometimes grouped under the term Anglosphere: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

English is also the primary natively spoken language in the countries and territories of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda,  the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey, Guyana, the Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Other substantial communities of native speakers are found in South Africa and Nigeria.

In some countries where English is not the most spoken language, it is an official language; these countries include Botswana, Cameroon (co-official with French), the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There also are countries where in a part of the territory English became a co-official language, e.g. Colombia’s San Andrés y Providencia and Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast. This was a result of the influence of British colonization in the area.