English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. However, when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world, though possibly second to a combination of the Chinese languages (depending on whether or not distinctions in the latter are classified as “languages” or “dialects”).

Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly from 470 million to over a billion depending on how literacy or mastery is defined and measured. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.

The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are, in descending order: United States (215 million), United Kingdom (61 million), Canada (18.2 million), Australia (15.5 million), Nigeria (4 million), Ireland (3.8 million), South Africa (3.7 million), and New Zealand (3.6 million) 2006 Census.

914,398,325 People Speak English (2012)

       

Rank Country  % English Speakers Eligible Population Total English Speakers As First Language
1  United States 95.81% 262,375,152 251,388,301 215,423,557
2  India 23.2% 1,100,000,000 232,226,449 226,449
3  Nigeria 53.34% 148,093,000 79,000,000 4,000,000
4  United Kingdom 97.74% 60,975,000 59,600,000 58,100,000
5  Philippines 55.46% 97,000,000 49,800,000 3,427,000
6  Germany 56% 82,191,000 46,000,000 272,504
7  Canada 85.18% 33,355,400 25,246,220 17,694,830
8  France 36% 64,473,140 23,000,000
9  Pakistan 10.97% 164,157,000 18,000,000
10  Australia 97.03% 21,394,309 17,357,833 15,013,965
11  Italy 29% 59,619,290 17,000,000
12  Japan 11.75% 127,690,000 15,000,000 >93,500
13  The Netherlands 87% 16,445,000 14,000,000
14  South Africa 28.63% 47,850,700 13,700,000 3,673,203
15  Spain 27% 46,063,000 12,500,000
16  Turkey 17% 70,586,256 12,000,000
17  Poland 29% 38,115,967 11,000,000
18  China 0.77% 1,300,000,000 10,000,000
19  Sweden 89% 9,215,021 8,200,000
20  Cameroon 41.51% 18,549,000 7,700,000
21  Malaysia 27.24% 27,170,000 7,400,000 380,000
22  Russia 4.9% 141,888,900 6,955,315 1,804
23  Thailand 10% 63,038,247 6,549,329
24  Belgium 59% 10,584,534 6,250,000
24  Israel 84.97% 7,303,000 6,205,000 100,000
25  Romania 29% 21,438,000 6,200,000
26  Zimbabwe 41.58% 13,349,000 5,550,000 250,000
27  Greece 48% 11,147,000 5,350,000
28  Sierra Leone 83.53% 5,866,000 4,900,000 500,000
29  Mexico 4.55% 106,682,500 4,855,000
30  Austria 58% 8,340,924 4,800,000
31  Denmark 86% 5,489,022 4,720,000
32  Switzerland 61.28% 7,637,300 4,680,000 73,400
33  Ireland 98.37% 4,422,100 4,350,000 4,122,100
34  Singapore 80% 5,076,700 4,061,360 665,087
35  Tanzania 9.89% 40,454,000 4,000,000
36  New Zealand 97.82% 4,275,100 3,673,623 3,700,000
37  Bangladesh 2.21% 158,665,000 3,500,000
38=  Finland 63% 5,331,483 3,400,000
38=  Portugal 32% 10,623,000 3,400,000
40  Papua New Guinea 49.76% 6,331,000 3,150,000 150,000
41  Liberia 82.67% 3,750,000 3,100,000 600,000
42  Kenya 7.19% 37,538,000 2,700,000
43  Jamaica 97.64% 2,714,000 2,650,000 2,600,000
44=  Uganda 8.09% 30,884,000 2,500,000
44=  Hong Kong 35.9% 6,963,100 2,500,000 200,000
44=  Czech Republic 24% 10,403,136 2,500,000
47  Hungary 23% 10,043,000 2,300,000
48  Croatia 49% 4,555,000 2,200,000
49  Puerto Rico 48.61% 3,991,000 1,940,000 100,000
50=  Sri Lanka 9.9% 19,299,000 1,910,000 10,000
50=  Zambia 16.02% 11,922,000 1,910,000 110,000
52  Bosnia and Herzegovina 45% 4,000,000 1,800,000
53  Bulgaria 23% 7,640,238 1,800,000
54=  Slovakia 32% 5,402,273 1,700,000
54=  Ghana 5.96% 23,478,000 1,400,000
56  Slovenia 57% 2,023,358 1,200,000
57  Trinidad and Tobago 87.74% 1,305,000 1,145,000 1,145,000
58  Lithuania 32% 3,369,600 1,100,000
59  Latvia 39% 2,270,700 900,000
60  Guyana 90.55% 751,000 680,000 650,000
61  Botswana 38.42% 1,639,833 630,000
62  Estonia 46% 1,340,602 620,000
63  Cyprus 76% 794,600 600,000
64  Malawi 3.88% 13,931,831 540,000 209
65  Lesotho 27.86% 1,795,000 500,000
66  Suriname 87.09% 470,784 410,000 260,000
67  Malta 88% 419,285 370,000
68  Namibia 17.24% 1,820,916 314,000 14,000
69  Luxembourg 60% 480,222 290,000
70  Bahamas 87.13% 330,549 288,000 260,000
69  Barbados 98.57% 279,000 275,000 262,000
70  Belize 81.65% 301,270 246,000 190,000
71  Mauritius 15.97% 1,264,866 202,000 2,000
72  Vanuatu 83.55% 215,446 180,000 60,000
73  Fiji 20.62% 853,445 176,000 6,000
74  Solomon Islands 31.68% 552,438 175,000 10,000
75  Ethiopia 0.22% 78,254,090 171,712 1,986
76  Guam 91.09% 173,456 158,000 58,000
77  Brunei 37.76% 381,371 144,000 10,000
78  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 95% 120,000 114,000 114,000
79  U.S. Virgin Islands 95.97% 108,448 113,000 98,000
80=  Grenada 90.91% 110,000 100,000 100,000
82  Samoa 49.86% 188,540 94,000 1,000
83  Isle of Man 99.93% 80,058 80,000 80,000
84  Bhutan 11.4% 658,000 75,000
85  Saint Lucia 43.04% 165,000 71,000 31,000
86  Northern Mariana Islands 83.33% 84,000 70,000 5,000
87  Antigua and Barbuda 80% 85,000 68,000 66,000
88  American Samoa 100% 67,000 67,000 2,000
89  Federated States of Micronesia 57.66% 111,000 64,000 4,000
90=  Bermuda 96.92% 65,000 63,000 63,000
90=  Dominica 94.03% 67,000 63,000 3,000
92  Marshall Islands 59,000 60,000
93  Swaziland 4.38% 1,141,000 50,000
94  Aruba 42.31% 104,000 44,000 9,000
95  Gambia 2.34% 1,709,000 40,000
96  Saint Kitts and Nevis 78% 50,000 39,000 39,000
97  Cayman Islands 76.7% 47,000 36,000 36,000
98  Seychelles 37.93% 87,000 33,000 3,000
99  Honduras 0.44% 7,106,000 31,500 31,500
100=  Gibraltar 28,875 30,000 28,000
100=  Tonga 30% 100,000 30,000
102  Kiribati 24.21% 95,000 23,000
103=  Rwanda 0.21% 9,725,000 20,000
103=  British Virgin Islands 86.96% 23,000 20,000 20,000
105  Palau 92.5% 20,000 18,500 500
106  Andorra 22% 81,222 17,869
107  Anguilla 92.31% 13,000 12,000 12,000
108  Nauru 10,000 10,300 800
109  Dominican Republic 0.08% 9,760,000 8,000 8,000
110  Saint Helena 81.82% 6,600 5,400 5,400
111=  Cook Islands 19.8% 20,200 4,000 1,000
111=  Montserrat 67.8% 5,900 4,000 4,000
113  British Indian Ocean Territory 100% 3,500 3,500 3,500
114  Lebanon 80.51% 4,099,000 3,300000
115  Niue 1,600 2,160 78
116  Falkland Islands 95.54% 3,140 3,000 1,991
117  Netherlands Antilles 50% 192,000 96,000
118  Norfolk Island 79.38% 2,114 1,678 1,678
119  Turks and Caicos Islands 3.54% 26,000 920 920
120  Guadeloupe 0.05% 408,000 200 200
121  Saint Pierre and Miquelon 3.07% 6,125 188 188
122  Pitcairn 92% 50 46 46
123  Tokelau 2.86% 1,400 40 40
124  Norway 91% 4,920,500 4,477,655
World 17.65% 6,718,045,021 914,398,325 331,000,000

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