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Countries With the Most English Speakers

In the world, there are 10 different countries that have at least 1 million NATIVE English speakers. Can you name them?
Speakers of English as a first language only
Includes speakers of Creole languages based on English
According to Wikipedia
Quiz by Seals
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Last updated: November 21, 2022
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First submittedSeptember 6, 2014
Times taken62,586
Average score80.0%
Rating4.83
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# Speakers
%
Country
267 mil
78.1
United States
62.9 mil
92.3
United Kingdom
39.7 mil
18.0
Nigeria
21.0 mil
54.4
Canada
19.1 mil
72.8
Australia
# Speakers
%
Country
5.59 mil
9.31
South Africa
4.69 mil
93.2
Ireland
4.48 mil
85.9
New Zealand
2.89 mil
48.3
Singapore
2.76 mil
97.7
Jamaica
+9
Level ∞
Nov 21, 2022
History of this quiz. At first, it include ALL speakers either as a first or second language. This became unworkable due to different definitions of "English speaker" between countries.

So we de-featured the quiz due to lack of quality data.

Then people nominated it so we had to re-feature it. This time around, we included only native speakers because the data is much more accurate. It also has the nice coincidence of having exactly 10 countries and a sharp drop off below 1 million to number 11.

+4
Level 90
Nov 21, 2022
Spoiler alert -

I'm always surprised w/r to quizzes like this that a certain former British colony on the subcontinent doesn't have more native English speakers, given the sheer number of people. But indeed there is only about a quarter million. Compare that with the number of former French or Spanish colonies in which those languages are either dominant or at least an official language.

+2
Level 81
Nov 21, 2022
A lot of the French colonies are likely in a similar situation where French is an/the official language, but rarely a native language.
+11
Level 83
Nov 21, 2022
English is official in India, and lots of people speak it, just very few do so as a first language.
+4
Level 66
Nov 21, 2022
It's weird though, at least in the movies, how speaking Hindi seems to mean mixing in about 25 % English.
+3
Level 65
Nov 29, 2022
It's the same with most Indian languages, and it's common in conversations also.
+3
Level 69
Nov 21, 2022
Philippines?
+1
Level 76
Dec 1, 2022
I was surprised it wasn't on there as well.
+1
Level 59
Dec 16, 2022
The list only includes people who speak English as their first language. Tens of millions of Filipinos can speak English sufficiently, but the vast majority of them speak it as a second language. Most people still grow up speaking Filipino and/or various regional languages like Cebuano.
+3
Level 62
Nov 21, 2022
English is a first language for many people in India, a country of well over a billion people. If Wikipedia are not including India, then they need to do their research better
+4
Level 81
Nov 22, 2022
Depends how you're defining 'first language' or 'mother tongue' I guess
+5
Level 70
Nov 22, 2022
The 2011 cencus of India gives 260'000 speakers of English as a first language. Nearly all of its over 100 million speakers speak it as a second or third language.
+1
Level 30
Dec 16, 2022
But English is not a official language in India
+1
Level 54
Dec 16, 2022
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_India
+4
Level 67
Nov 22, 2022
No Ghana? Surprising.
+2
Level 91
Nov 23, 2022
I'm surprised there are that many people in Singapore that speak English as a first language. I would have thought Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil are more common as first languages, and English mostly as a second language
+10
Level 59
Nov 23, 2022
Singaporean here! English as a first language is becoming increasingly common, especially among the younger generations (I'd guess that more than half of Millennials/Gen Zs have English as their first language), which is probably because 1) all subjects in school are taught in English 2) bilingual parents tend to choose to raise their children with English as it's more useful, and the parents themselves are using English more often when interacting with other people.

(Technically, I'd say most Singaporeans speak Singlish and not English as their first language, but apparently this wasn't an option in the census cited in Wikipedia, probably because the Singapore government considers Singlish as a wrong version of English rather than a language in its own right. In any case, it wouldn't matter because Singlish is an English-based creole, which is also fine because of the caveat.)

+1
Level 67
Nov 24, 2022
I was shocked to see neither India nor Indonesia on the list :O
+2
Level 55
Dec 16, 2022
Indonesia was a Dutch colony, so why should it speak English? Plus, there's a native language there too
+1
Level 68
Dec 16, 2022
I did guess Indonesia at one point, due to thinking that Tok Pisin is commonly spoken in Papua New Guinea--maybe it's also common in West Papua and neighboring Indonesian states? And although Tok Pisin is a pidgin, maybe the fine distinction between an English-based pidgin and English-based creole. So that was the (not entirely thoughtless) process behind my incorrect guess.

As it turns out, according to its Wikipedia article, Tok Pisin is a creole, and in fact "Perhaps one million people now use Tok Pisin as a primary language." However, according to

+1
Level 37
Dec 17, 2022
I'm surprised India isn't on here. I know that they mostly speak Hindi but even if 0.5% of the population spoke English as a first language you would have around 5 million speakers. Why isn't India on here?
+2
Level 85
Nov 30, 2022
I'd challenge Nigeria having that many English-as-first-language speakers.
+1
Level 47
Dec 16, 2022
Yeah, it's because Nigerian Pidgin is considered English according to this quiz. I disagree, but I think it's a pretty standard rule on this site.
+1
Level 45
Dec 16, 2022
What abut Trinidad? They have a million people who mostly speak English.
+1
Level 28
Dec 20, 2022
They have a small population.
+3
Level 84
Dec 16, 2022
Despite the claim that this data is more accurate, I'm skeptical. There are more people in India and the Philippines who grow up speaking English than there are in Nigeria. And they're not speaking some janky creole or pidgin language, either. I guess it's still considered a 2nd language even if they start learning it basically at birth, if at the same time they speak Marathi or Cebuano at home more often. But the quiz says "native speaker".... and... there are also many multiple definitions out there of what constitutes a "native speaker" of English. As someone who taught English to speakers of other languages I can attest to this. The source QM links to doesn't say "native speaker"... it says "as first language"... that's different.
+3
Level 74
Dec 16, 2022
"Janky creole or pidgin"? I feel like I'm in 1930s India or Jamaica, being reprimanded by a missionary or colonial official.
+2
Level 84
Dec 16, 2022
I'm sure that joke kills at the parties you imagine yourself going to.
+2
Level 74
Dec 16, 2022
It hadn't occurred to me that a colonial worldview was funny.
+1
Level 84
Dec 19, 2022
oh I'm sorry. You were legitimately trying to pull at our heart strings or inspire outrage? Okay, I amend my response: I'm sure that vivid picture of your fantasies of colonial oppression would elicit a round of enthusiastic finger snapping at the parties you imagine yourself going to.
+1
Level 74
Dec 21, 2022
"fantasies of colonial oppression"?
+1
Level 58
Jan 24, 2023
Good grief, kalbahamut, you really can't stop yourself, can you?
+1
Level 64
Dec 16, 2022
I was going to say that figure for South Africa seems a bit sus, but adding up 1/3 of South Africa's white population (with the other 2/3 speaking Afrikaans natively) and the entire Indian population (who overwhelmingly speak English at home), it comes surprisingly close.