English Language

Approximately 330 to 360 million people speak English as their first language. With 258 million native speakers, the United States of America comprises the majority of the global total. As pictured in the pie graph below, most native speakers of English are Americans.

Additionally, there are 60 million native English speakers in the United Kingdom, 19 million in Canada, 25.1 million in Australia, 4.7 million in the Republic of Ireland, and 4.9 million in New Zealand. Other countries also use English as their primary and official languages.

In the European Union, English is one of 24 official languages and is widely used by institutions and majority of the population as native (United Kingdom and Ireland) and as a second language in other member states.

English is the third largest language by the number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish.

Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from 470 million to more than 1 billion. David Crystal calculates that, as of 2003, non-native speakers outnumbered native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. When combining native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language worldwide.

Besides the major varieties of English, such as British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, Irish English, New Zealand English and their sub-varieties, countries such as South Africa, India, the Philippines, Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from English-based creole languages to Standard English.

India now claims to be the world’s second-largest English-speaking country. The most reliable estimate is around 10% of its population or 125 million people, second only to the US and expected to quadruple in the next decade.