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Biggest English-Speaking Cities Quiz

Name the most populous urban areas in the world where English is the most commonly-spoken first language.
Urban-area population according to citypopulation.de, January 2019
There is no major urban area in the United States where English is not the most common language
Last updated: February 27, 2019
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Population
City
22.4 mil
New York City
17.8 mil
Los Angeles
14.7 mil
London
13.7 mil
Johannesburg
9.8 mil
Chicago
8.6 mil
Washington D.C. / Baltimore
7.9 mil
San Francisco
7.8 mil
Singapore
7.7 mil
Boston
7.4 mil
Philadelphia
7.4 mil
Toronto
Population
City
7.1 mil
Dallas
6.6 mil
Houston
6.4 mil
Miami
5.8 mil
Atlanta
5.7 mil
Detroit
5.2 mil
Sydney
4.9 mil
Melbourne
4.6 mil
Phoenix
4.4 mil
Seattle
4.3 mil
Tampa
4.2 mil
Cape Town
Population
City
3.7 mil
Denver
3.4 mil
Durban
3.4 mil
Orlando
3.3 mil
San Diego
3.2 mil
Minneapolis
3.1 mil
Birmingham
3.1 mil
Brisbane
3.1 mil
Cleveland
3.1 mil
Manchester
2.8 mil
Cincinnati
2.8 mil
Vancouver
+3
level 73
Apr 7, 2014
I was surprised Johannesburg wasn't on here. I didn't realize that less than 35% spoke English.
+2
level 63
Aug 9, 2016
According to wiki English is the plurality spoken language in Johannesburg - 31.1% vs. Zulu at #2 with 19.6%.
+2
level ∞
Aug 10, 2016
Weird. Later in the article, it says only 18% speak English. I'm going to leave Johannesburg off for now in the absence of better data. English is not a very common first language in the majority of South Africa.
+3
level 41
Mar 13, 2018
"THERE are 11 official languages in South Africa, all of which are spoken in Johannesburg. By far the most widely spread languages, however, are English and Afrikaans, and English is understood just about anywhere. Afrikaans is similar to Dutch and Flemish"
+3
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
In the latest revision of this quiz I have added Johannesburg and Cape Town. Even though only about 10% of South Africans have English as a first language, they seem to be concentrated in the cities. It also seems likely that, over time, the percentage of English speakers will grow.
+1
level 81
Apr 10, 2014
I'm more surprised that Durban IS on there than that Johannesburg isn't. Maybe it's because there are many different languages spoken there that allows English to be the most commonly-spoken. I would have expected Zulu would be much more prevalent in that part of the country.
+1
level 46
Dec 21, 2018
I believe that there was more of an British presence in the Southeastern part of South Africa during the colonial period.
+4
level 71
Apr 10, 2014
I'm Canadian and of all of those, the only one I managed to miss was Vancouver.
+14
level 58
Jul 21, 2018
You're not Canadian otherwise we would have seen an apology. Nice try, buddy.
+1
level 73
Mar 19, 2019
Spoken like a true Torontonian :P
+2
level 55
Apr 15, 2014
I believe that in Miami, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language.
+5
level ∞
Apr 16, 2014
In Miami proper, yes. But in the metro area, it's English by a good margin.
+1
level 75
Apr 20, 2014
I guessed Miami first just because I was curious to see if it would be on here. I also remember it being classified as Spanish-speaking on other quizzes on the site. I was also wondering if Dubai would show up but I guess they have fewer people than Vancouver does.
+1
level 75
Aug 20, 2016
or maybe it's because while English is the most commonly spoken language in the city, Arabic (or Hindi/Urdu?) is more common in the metro area?
+1
level 58
Apr 19, 2014
I should have gotten Cincinnati. I thought Columbus was bigger, so when Columbus wasn't there, I just ignored Cinci. Same thing for Brisbane but with Canberra.
+1
level 75
Apr 20, 2014
Canberra is tiny.
+1
level 55
Apr 22, 2014
Most of these quizzes go my metro population. Cleveland and Cincinnati are technically smaller than Columbus, but both have larger suburbs.
+5
level 54
Feb 22, 2016
But Canberra is still tiny. It's population is a bunch of politicians, some hobos who can't find affordable housing and live off Centrelink, a few lost tourists and the emu and kangaroo on the Australian coat of arms.
+2
level 70
May 13, 2016
Canberra is smaller than not just Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but also Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Newcastle
+1
level 59
Apr 19, 2014
Is this list based on total or native speakers? I'm asking because a city (Durban) with a natively-English-speaking majority in (South) Africa seems unreal.
+1
level ∞
Apr 19, 2014
It surprised me too!
+2
level 56
Apr 25, 2014
it shouldn't be too surprising. Natal (the province in which Durban sits) was a British Colony from 1843 to 1910, and they brought in Indian slaves to work on the sugar cane fields surrounding Durban, all the slaves were forced to speak English. The legacy of which means a very high concentration of English speaking population.
+1
level 44
Aug 5, 2014
My brother-in-law is from Durban. Most everyone down there speaks English, and with a British-sounding accent, not a South African accent.
+1
level 28
Apr 19, 2014
you need to put in the world, I only was putting US cities.
+1
level 44
Apr 19, 2014
Every large US city speaks over 50% English
+4
level 65
Mar 17, 2016
why would you make that assumption?
+3
level 70
May 13, 2016
Yeah, I kinda feel like if it didn't qualify with 'US cities' you'd kinda just assume world cities, right? Besides, a quiz of biggest English-speaking US cities would really just be a list of US cities.
+1
level 64
Feb 27, 2019
Because biggest English speaking cities would never include London.
+2
level 36
Apr 19, 2014
Sorry - cool idea for a quiz, but awful execution. You may have well titled it "Name the largest cities in the US". Better idea, make a quiz on largest English speaking cities, and completely exclude the US.
+1
level 67
Apr 19, 2014
Why would the U.S. be excluded? You want the quiz to be "Largest English-speaking Cities not in the U.S."?
+1
level 75
Apr 20, 2014
Why would that idea be better? Almost a third of these cities are not American as it is.
+2
level 44
Aug 5, 2014
I think it was an excellent quiz. At a glance you can see who wields the power in the Anglophone world. Or potentially at least.
+1
level 63
Aug 9, 2016
Decent quiz, interesting to see how cities like Singapore identify more with Mandarin as their first language.
+1
level 52
Apr 19, 2014
It DOES say that English should be the MOST-COMMON language, not just that it is spoken by a large percentage. I imagine that in New Delhi or Johannesburg, something other than English is spoken most often in non-business situations.
+1
level 36
May 10, 2014
I don't even know half of these cities :P
+4
level 75
Jun 27, 2014
Including Boston on this list is debatable. I would argue that is some sort of English-gibberish hybrid language.
+1
level 64
Feb 27, 2019
Quit bein' retahded.
+1
level 33
Jul 15, 2014
Brisbane isnt 2.8 million people its 2.2 million people. You'd think I'd know the size of the city i live in.
+2
level 70
Aug 9, 2016
Depends on definitions. In an area like SEQ there are many different interpretations of what is and is not a separate city, where one ends and another begins. As a whole SEQ has about 3.5 million or so. I suspect this figure (2.9 million now) takes in the whole SEQ sprawl, but discounts people living in SEQ LGAs, but not in built up areas.
+1
level 39
Sep 20, 2014
Its more accurate to say "Biggest cities in the English speaking world" as a significant percentage of people in those cities (especially US ones) don't speak English as a first language
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
Not true. There is no major urban area in the U.S. where English is not the most spoken native language. Miami proper is majority Spanish speaking, but the urban area has 10x the population.
+2
level 37
Nov 6, 2014
Should Singapore not be on this list? Also maybe Kuala Lumpur?
+3
level 70
Aug 9, 2016
KL is primarily Malay. Relatively few Singaporeans use English as their first language even though, in my experience, most can speak it.
+2
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
Singapore has now been added. English very recently overtook Mandarin to become the language most-spoken at home.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Singapore
+1
level 41
Dec 25, 2014
i figured st louis or sacramento would be on there, but big ups to the nati!
+1
level 63
Aug 9, 2016
St. Louis Metro Area gets confusing depending on what you count. They must use the lowest possible one than the more commonly accepted, 2.8/2.9 million.
+1
level 64
Jan 2, 2015
I thought Dublin would make this list.
+1
level 39
Sep 13, 2015
Dublin only has a population of just over 500,000.
+1
level 29
Feb 15, 2015
Try Lagos. English is the national language of Nigeria...
+3
level 74
Nov 18, 2015
Same for India. Doesn't mean people actually speak English.
+1
level 44
Jan 4, 2019
Actually, we don't have a national language here in India. But yes, hardly anyone favours English over their native language.
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
I believe that Yoruba is the most spoken native language in Nigeria.
+1
level 53
Mar 11, 2015
Even though Montreal speaks French almost everyone thee knows English too and quite a few speak English as their primary tongue too.
+1
level 65
Mar 17, 2016
same can be said for a lot of indian cities. I think the idea is that Montreal is predominantly french. most signs, billboards, advertisements and so on are in french. so you can consider it a french city
+2
level 55
Aug 11, 2016
Yes, but there are more people with French as their first language than English.
+1
level 24
Mar 25, 2015
Is that Birmingham USA? Or the one in England?
+1
level 67
Apr 18, 2015
Birmingham UK ............ and Johannesburg, Cape Town, Singapore should be in the list after all it states in the question most commonly spoken language, and I'm sure these cities qualify.
+1
level 58
May 21, 2018
its most commonly spoken native language
+1
level 59
Aug 10, 2015
It turns out that when I think of America's large cities, I completely forget about Florida, which has three, the same as California!
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
It's an interesting situation. A lot of northern states have bad weather and high taxes. Florida has neither. Its also relatively affordable. Its kind of a no brainer for pensioners to set up residence in Florida for six months of the year. The population of Florida is now over 20 million and growing rapidly. Of course, much of the state is at very low elevation, so global warming might eventually throw a wrench in the works.
+1
level 66
Aug 13, 2015
Shouldn't Glasgow be on here?
+3
level 59
Aug 5, 2016
Do they speak English there?
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
Lol
+1
level 55
Aug 11, 2016
Its population is just 1.2 million, should be at least 2 times larger to make this list.
+1
level 76
Sep 23, 2015
I misread "Durban" as "Durham" and thought, whoa, Durham's got a lot bigger lately.
+1
level 59
Oct 8, 2015
3m people live in Manchester???? You sure about that?
+1
level 56
Jul 12, 2017
Probably the Greater Manchester area.
+1
level 21
Feb 25, 2016
The metro areas always make everything so much more confusing
+1
level ∞
Jun 12, 2016
Why? It's a much better measure of city size than city population.
+1
level 70
Aug 9, 2016
Using just city population major world cities get reduced to small towns and expanses of suburban sprawl get turned into large cities. Metropolitan population much more closely reflects the real world reality than arbitrary and imaginary lines around cities. Take California - using city population San Francisco is just two Bakersfields. Go to one and then the other - that patently does not reflect the realities. In Australia the warping of reality is even plainer. What are the five largest cities in Australia? You might think Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Going by official city population it's Brisbane, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Canterbury, Central Coast.
+1
level ∞
Aug 10, 2016
Exactly! Not to mention the city of London with a population of 7,000 give or take.
+1
level 68
Oct 24, 2016
Well, you're confusing the City of London with London. I still believe, that city populations are the better measurements. It is easy, to take the population of nearby cities into accountance, but figuring out, where a metro area ends or beginns is far harder and often arbitrary. City population may be counterintuitiv in many instances, but it is far more precise.
+1
level 78
Aug 9, 2016
Why is Accra, Ghana not on the list? citypopulation.de lists the metro area at over 4 million, and English is both the official language and the lingua franca.
+2
level 55
Aug 11, 2016
Because it is about cities with English as the most commonly-spoken *first* language. Many people speak English in Accra, but most speak it as their second language, I would assume.
+1
level 38
Aug 9, 2016
The greater Manchester urban area consists of Manchester, Bolton, Sale, Rochdale, Stockport and Salford, plus lots of smaller ares that bring it up to 3 million. Manchester itself only has 514 thousand.
+1
level 62
Sep 9, 2016
Man, doing urban area rather than city proper really makes a difference. Miami city proper has somewhat more than 600,000. Its urban area is practically ten times that.
+1
level 45
Jan 22, 2017
Cleveland and Cincy but no Columbus?
+1
level 66
Feb 9, 2017
Should accept San Jose, the city itself is larger than San Francisco and is as much the central city of the Bay Area as San Francisco. Also should accept St Paul, it is comparable in size to Minneapolis and is almost always mentioned together, twin cities or Minneapolis/St Paul.
+1
level 65
Feb 11, 2017
What about Glasgow in Scotland ? I think its bigger tan Durban or Tampa.
+1
level 60
Aug 28, 2017
Glasgow's population is at around the 1 million mark.
+1
level 58
Feb 21, 2017
Cape Town should be here
+1
level 23
Mar 12, 2017
Completely forgot about Canada
+1
level 37
Mar 14, 2017
Could you accept Philidelphia??
+1
level 56
Jul 12, 2017
Could you learn to spell the city's name correctly?
+1
level 24
Aug 29, 2017
lmao no way toronto has 7.1 million people
+1
level 46
Sep 12, 2017
Yes, the Urban area does
+1
level 50
Oct 8, 2017
Damn, i thought that Spanish is more commonly spoken in San Diego, Houston and Miami
+1
level 50
Oct 8, 2017
and Phoenix
+1
level 30
Nov 5, 2017
Lagos, Accra, Cape Town. Also Columbus has a higher population than Cleveland or Cincinatti, no matter which number you take.
+1
level 44
Nov 24, 2017
What about Karachi?
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
Urdu by a huge margin. Then Punjabi and Pashto.
+1
level 28
Aug 7, 2018
I live in Cincinnati but I just totally missed it
+1
level 64
Aug 11, 2018
I was very doubtful about Durban, but in the 2011 census 49.75% gave English as their first language, when in 2001 it was only 29%. So I guess that is enough to count for this quiz.
+1
level 9
Nov 16, 2018
Singapore should be included. According Wikipedia (which in turn cites a reliable source), 36.9% speak English as the "language most frequently spoken at home", just ahead of Mandarin at 34.9%. By your criteria that makes it a city where English is the most spoken first language. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore#Languages
+1
level ∞
Feb 27, 2019
Yes this has changed recently. The quiz has been updated.
+1
level 38
Nov 16, 2018
I live in Cincinnati and can tell you the metro population is around 2.2 million. Are you including all of southwest Ohio as Cincinnati?
+1
level 43
Jan 17, 2019
I got 24 but missed DC. I feel a little dumb...
+1
level 57
Feb 28, 2019
Where's San Antonio? And Jacksonville?
+1
level 49
Mar 1, 2019
I'm surprised by the high average score! I got 28, which is the average score at beats or equals 36.3% of test takers
+1
level 70
Mar 5, 2019
So I take it that Singapore population figure takes in Johor Bahru too? Cos it is quite a bit bigger than the population of the Republic of Singapore. I suspect with it included, Mandarin once again overtakes English as the most spoken first language, though I can't find precise figures for Johor Bahru to get the totals for the whole metro area.