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How Many Countries Actually Speak English? We Count 96! (2023)

English is a truly global language. Learning it will expand your personal and professional connections across the world.

But how many countries actually speak English?

In this post, we will list 96 countries where English is spoken to varying degrees. You will learn which countries will totally immerse you in the English language, and other countries where English can help you communicate as a traveler or businessperson but is not the primary language.


96 English-speaking Countries

What do we mean by “English-speaking”?

For the most part, the countries on this list have English as an official language, which means it is permitted for use on official government documents and in courts of law.

Of course, we’ve also listed countries that speak English as a native language

More than 80 countries have formally listed English as an official language, but in many of them—such as Cameroon, for example—not everyone actually speaks the language in daily life. In many cases it’s used primarily as a lingua franca in business.

According to the University of Sheffield, there are 19 countries where the majority of the population is native English–speaking.

To make things a little easier to follow, we’ve broken down the 96 total English-speaking countries by region.

English-speaking countries in the Americas

As we mentioned above, the United States does not actually have an official language, but the majority of the population speaks English and it is the language used for education and government affairs.

Canada is the other main English-speaking country in the Americas, though French is the country’s second official language and much of the population speaks both.

There are a handful of countries in Central and South America where English is an official language. Many countries in the Caribbean speak English, as well.

Here are the countries and territories that speak English as an official or predominant language:

AnguillaCanadaPuerto Rico
Antigua and BarbudaCayman IslandsSaint Kitts and Nevis
BahamasDominicaSaint Lucia
BarbadosGrenadaTrinidad and Tobago
BelizeGuyanaThe United States
BermudaJamaicaThe Virgin Islands

It is important to note that although English is the official language, many of the people who live in these countries do not speak English, and may communicate mostly in Spanish, French, French Creole or other languages during their daily lives.

English-speaking countries in Europe

Did you know that 90% of European school children study English at some point during their education? However, that does not mean they speak it fluently as adults.

There are several countries and territories in Europe that primarily speak English and/or have English as an official language. They are:

CyprusIrelandNorthern Ireland
DenmarkIsle of Man, ThePoland

English-speaking countries in Africa

Most African countries have many different official languages. South Africa, for example, has 11 different official languages, and even more languages and dialects are spoken in the country. Though English is listed as an official language in these countries, many people may not speak English. In Namibia, for example, only 7% of the population speaks English, even though it is the only official language.

In Botswana, English is the official business language, but not spoken frequently. Many people in Egypt and Ethiopia speak English as well, though it is not an official language.

Countries where English is an official language and spoken by a majority of the population are:

LiberiaSierra LeoneZimbabwe

English is also listed as an official language, but not used as a primary language, in the following countries:

BotswanaMalawiSouth Africa
Gambia, TheRwandaTanzania
KenyaSaint HelenaZambia

English-speaking countries in Oceania

Australia, like the U.S. and U.K., does not list English as an official language, though it is the primary language and the de facto official language. Other countries in Oceania that speak English are American Samoa and Cook Islands. English is one of the official languages in New Zealand.

English is listed as the official language of several other countries, though it is not the primary spoken language.

Countries with English as a primary or official language in Oceania are:

American SamoaMicronesiaPitcairn
Cook IslandsNew ZealandSolomon Islands
GuamNorthern Mariana IslandsTuvalu
Marshall IslandsPapua New Guinea

English-speaking countries in Asia and the Middle East

In Asia and the Middle East, there are some countries where English is an official or de facto official language, even if it is not necessarily a primary language. They are:

CambodiaMaldivesSri Lanka
IndiaMyanmarUnited Arab Emirates

In India, Pakistan and the Philippines, English is an official language, though used mainly in government and education. In Singapore, English is an official language and a widely spoken language.

How Did English Spread Throughout the World?

The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain is usually considered the beginning of the English language’s spread.

The language changed when Norse invaders brought several new words, which were added into daily speech. English began to borrow some words from French and Latin.

During the Medieval period, English started to become more standardized. As London grew, other dialects of English began to fade or merge into what we think of as English today.

The British Empire is typically considered the next major phase of English’s spread. As England invaded regions around the world and established colonies, it brought English with it.

Today, English is the most spoken language in the world, including native and non-native speakers. Over one billion people across the world speak English, though only around 373 million speak it as their first language.

It is one of the most commonly studied languages and is sometimes called a global language because it is used for international organizations.

Pilots are required to communicate in English for international flights, and organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union list English as an official working language. This is partly because so many countries speak English or recognize it as an official language.


Now that you know just how many countries speak English, it’s time to practice your own English! Hopefully this list will help motivate you to study, knowing the language can open doors to travel to many, many different countries around the world. There are a lot of people learning to speak English, so you are in good company as you practice speaking and reading English and get ready to add it to your daily life.

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