English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (2022)

Current research suggests that the English language is now spoken by approximately 1.35 billion people worldwide. That’s 17% of the world’s population. But at what age do children around the world start learning English? And how much do people value this widely spoken language in 2022?

To discover all there is to know about the English language, we conducted a survey of 2,000 people, analysed over 4.3 million online searches and examined the most up-to-date research on the topic.

Global English Language Statistics of 2022 in a Nutshell

  • People in the United Arab Emirates are the most keen to learn English, with a higher proportion of searches being conducted here for terms such as ‘Learn English’ and ‘Translate to English’ than any other country worldwide.

  • Out of all US states, California has the highest proportion of people who speak a language other than English at home.

  • 62% of UK adults think that English is the most important language for non-native children to learn at school around the world.

  • English is an official language in 75 different countries worldwide, meaning that 39% of countries have English as one of their official languages.

  • The average age at which children around the world start learning English at school is 7 and a half.

Which Countries Want to Learn English Most?

Given that English is the language of science, innovation, business and even the internet, it’s no surprise that so many people around the world want to learn it. But which countries worldwide have the strongest desire to learn the English language at the moment?

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To find out, we conducted an analysis of over 4.3 million online searches carried out in the top 100 most populous countries in 2022. Our analysis looked specifically at searches made for the terms ‘learn English’ and ‘translate to English’, and found that:

  • People in the United Arab Emirates want to learn English the most, as a higher proportion of searches are conducted here than any other country. Over the last year in the UAE, an average of 34,800 searches were conducted for the term ‘learn English’ and a staggering 1.1 million searches were conducted for the term ‘translate to English’.
  • Those in Malaysia also appear to have a strong desire to learn English, with 23 searches being conducted for the term ‘learn English’ per 10,000 of the population, and a further 801 searches per 10,000 being carried out for the term ‘translate to English’ over the last year.
  • Other countries that search for terms related to learning English the most include the Phillipines, Sweden and Israel.
RankCountryAverage yearly searches for ‘learn English‘ per 10,000 people
1.United Arab Emirates35
2.Malaysia23
3.Sweden20
4.Israel18
5.Saudi Arabia18
6.Canada17
7.Morocco17
8.Colombia15
9.Australia15
10.United Kingdom14

Countries conducting the highest proportion of searches for the term ‘learn English’. Data obtained from the online search analysis tool Keyword Finder in February 2022.

RankCountryAverage yearly searches for ‘translate to English‘ per 10,000 people
1.United Arab Emirates1,140
2.Philippines930
3.Malaysia801
4.Australia494
5.United Kingdom490
6.Azerbaijan473
7.Sri Lanka345
8.Canada334
9.Saudi Arabia281
10.United States273

Countries performing the highest proportion of searches for the term ‘translate to English’. Data obtained from the online search analysis tool Keyword Finder in February 2022.

At What Age Do Children Start to Learn English at School Around the World?

Our above findings indicate that as well as the people already learning the English language, many more intend to do so, whether that’s via a language learning course, an online tutor or using an interactive app. But as well as those wishing to learn English as adults, there are also many non-native speakers who learn the language whilst at school.

Data obtained from a study conducted at the University of Winnipeg in Canada enabled us to create the following map illustrating the ages at which children in countries around the world are taught English at school.

English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (1)

Map created using Flourish. Greyed out countries are English-dominant. Interactive version can be found here: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/7785913/

As you can see, English is mandatory in a wide range of school curriculums all over the globe as 138 countries list English as a part of their core curriculum. However 40 other countries allow students to choose the language as an optional course if they so wish.

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English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (2)Numerous linguistic theorists over the years have found that the earlier we learn a language, the more likely we are to become proficient in it. This is commonly referred to as the critical period hypothesis, and some studies have found that learning a language after the age of 10 can significantly decrease your chances of reaching total fluency.

But which countries worldwide teach children English the earliest? And which leave it until after this critical period?

Our analysis of data from the University of Winnipeg’s study found that in the following 23 non-English dominant countries, English lessons are mandatory from the age of 4:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Brunei
  • Dominica
  • Ecuador
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

However the following countries start teaching English as a mandatory subject from the age of 12+:

  • Benin (12)
  • Burkina Faso (12)
  • Cambodia (12)
  • Central African Republic (12)
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the (12)
  • Congo, Republic of the (12)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (12)
  • Timor-Leste (12)
  • El Salvador (12)
  • Gabon (12)
  • Haiti (12)
  • Indonesia (12)
  • Mali (12)
  • Mozambique (12)
  • Nicaragua (12)
  • Niger (12)
  • Switzerland (12)
  • Togo (12)
  • Venezuela (12)
  • Yemen (12)
  • Luxembourg (14)
  • Costa Rica (15)
  • Iceland (15)

And the following 5 countries only provide English as an optional subject which can be taken by children over the age of 12:

  • Angola
  • Cape Verde
  • Chad
  • Guinea
  • Senegal

Attitudes Towards the English Language going into 2022

It’s clear that different countries around the world have varying opinions when it comes to the importance of learning English from an early age. But what views do those living in the UK have on the matter?

To find out we polled 2,000 UK adults on 20/10/2021 using the market research company Censuswide asking:

‘For children around the world whose first language is NOT English, which language do you think it is most important they are taught at school?’

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English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (3)

The survey revealed that:

  • 62% of UK adults think that English is the most important language to teach children in non-English dominant schools.
  • 9% of people say Spanish is the most important language for non-English children to learn at school.
  • And 6.5% believe that children who are not native in English should be taught French at school.
  • Other choices included Mandarin (3.4%), Arabic (1%) Hindi (0.9%), Russian (0.8%), Indonesian (0.6%), Bengali (0.55%) and Portuguese (0.55%).

Please note: Full survey findings and methodology can be found here.

How Many Countries Have English as an Official Language?

So now you know the ages at which children around the world start to learn English and the attitudes people from the UK have about the importance of the English language. But which countries have English listed as one of their official languages? And what even is an official language anyway?

Well, by definition, a country’s official language is:

‘The language or one of the languages that is accepted by a country’s government, is taught in schools, used in the courts of law, etc’

  • Our research found that English is recognised as an official language by law (also known as de jure) in 55 countries worldwide. That’s 28.5% of the world’s countries.
  • If we include countries that have English as an official language by fact or de facto (not recognised by law), this increases the total to 75, therefore meaning that 39% of the world’s countries have English as one of their official languages.
  • On top of this, there are also some territories within different countries that recognise English as an official language. These include Hong Kong (China), Curaçao, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius (The Netherlands), San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia) and North and South Caribbean coast autonomous regions of Nicaragua.

English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (4)

Map created using Flourish. Interactive map can be found here: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/7730324/ using data obtained from here.

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Which US States Have the Highest Rate of People Who Don’t Speak English at Home

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau tells us that 1 in 5 people in the US can speak two languages, but the vast majority of US adults have English as a first language.

Although English is undoubtedly the language of choice across most of the US, we wanted to find out which states have the highest percentage of people who speak a language other than English at home.

To do this we analysed data from the US census, which enabled us to discover that:

  • In California 44% of people speak a language other than English at home.
  • The state with the second highest proportion of individuals who speak a language other than English at home is Texas, where 35.5% of people say they do this.
  • New Mexico also has a high proportion of people who speak a language other than English at home, with 34% of individuals saying this applies to them.

English Language Statistics of 2022 in the UK & Worldwide (5)

The states with the lowest percentage of people who speak a language other than English at home are West Virginia, Mississippi and Montana where figures stand at just 2.6%, 4% and 4.2% respectively.

Methodology

A full methodology detailing how we gathered the data presented in this article can be found here.

Fun Facts About the English Language in 2022

So now you know just how popular the English language is, which countries that want to learn it the most, the age at which most non-native speakers are taught English at school and people’s attitudes towards the language in 2022. But guess what? There’s so much more to learn about the English language! So we thought we’d leave you with a few fun facts and figures to be getting on with:

  • Did you know that English is the third most common first language in the world, being spoken as a mother tongue by over 527 million people!
  • English is by far the most studied language by non-native speakers worldwide, with some experts predicting that the language will be spoken by 2 billion individuals by 2050!
  • Studies have concluded that the English language is one of the happiest languages in existence, along with Spanish and Portuguese!

We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the latest English language statistics, facts and figures for 2022. If you’re thinking about learning English or another language, head over to our website to find the best online language tutors today!

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FAQs

What is the world's most spoken language 2022? ›

Online language tool Babbel reports that English is the most spoken language in the world, with a number of speakers totaling more than 1.4 billion in 2022, according to Statistic & Data. This combines both native and non-native speakers.

Which country speaks English the most 2022? ›

It is believed that there are around 230 million native speakers in the United States, making it the largest English-speaking country, while the United Kingdom has approximately 60 million native speakers.

What percentage of UK speaks English? ›

The United Kingdom is, unsurprisingly, very English. Of the 65.1 million residents of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over 98 percent speak English. The United Kingdom is also tied for third least-likely in Europe to speak a foreign language, with only 31 percent speaking at least two languages.

How many people speak English in the world statistics? ›

Current research suggests that the English language is now spoken by approximately 1.35 billion people worldwide. That's 17% of the world's population.

Which country is best at English? ›

Netherlands

Who speaks best English in the world? ›

Netherlands

How many languages are spoken in the UK 2022? ›

So, how many languages are spoken in the UK? However, widespread as it may be, English is not the only language spoken in the British Isles. In fact, over 300 languages are spoken in UK schools.

What is the UK population 2022? ›

The current population of the United Kingdom is 68,703,797 as of Thursday, October 20, 2022, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.

What are the top 3 languages spoken in the UK? ›

The main languages spoken in the UK are English, Welsh, Gaelic and Ulster Scots. The top foreign languages spoken in the UK are French, German and Spanish. There is the British Sign Language or BSL, and there are also many immigrant languages spoken in the UK, including Polish, Punjabi and Spanish.

What percentage of the English language do we use? ›

Most common languages used on the internet as of January 2020, by share of internet users
CharacteristicPercentage of internet users
English25.9%
Chinese19.4%
Spanish7.9%
Arabic5.2%
7 more rows
23 Aug 2022

How many people speak English currently? ›

How Many People In The World Speak English? Out of the world's approximately 7.8 billion inhabitants, 1.35 billion speak English. The majority aren't native English speakers, however. About 360 million people speak English as their first language.

Which language is the most spoken in the world? ›

English is the largest language in the world, if you count both native and non-native speakers. If you count only native speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the largest. Mandarin Chinese is the largest language in the world when counting only first language (native) speakers.

How many languages are spoken in the world in 2022? ›

Ethnologue, an online publication that provides data on the languages of the world, reports that there are 7,151 living languages.

What is the third most spoken language in the world 2022? ›

3. Hindi – 698 million speakers. This is another language almost completely spoken by native speakers.

Is English the most spoken language? ›

English (1,132 million speakers)

With over 1,130 million native speakers, English is the most spoken language in the world. It's also the official language of the sky – all pilots have to speak and identify themselves in English.

What's the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Which language is hardest to learn? ›

15 of the hardest languages to learn, for English speakers -...
  • Russian.
  • Hindi.
  • Vietnamese.
  • Thai.
  • Korean.
  • 13. Japanese.
  • Mandarin Chinese.
  • Arabic.
7 Nov 2021

Who speaks the best English in the UK? ›

FOR years, the people of Inverness have revelled in the proud boast that they speak the best English on the planet. Their clear and melodious pronunciation of the language has been applauded by linguistic experts and dialect experts across the globe.

Which country English is easy? ›

Ireland is undoubtedly one of the friendliest countries that speak English. It will be quite easy to keep a pulse on life in Ireland because, although Irish Gaelic is recognized as the official language, a mere 5% of the population actually speak it on a regular basis.

Who speaks the clearest English? ›

The Netherlands has emerged as the nation with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, with a score of 72.

Which country has the best grammar? ›

The measure is made with an online test that measures grammar, comprehension, and expression. The class TOP 5 is Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Singapore with grades between 71,45 to 66,03/100.

What are the five important of language? ›

The importance of language is that it helps to question, provide answers to questions, communicate thoughts and desires, and understand the expression and feelings of others. Communication is possible via tone of voice, gestures, emotions, expressions and no doubt words.

Is American or British English better? ›

Learning British or American English may be preferable if you are looking to work, live or study in Great Britain or the USA. American English is also more widespread, which makes it more desirable for many learners. Otherwise, it is a matter of what you personally enjoy.

What is the largest English speaking city in the world? ›

New York, USA. New York is the largest English-speaking city in the world. It is the hub of a metropolitan area with a population of about 21.2 million people. The city itself has a population of 8,250,000 people.

Where does English come from? ›

English originated in England and is the dominant language of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and various island nations in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

What is the language most spoken in the world? ›

English is the largest language in the world, if you count both native and non-native speakers. If you count only native speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the largest. Mandarin Chinese is the largest language in the world when counting only first language (native) speakers.

Which is the 2nd most spoken language in the world? ›

The 10 Most Spoken Languages In The World
  1. Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers. ...
  2. Spanish — 471 Million Native Speakers. ...
  3. English — 370 Million Native Speakers. ...
  4. Hindi — 342 Million Native Speakers. ...
  5. Arabic — 315 Million Native Speakers. ...
  6. Portuguese — 232 Million Native Speakers. ...
  7. Bengali — 229 Million Native Speakers.
2 Jun 2021

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world.

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

What was the first language spoken? ›

Dating back to at least 3500 BC, the oldest proof of written Sumerian was found in today's Iraq, on an artifact known as the Kish Tablet. Thus, given this evidence, Sumerian can also be considered the first language in the world.

What is the most useful language to learn after English? ›

Top 7 Most Useful Languages to Learn for English Speakers
  • Spanish. Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world after Chinese and English. ...
  • French. ...
  • A Chinese language, such as Mandarin. ...
  • German. ...
  • 5. Japanese. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • Portuguese.

What is the least spoken language in the world? ›

Current data states that there are only 7 remaining speakers of the language. Written records are available, such as a dictionary and several books that show the grammar and syntax of the Dumi language. Dumi is the world's least spoken language and one of the rarest.

What are the 7 international languages? ›

These are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Why is English the most spoken language in the world? ›

Some of the reasons for the English Language's popularity today include: The rise of the British Empire and The United States, developments within the science and technology industries, and the fact the English Language is gender free, among a number of other reasons.

Which language has hardest grammar? ›

Hungarian grammar seems like the road to death for an English speaker. Because Hungarian grammar rules are the most difficult to learn, this language has 26 different cases. The suffixes dictate the tense and possession and not the word order. That's is how most of the European languages deal with this problem.

What is the hardest language to learn if you don't speak English? ›

If you don't speak English, the hardest language to learn would be Spanish. Spanish is a Romance language that is spoken in many parts of the world. It is also one of the most difficult languages to learn because it has many sounds and grammar rules that are different from English.

What's the best language to learn? ›

The 7 Best Languages To Learn
  • Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin and certainly not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
  • German. Germany has the highest GDP in Europe, and many are flocking to the country seeking new careers. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • Mandarin. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Russian. ...
  • French.
26 Oct 2020

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