Countries With the Most English Speakers

Name the countries that have the most speakers of English, as either a first or an additional language.
According to Wikipedia. Definitions of "English-speaking" vary by country
Quiz by Seals
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Last updated: March 27, 2017
First submittedSeptember 6, 2014
Times taken33,652
Rating4.50
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# Speakers
%
Country
309 mil
95.1
United States
162 mil
12.2
India
99.7 mil
53.3
Nigeria
65.1 mil
63.7
Philippines
63.6 mil
97.7
United Kingdom
46.3 mil
57.4
Germany
31.5 mil
33.7
Egypt
31.1 mil
85.6
Canada
30.0 mil
18.4
Bangladesh
23.6 mil
97.0
Australia
# Speakers
%
Country
22.8 mil
35.2
France
18.7 mil
66.7
Ghana
18.5 mil
27.2
Thailand
17.6 mil
53.3
Malaysia
17.0 mil
28.5
Italy
17.0 mil
31.0
South Africa
16.7 mil
13.0
Mexico
16.0 mil
8.3
Pakistan
15.2 mil
1.1
China
15.2 mil
89.6
Netherlands
+2
Level ∞
Mar 27, 2017
I redid this quiz to fix a couple of errors. The Wikipedia page is a bit of a mess. In any case, China now appears on the list once I added Hong Kong.
+5
Level 40
Sep 8, 2019
Why not make it Featured
+1
Level 47
Feb 12, 2020
why is pakistan sooo behind? It is 4th not all the way back
+1
Level 35
Feb 18, 2021
yea, over half the population speak it
+10
Level 64
Mar 27, 2017
Hilarious that China made the list with 1% speakers
+2
Level 37
Apr 26, 2020
When it is the most populated country in the world, it isn’t surprising.
+4
Level 84
Mar 27, 2017
I find it hard to believe that a larger percentage of Egyptians can speak English than South Africans.
+12
Level 48
Jun 2, 2018
As an Egyptian I can tell u that nearly everyone I know in Egypt can speak English on some level...I think it beats South Africa percentage-wise cos Egypt's a lot closer geographically to the likes of Europe and North America so there's much more travelling and interactions between the citizens as well as more expats
+6
Level 70
Jul 6, 2018
South Africa also has eleven official languages, so things might be a little more linguistically fragmented than in most countries.
+10
Level 74
Mar 27, 2017
I'm surprised the British Commonweath countries (and ex-British colonies) of Kenya and Tanzania don't appear. English is an official language of Kenya as well.
+2
Level 81
Mar 28, 2017
i also tried it
+1
Level 61
Jun 20, 2017
+1
+2
Level 65
Jun 20, 2017
Majority speak Swahili or other regional languages.
+1
Level 71
Jun 20, 2017
I was suprised by Kenya. Not by Tanzania (though I tried it). English is the language of instruction in Kenya; Swahili in Tanzania. That seems to make a big difference.
+1
Level 56
Jun 20, 2017
It's hard to believe that a larger percentage of French speak English than South Africans... :-D

But that might be what is meant by "Definitions of "English-speaking" vary by country".

+2
Level 44
Jun 20, 2017
33 secs and just though of Mexico PHEW
+2
Level 68
Jun 20, 2017
The percentage for France (or Italy, for that matter) probably reflects the amount of people who *say* they can speak English, whereas in other countries like South Africa, it seems to be the actual proportion of fluent English-spreakers.

P.S. I’m French and now I know there are more than 20 mill. like me :-)

+1
Level 20
Feb 10, 2021
I thought they teach English in many European countries
+8
Level 44
Jun 20, 2017
If 22 million people in France can speak English then I am the illegitimate son of a Vietnamese pig farmer and a Indonesian brothel keeper
+2
Level 58
Jun 20, 2017
IME many, many more French speak English than will admit it. The European countries on this list with non-English as the primary language all teach English widely in schools.
+6
Level 62
Jun 21, 2017
Yes they teach English in schools, but in France the English teachers are French and the classes are given in French. Therefore they don't get to practice conversation at all. I spend quite a lot of time in France and I've met exactly ONE French person who can speak English really well, and it's because she lived in the US for a few years. Whereas if you go to Germany or the Netherlands for instance, people can actually speak English.
+1
Level 70
Jul 6, 2018
I met quite a few girls who spoke English well, but only one man and he was of Russian extraction.
+3
Level 67
Jan 13, 2019
@almariel but is that argument the same for every country. In the netherlands the english teacher is dutch and the classes are given in dutch, in germany the teachers are german and the lesson is given in german etc.. (afaik)

there is definitely a difference between countries and how fluent they are in english, but I dont think the above ahs anything to do with it.

+1
Level 55
Jul 28, 2020
@Almariel I know it's anecdotal, but I went briefly to a bilingual school in France, where teaching (of all subjects) was in both English and French. So it does happen
+1
Level 65
Jun 20, 2017
Very interesting to see that so many more people in Bangladesh speak English than Pakistan. (And I'd say that the stat for Bangladesh is broadly accurate, at least for Dhaka. English is still the prestige language).
+1
Level 81
Jun 29, 2017
Even though they were employed as toilet cleaners and floor sweepers making $80 an hour, even the Bengalis with no formal education that I worked with in Saudi Arabia often spoke better English than my Egyptian and Syrian coworkers employed as English teachers
+10
Level 64
Apr 6, 2018
80$ an hour? Where can I sign up?
+3
Level 81
Apr 6, 2018
whoops. I meant $80 a month. Still want to sign up?
+1
Level 20
Feb 10, 2021
Isn't English commonplace in Bangladesh, seen as they were a former British colony
+1
Level 66
Mar 10, 2021
Kinda depends. There are tons of pretty fluent English speakers in the capital of Dhaka, especially among more educated people. There are newspapers, signs, etc. written in English all over the place. My cousins don't even really speak pure Bengali--most of their speech is peppered with occasional words in English.

The country, on the other hand, is completely different. Pretty difficult finding anyone there who knows any English beyond the basics. That's probably why the total percentage is only about a fifth of the population.

I'm guessing the people that Kal encountered are urban poor, who might fall somewhere between the educated and the rural poor in terms of proficiency.

+3
Level 26
Jun 1, 2018
its wrong i know that Pakistan has 117 million of English speakers
+2
Level 84
Jun 20, 2017
I find it hard to believe that as a percentage of the population that France has 3 times the English speakers that Mexico does. Just a random observation but in my travels I have found that a Mexican is 3 times more likely to try to speak to you in English than a Frenchman. I was surprised that Russia did not make the list. At one point in the 80s I remember reading a stat that there were 50 million English speakers in the USSR and that it was the mandatory foreign language through out the country.
+4
Level 73
Jun 20, 2017
Yes but that's because the French pretend not to speak English because they hate us :P.
+1
Level 20
Feb 10, 2021
Do British people actually dislike French?
+2
Level 58
Jun 20, 2017
IME many more French than Mexicans speak English.
+3
Level 65
Jun 21, 2017
The French just don't like speaking English (or admitting they can speak English).
+3
Level 81
Jun 21, 2017
I find it hard to believe that you find this hard to believe. I used to work with Mexicans who were kitchen staff in a restaurant in California. I used to register a lot of Mexican patients in an ER in the DC suburbs. And I used to teach ESOL to Mexican children at a public elementary school in Northern Virginia and also dealt with their parents. I ran into MANY who did not speak English, and this was of Mexicans residing permanently in the United States so you would think they'd have incentive to learn. On the other hand, virtually everyone who goes through primary school in Western Europe can speak English.
+7
Level 81
Jun 21, 2017
"On the other hand, virtually everyone who goes through primary school in Western Europe can speak English."

This is absolutely true if you ignore the data presented in this quiz, and also the rest of reality.

+1
Level 81
Jun 25, 2017
"Definition of 'English-speaking' vary by country"

*and* according to the the data on Wikipedia, even given the probably much more stringent standard for "English speaking" used in Europe, *still*, every single country in Europe minus Russia (and possibly Belarus and Moldova) have a higher percentage of English-speakers than Mexico. The only reason Mexico shows up is that they have such a high total population.

Obnoxiously condescending and demonstrably wrong is *such* an attractive combo...

+2
Level 67
Jan 13, 2019
well mexico has a direct neighbour speaking english and not a small country either. Most countries has some knowledge of their neighbouring countries,
+1
Level 84
Jun 20, 2017
Also it looks like the numbers used as the source have changed. The number of English speakers in Nigeria has decreased.
+1
Level 67
Jun 20, 2017
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population
+3
Level 60
Jun 20, 2017
Itally ?

Noone I have ever met from there spoke anything but italian

+1
Level 20
Jun 20, 2017
go to Sicily you can find a lot of english
+1
Level 58
Jun 20, 2017
They teach it in schools there starting in early elementary school. Almost everyone I met when I lived there spoke at least some English, even children.
+1
Level 49
Jun 20, 2017
Didn't expect the Philippines. I'm sure there's a reason why it's here.
+1
Level 65
Jun 20, 2017
It was an basically American colony either officially or unofficially from 1900 to about 1950. I forget the exact details, but America won it from Spain in the Spanish American war and granted it independence a few decades later, but strong American influences lasted long after it ceased to be an official territory of the USA. .
+3
Level 81
Jun 21, 2017
The Philippines was officially a United States territory after the Spanish-American War up until the Japanese occupation and subsequent liberation. English is still one of the official languages of the country. Basically everyone here speaks English, though some in the provinces don't go to school and therefore can't speak it very well.
+1
Level 69
Jun 20, 2017
I missed the UK?! I tried Ireland but forgot the UK?! Man, that's embarrassing
+1
Level 28
Jun 20, 2017
no new zealand?!
+5
Level 65
Jun 21, 2017
With our piddly population??
+1
Level 70
Aug 1, 2018
New Zealand's total population is less than 5 million. Even if every single one of those people spoke English, it still wouldn't be enough to make the list.
+1
Level 47
Jun 21, 2017
Completed it (with a lot of guessing) with exactly 1:00 remaining.
+1
Level 42
Jun 22, 2017
I tried Belgium and Luxembourg but no Netherlands
+1
Level 47
Aug 11, 2017
phew, never knew that Ireland has such a tiny population (4,75 mil)
+1
Level 60
Sep 21, 2017
I have my doubts on practically everyone in the Netherlands to speak

English. Certainly the younger generations will, but what about the older people?

+4
Level 57
Mar 16, 2018
In my experience travelling for a few weeks there, they do and pretty well on the top of that. English is closely related to Dutch and even more so to Frisian, a northern dialect.
+4
Level 81
Apr 6, 2018
I never had any problem communicating when I was in the Netherlands and I do not speak Dutch, French, or German.
+3
Level 70
Jul 5, 2018
Having lived in the Netherlands I can vouch for the fact they almost all speak English. Some are better than others, granted, but that 89% figure looks a little low to me, if anything.

Even if you try to speak Dutch to them they will give you a look of mild contempt and tell you, in English, that they can speak English. They are almost insulted that you thought they couldn't, even if you are simply trying to practice your Dutch.

+1
Level 54
Jan 6, 2019
I live in the Netherlands and I do not know anyone who doesn't speak English well (for a non native English speaking country). Only some people who are 12- or 65+ may not speak any or broken English, but almost everyone is able to speak it.
+1
Level 67
Jan 13, 2019
maybe not those above 80, but most below 70 will. And even those above 80 will know enough to understand you and give directions, order in a restaurant etc, just a bit less fluent with a smaller vocabulary.
+3
Level 67
Jun 6, 2018
Pakistan should be higher on that list. According to Wikipedia, the figures show more than 100 million speakers.
+1
Level 66
Aug 21, 2019
Pakistan has very odd numbers on the Wikipedia range; it ranges from 11.72% English speakers to 49% (the latter number of which seems very inaccurate). They also are off on the population of Pakistan by 80 million. I'm honestly a bit confused on where Seals got their 8.3% statistic from.
+1
Level 14
Jul 5, 2018
You have to try to remember the major British colonies, like the USA, Canada, Australia, Egypt, and India.
+1
Level 83
Dec 9, 2018
USA #1

UK #5

+1
Level 65
Jan 21, 2019
Can't believe I forgot Germany

Wow..

+1
Level 20
Feb 10, 2021
In America you have to choose between being educated on learning Spanish OR French, not both. Most people pick Spanish.
+1
Level 47
Apr 14, 2021
When you forget the UK :(