How Many People in the World Speak Spanish?
Have you ever wondered how much of the world speaks Spanish?
According to Spain’s Cervantes Institute, close to 8% of the world’s population speak Spanish. Even more impressive is how Spanish ranks as the fourth most spoken language in the world, behind only English, Hindi, and Mandarin Chinese.
Just think of the opportunities you’ll get from learning to speak Spanish!
By the end of this article, you’ll know how many people in the world speak Spanish, where in the world you can speak it, and some of the benefits you’ll get from speaking such a popular language.
Speaking Spanish, after all, can change your life.
Are you ready?
Spanish-Speaking World Population Statistics
According to the latest United Nations’ estimate done in early 2022, the world’s population is 7.8 billion. The Cervantes Institute says that more than 572 million people spoke Spanish in 2017, and 477 million of them were native Spanish speakers!
Additionally, the Institute added that between 2016 and 2017, more than 5 million people learned how to speak Spanish, and the Institute’s director, Juan Manuel Bonet, noted that the language is “in good health.”
“Now people want to work in the Americas,” Bonet said. “Spanish is very useful. It opens markets.”
As of 2022, 21 countries around the world have Spanish as their official language, and it’s quickly rising or very much present in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world as well.
21 Spanish-Speaking Countries on the Planet
While Spanish is not limited to Latin America or Spain, it is either the native language or one of the official languages in 21 countries, making it the fourth language that most countries register as (one of) their official languages, behind English (59), French (29), and Arabic (22).
So let’s look at the vastness of Spanish worldwide and the total population of native Spanish speakers in each of these countries, in descending order.
First, have you ever wondered which country has the most Spanish speakers?
That one’s easy. It’s…
1. Mexico (124.8 million)
2. Colombia (50.6 million)
3. Argentina (44.9 million)
4. Spain (43.6 million)
5. Venezuela (32.1 million)
6. Peru (28.7 million)
7. Chile (18.8 million)
8. Ecuador (15.4 million)
9. Guatemala (13.4 million)
10. Cuba (11.2 million)
11. Dominican Republic (10.2 million)
12. Bolivia (9.7 million)
13. Honduras (9.3 million)
14. Nicaragua (6.5 million)
15. El Salvador (6.5 million)
16. Costa Rica (5.1 million)
17. Paraguay (5.01 million)
18. Panama (4.03 million)
19. Uruguay (3.43 million)
20. Puerto Rico (3.16 million)
21. Equatorial Guinea (1.1 million)
Admittedly, the number next to each country doesn’t match with the countries’ population, but that’s because people in many of these countries speak other languages, like creole or indigenous languages.
This list shows that if you learn Spanish, you could speak one single language in a long and glorious trek across the globe:
Think about it—after you hitch a ride in the U.S. to make your way across Central and South America, you could cross the pond to the Caribbean, then return to land and zig-zag your way down to the South Pole. After that, you make your way to Spain, then reach Africa to visit Equatorial Guinea, and you’ll have covered all the Spanish-speaking ground there is to see!
What’s more, you can also speak Spanish in Belize since it’s the country’s second most spoken language. Surprisingly, it might be the perfect place to practice your Spanish if you’re not ready for a total full-on immersion, since the country’s official language is English. (Why is that?)
Spanish Statistics in the United States
Today, in the United States, there are more than 41 million Spanish-speakers—that’s 12.44% of the country’s 329.5 million population.
According to the Pew Research Center, the Hispanic population in the US reached 62.1 million in 2020, up from 50.5 million in 2010, and Hispanics are the largest racial or ethnic group in California. Other states such as New York, Florida, and Texas also have a large Hispanic population.
And the official US census also said that by 2060, the United States would have the biggest population of Spanish speakers in the world after Mexico, meaning that 1 in 3 people in the US will speak Spanish.
So, don’t be surprised, then, when you call your bank or local post office, and they ask you if you want to speak con un representante en español (with a representative in Spanish).
Spanish Statistics in Other Non-Spanish-Speaking Countries
Now you may wonder—in which non-Spanish-speaking countries do many people speak Spanish?
When it comes to Europe, Spain’s not the only country where you can speak Spanish.
A large portion of Andorra and Gibraltar’s population also speak Spanish, though their official languages are Catalan and English, respectively.
It was reported that by 2015, 2.3% of the population of Switzerland spoke Spanish, that’s about 150,000 people.
Remember, Spanish it’s one of the European Union’s 24 official languages, and some people in Italy, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom also speak it. Even countries like Hungary, Slovakia, and Estonia have some Spanish speakers.
Moving away from Europe, Spanish is one of Equatorial Guinea’s official languages. According to the Cervantes Institute, in 2018, more than 85% of its population spoke it, even though from 1969 to 1979, Spanish was prohibited in the country to favor the local Fang. But because of Spain’s rule, some communities in Angola and South Sudan also speak Spanish.
That said, Equatorial Guinea is not the only country in Africa where they speak Spanish.
The language is also widely available in Morocco, where—because of 91 years of colonization (1884-1975)—more than 1.7 million Moroccans speak Spanish.
Finally, let’s not forget about the Philippines, where up until 1987, Spanish was listed as one of the country’s co-official languages, alongside English and Filipino. Though only 0.5% of its 100 million population speak Spanish, the Philippines is home to the most Spanish speakers in Asia.
The Future of Spanish
Naturally, Spanish keeps growing!
The Cervantes Institute annual review revealed in 2020 that an additional 4.5 million people continue to learn to speak Spanish every year.
Also, a study made by Spain’s University of Alcalá found that in addition to native speakers, 73.7 million people worldwide have some knowledge of Spanish, and another 21.2 million study Spanish as a foreign language.
So, if 572 million weren’t enough, researchers expect that the Spanish-speaking population will rise to 754 million by 2050. That’s a 31.82% increase in less than thirty years!
No wonder Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world.
Have You Thought About Learning Spanish?
Now that you know how widely available Spanish is around the world and the millions upon millions of people who speak it, how about you give it a go?
We’re here to help you achieve that goal. The first step is to answer the question, “What’s your goal for learning Spanish? Do you want to earn more money by knowing Spanish? Do you want to invest in your mind and improve your cognition and decision-making abilities skills? Or do you simply want to travel to all the Spanish-speaking countries I mentioned in this article?
Whatever your goal may be, live, immersive language classes are the most effective way to get where you want to go faster! To see for yourself how a teacher can boost your Spanish learning, sign up for a free 1-on-1 trial Spanish class with one of our professional, native-speaking teachers at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
We tailor your classes to suit your proficiency level, personal interests, and specific goals! Learn more about our programs here.
Curious how to sign up for a free class?
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these
“Getting to know wonderful teachers who care about me and my growth in language and education. Evelyn Gomez and Erick Cacao are two of the most extraordinary people I have ever met, and talking with them in Spanish at the beginning of classes is always so fulfilling and greatly contributes to my happiness, joy, and wellbeing.”
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. I have appreciated the one on one interaction and teaching that my son gets from his teachers. He has gotten to know his teachers, which has increased his confidence in speaking Spanish. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Maple, Parent of 3
“I love that my children have the opportunity to speak with a live person. They get to practice Spanish in a 1-1 setting while improve their speaking, writing and reading skills during their lessons. HSA is a great way to learn Spanish for all ages! My children are 6, 9 and 11. My oldest two (9 and 11) have been taking classes with HSA for almost 2 years now. They love seeing their teacher each week. They understand the importance of learning several languages. I’ve seen them grow and learn with HSA. I’m excited to see how they will improve the more classes they take. I highly recommend them. You can’t bet learning and speaking with a live teacher. I’ve tried other programs. It’s just not as motivating.”
– Karie Ann, Parent of 3
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