English speaking countries

English speaking countries

The United Kingdom and the US are the first countries that come to mind for most people when speaking about English speaking countries. These two are in fact countries with most native speakers but in terms of all people that speak English just tip of the iceberg. 

Over 1,5 billion people in the world are English speakers, but only around 375 million are native, while others speak it as a second language. 

There is also a long list of countries where English is an official language but not primary language at the same time.

Native English speaking countries

Most of the native speakers live in a few well-known strongholds of the English language. Above mentioned United States of America, the United Kingdom along with Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia form the majority of the 375 million native speakers. Other countries that are classified as having the majority of native English speaking population are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Countries with the most English speakers

The United States of America have most English speakers in the world, but not all of them are native speakers. Out of 268 million Americans, a whopping 43 million speak it as a second language. 

Emerging world superpower India has the second largest number of English speakers. English is one of the official languages in India, but only 125 million out of almost 1,3 billion population speaks the language, and they predominantly speak it as a second language.

Neighboring Pakistan follows with 94 million, which is almost half of the population. Similar to India, most people speak it as a second language.

English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, and there are 90 million Filipinos or around 90% that speak it as a second language.

Nigeria follows this list with 79M speakers, and around half of the population use English as a second language.

The United Kingdom has 59,6 million English speakers, almost all native. The UK is the birthplace of modern day English language, and although American and Australian English have some differences, there are more ties than differences.

Australia is one of the largest countries with English as a national and official language, but the size of the population is not among top English speaking countries. Almost all of 23 million Aussies speak English, and around 17M speak only English language, and approximately 819,000 people don't have excellent English language skills

Countries with the best proficiency score in English as a second language

Not all countries where English is spoken as a second language are the same. Some are notorious for lousy pronunciation, and some just have the necessary skills. On the other side of the spectrum, Scandinavian countries are known for great English language skills.

EF English proficiency index is the world standard for ranking countries and regions by English skills, and northern Europeans are significantly represented on this list.

Sweden is currently at the top of the list of the countries most proficient in English outside the native speakers with very high proficiency and EF EPI score of 70,72. 

The Netherlands is just inches under the Sweden top spot, and for years held the first place. Singapore has English as an official language unlike Sweden and Netherlands but lags with the EF EPI score of 68.63. 

Norway is another Scandinavian country always ranked among the top in English language proficiency, and its currently holding fourth place. 

Denmark is fifth with a score of 67.34. Like other Scandinavian languages, they share a Germanic origin with the English, similar sentence structure and some words that date back from Viking invasion of England. Also, English is often working language in many companies. 

South Africa is sixth on the list, with English being official business language, and most spoken out of 11 official state languages.

Four European countries finish the Top 10 list with the highest English proficiency index, and those are Luxemburg, Finland, Slovenia, and Germany.

All other English speaking countries

Besides countries that have native speakers, a list of countries with English as an official language is much longer. Sometimes it's about countries with a diverse population like India or Nigeria where many languages are spoken, and English is because of the colonial past common denominator. Some of the countries on the list are part of the Commonwealth, and some just have native speakers. 

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burundi
  • Cameroon, Canada, Cook Islands
  • Dominica
  • Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji
  • Ghana, Grenada, Guyana
  • India, Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya, Kiribati
  • Lesotho, Liberia
  • Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius
  • Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nigeria, Niue
  • Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland
  • Tanzania, The Gambia, Tonga, Trinidad, and Tobago, Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe

English is with 1,5 billion speakers most widespread language, and most significant because of his use in business and on the Internet.

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How many native English speakers are there?

There are around 375 million native English speakers.

What country has the greatest number of English speakers?

The US have most English speakers in the world, but not all of them are native speakers.

Where did the English language originate?

The UK is the birthplace of modern day English language.

In which country do English speakers have the best proficiency?

Scandinavian countries have great English language skills.

Why is English spoken by so many people?

English is the language of business and the Internet.

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