English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and it is the official language of many countries. But have you ever wondered how many countries speak English as their official language?
Well, the answer might surprise you. While many believe that English is only spoken in a handful of countries, there are over 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities where English is recognized as the official language.
From the United States and the United Kingdom to countries in Africa and Asia, English has become a global language for communication, trade, and diplomacy.
In this article, we will explore the countries where English is the official language and take a closer look at the history behind the spread of the English language.
How Many Countries Speak English in 2023?
Discover how many countries speak English worldwide with our comprehensive list of English-speaking nations on each continent. Keep reading to find out!
English Speaking Countries in North & South America
The United States of America does not identify any language as its official language. Still, it is well-known that most people identify English as their first language and use it daily. English is also the primary language used for educational and official activities.
After the USA, Canada is another English-speaking country in North America. English is Canada’s official language, followed by its second official language, French. Most of Canada’s population is bilingual and speaks both.
Countries that recognize English as their official language are:
- Puerto Rico
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- The Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Antigua and Barbuda
Please note that even though some countries recognize English as their official language, a significant portion of their population doesn’t speak English.
Countries that Speak English in Europe
A study by the Eurydice network concluded that about 90% of European schoolchildren learn English at some stage of their primary education. But that doesn’t mean they’re proficient in English as they grow up.
Several European countries and territories speak English chiefly and recognize it as their official language. They are listed below:
- The Isle of Man
- Northern Ireland
English Speaking Countries in Africa
Most African countries have several official languages, and South Africa alone has eleven official languages; other than these, various languages and dialects are used in the country.
Many African countries, like Botswana, have enlisted English as their official language, but a minority of their population speak and use it daily. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, English is used abundantly, even though it is not identified as an official language.
So, Countries that identify English as their official language and a big part of the population speaks it too are listed below:
- South Africa
The countries listed below recognize English as their official language, but it is not used primarily.
- The Gambia
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Saint Helena
- Sierra Leone
English Speaking Countries in Asia
English is one of the most spoken languages on the continent. However, several countries still need to identify English as their official language even though most of the population is proficient in it and uses it daily.
Countries that recognize English as their official language are listed below:
- Sri Lanka
Note that in some of these countries, even though English is listed as an official language, it is mainly used for official and educational purposes.
Countries that Speak English in Oceania
Similar to the USA and the U.K, Australia does not recognize English as its official language even though it is used widely daily. Countries that follow the same practice are the Cook Islands and American Samoa, and in New Zealand, English is both the official and chiefly used language.
The Countries listed below have officially listed English as their official language, even though it is not the primary language used by the masses.
- Marshall Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Solomon Islands
Final Words: Countries Speak English
English is considered a global language because it is widely spoken and understood by almost everyone in all the regions of the planet. Additionally, it is the third most spoken language, and English is the language of global business, and billions of people use English daily.
So, now that you know how many countries speak English. We hope this article helps you if you are planning to travel to any of these countries or are looking for a push to become fluent in the language.
FAQs: Countries Speak English
About 1.5 billion people on this planet speak English, but a majority of them have different native languages. Approximately 360 people speak English as their first language.
Even though The The United States of America doesn’t identify English as an official language, with a population of about 317 million English-speaking people, the country has the most English speakers.