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86 Countries with English as the Official Language [2023 Complete List]

English is by far the most spoken language in the world (Lingua, 2022). There are around 86 countries with English as the official language or second language. It is spoken by nearly 2 billion people across the globe, and the figure is rapidly increasing (David, 2004).

To add more to your surprise, the majority of these speakers are non-native speakers and use English as their second language. If you ask why? It’s because they belong to certain countries where English is the official language, but not necessarily a native language. We’ve also created a list of countries with English as an official language for better insight.

List of the countries with English as the official language

We’ve created a comprehensive list of all the countries across the globe using English as their official language. Note; these countries recognize English as their official language by law. The government bodies i.e., judiciary, legislature, and administration use the English language for internal and external communication in these countries. However, some countries on this list may have more than one official language.

There are certain countries like the USA, UK, and Australia that haven’t declared their official languages. Yet the most spoken language in these countries is English, and these countries also have the highest number of native English speakers. The governments also use English for official communication in these specific countries.

There are two terms used to differentiate such countries from the rest. The terms are de facto and de jure. The ‘de facto’ English language status refers to countries that use English as the primary language without official declaration. The ‘de jure’ English language status refers to the countries with English as the official language duly declared in the law.

Map of countries where English is an official language

List of all countries where English is the official Language

No.CountryTotal English SpeakersPercentage
1.Akrotiri and Dhekelia15,70073%
2.American Samoa67,7002.9 %
3.Anguilla18,09092.31%
4.Antigua and Barbuda85,00080%
5.Bahrain1,378,00061.30%
6.Bangladesh150,039,00012%
7.Barbados294,00093.91%
8.Belize288,0003.9 %
9.Bermuda65,00096.92 %
10.Bhutan727,1453.60%
11.Botswana1,882,0002.1 %
12.British Virgin Islands23,00086.96%
13.Burundi10,114,5050.10%
14.Cambodia15,288,4893.60%
15.Cameroon22,534,53238%
16.Canada38,048,73858.70%
17.Cayman Islands47,00090.6 %
18.Cook Islands20,00019.80%
19.Curaçao150,56375.40%
20.Cyprus1,141,16673%
21.Dominica73,00094.03%
22.Eritrea6,234,00014%
23.Eswatini1,141,00028%
24.Falkland Islands3,00089.0 %
25.Fiji828,00026.62%
26.Ghana27,000,00066.67%
27.Gibraltar33,00088.9 %
28.Grenada111,00090.91%
29.Guam173,00043.6 %
30.Guyana738,00090.55%
31.Hong Kong (China)7,097,6003.5 %
32.India1,393,500,00010.62%
33.Ireland4,900,00098.4 %
34.Isle of Man80,05899.93%
35.Israel8,051,20084.97%
36.Jamaica2,714,00094%
37.Jersey89,30094.60%
38.Jordan9,882,40145%
39.Kenya45,010,05618.83%
40.Kiribati95,00024.16%
41.Kuwait4,348,39565%
42.Lesotho2,008,0003.33%
43.Liberia3,750,0002.5 %
44.Malawi16,407,0003.88%
45.Malaysia32,730,00062.57%
46.Maldives427,75669.80%
47.Malta430,0006.0 %
48.Marshall Islands59,00098.33%
49.Mauritius1,262,00015.97%
50.Micronesia110,00057.66%
51.Myanmar51,486,2534.45%
52.Namibia2,074,00017.24%
53.Nauru10,00096.7 %
54.Nigeria182,202,00086.42%
55.Niue1,60024.0 %
56.Oman4,424,76233.33%
57.Pakistan212,742,63162%
58.Palau20,00015.5 %
59.Papua New Guinea7,059,65340%
60.Philippines110,864,32758.20%
61.Pitcarin Island5020%
62.Qatar2,675,52273.86%
63.Rwanda13,240,43915.00%
64.Saint Kitts and Nevis50,00078%
65.Saint Vincent and the Grenadines120,00095%
66.Saint Lucia165,00020.0 %
67.Samoa188,00049.86 %
68.Seychelles87,00037.63 %
69.Sierra Leone6,190,28083.53 %
70.Singapore5,469,70029.8 %
71.Solomon Islands507,00031.68%
72.South Africa54,956,90031.00%
73.South Sudan12,340,00084%
74.Sri Lanka20,277,59718.32%
75.Sudan40,235,00028%
76.Tanzania51,820,00013%
77.The Bahamas331,00087.13%
78.The Gambia1,709,0002.30%
79.Tonga100,00030%
80.Trinidad and Tobago1,333,00087.74%
81.Tuvalu11,00096%
82.Uganda47,053,69089.90%
83.United Arab Emirates9,809,00085%
84.Vanuatu226,00083.55 %
85.Zambia16,212,00016 %
86.Zimbabwe13,061,23982.07 %
Data from nationmaster.com, worlddata.info, and berlitz.com

For ease of access, the countries on this list are also divided into regional categories. You can easily look for countries in the European, Asian, South American, and Oceania regions.

List of European countries with English as the official language

Europe is a multilingual region, it’s true the origins of the English language trace back to this part, yet a variety of languages are being spoken there. As far as English is concerned, around 370 million people out of the 450 million total population can speak English in this region. It’s the reason many countries in Europe recognize English as their official language. These include;

  1. Belgium
  2. Cyprus
  3. Ireland
  4. Malta
  5. Denmark
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Gibraltar
  8. Isle of Man
  9. Menorca
  10. Poland
  11. Austria
  12. Finland

List of African countries with English as the official language

The African region has always been inclined to the west due to reasons such as destitution and lack of resources. Their reliance on the first world made them choose English as their official language for ease of communication. Despite having a rich cultural heritage, many African countries have given de jure status to the English language utterly because of Western dominance. The countries are namely;

  1. Ghana
  2. Nigeria
  3. The Gambia
  4. Liberia
  5. Sierra Leone
  6. Saint Helena
  7. Zambia
  8. Sudan
  9. Namibia
  10. Swaziland
  11. Tanzania
  12. Botswana
  13. Cameroon
  14. Mauritius
  15. Kenya
  16. Malawi
  17. Lesotho
  18. Seychelles
  19. Eritrea
  20. Rwanda
  21. Somaliland
  22. South Africa
  23. Zimbabwe

List of Asian countries with English as an official language

Most of the countries in Asia recognize English as their official language mainly because of British occupation. The Britishers used English as the official language in this region for decades. Hence, the change of official language was never feasible for later governments. There are some countries in this region using English as the official language solely because of its acceptability around the world. Here’s the list of Asian countries with English as an official language;

  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Singapore
  4. Philippines
  5. Malaysia
  6. Maldives
  7. Myanmar
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Bhutan
  11. Cambodia

List of countries in South America with English as the official language

The entire region of South America has only one country using English as the official language. It is Guyana located in the northern part of the South American region. The country was under British rule till 1966. Hence, it recognizes English as the official language.

The countries in the South American region have been subject to North American and British dominance, but always valued their cultural heritage and language recognition. It’s the reason that this part of the world has never given supreme status to any foreign language.

List of countries in Oceania with English as the official language

The Oceania region majorly comprises island-like countries. Most of these countries have been under foreign occupation for decades. The Britishers and the French have predominantly ruled over these countries. It’s the reason these countries have adopted English as their official language.

Australia is the largest country in the Oceania region with the most English speakers, but the country has no official language. Although English has de facto status in the country, it’s not officially declared in law. The reason is Australia welcomes people from different cultures and doesn’t tie anyone to a single language.

  1. New Zealand
  2. Fiji
  3. Guam
  4. Marshall Islands
  5. Micronesia
  6. Nauru
  7. Northern Mariana Islands
  8. Palau
  9. Pitcairn
  10. Tuvalu

Why English is important?

English is often referred to as an international language. It’s a widely known and accepted language around the world. The versatility of this language makes it most useful for communication with people from around the world. With over 2 billion speakers, you can expect anyone anywhere to communicate with you in English.

The importance of the English language is evident from its use in the education sector and at the government level. Most of the research work is carried out in the English language. Many countries recognize English as their official language in different regions of the world. English is also one of the foremost languages used for business communication.

Moreover, communication is only one aspect of the English language. It has far greater importance because modern history is being written in this language. To learn about recent advances, it’s crucial to learn the English language.

To sum it up;

  • The English language is most commonly used for communication around the world.
  • You can access every type of literature in the English language very easily.
  • Multinational businesses use the English language for official communication.
  • A variety of entertainment content is readily available in the English language.

How does English affect business and communication?

Business and communication are two faces of a single coin. To do business, you must communicate. The ultimate goal of every business is to sell, and selling is an art that can only be mastered through effective communication. Once you make a good communication link with your customers, you make good business.

In between business and communication, there’s a significant role of language. Every business uses a language for communication, it can be B2B or B2C communication. English being a versatile language has great importance here. Global brands carry out their business and communication in the English language for better reach to the masses.

  • English as a language can increase a business’s reachability through effective communication.
  • The English language can create a worthy brand image and increase brand awareness.
  • The English language can help a business expand its customer base and add value to the brand.
  • The English language can help any business incorporate employees from diverse backgrounds.

How to transition into an English language-based business?

Do you want to capture the global market and create a multinational business? If yes, you need to adapt to the English language for communication within your business and with the customers. To make it happen quickly and swiftly, you can use the Wordspath translation service. It’ll help your business use English for all B2B and B2C communication.

Wordspath is a leading translation service provider offering services like translation, interpretation, transcription and subtitling, dubbing and voiceover, and AI training. You can avail of any of these services as per your requirements. Plus, you can always choose between online and offline modes.

The company’s portfolio includes various multinational businesses. It has over 13 offices in 7 countries. A team of professional translators is onboard offering quality translation services with complete ease of access. You can always go for a free-of-cost test service. The company believes in 100% customer satisfaction and never compromises on quality.

Wordspath services you should choose as a business;

  • Translation Services

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You can also choose multiple services and create a package for your business. The customer service team is available for you 24/7.

FAQs about countries with English as the official language

What is the official language of the United States? Is English their official language?

The United States has the most native English language, speakers. However, the country hasn’t declared any official language to promote cultural diversity. Still, English is used as the primary mode of communication by the government and the majority of the people. The United States of America has no official language.

How many countries with English as the official language in the world?

The total number of countries with English as an official language is 86. These countries have declared English as their official language by law. The government bodies in these countries use the English language for official communication. However, most of these countries don’t have native English speakers.

How many English native speakers in the world?

There are around 400 Million native English speakers in the world (Lingoda, 2022). A large number of these people belong to the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia. The origins of the English language trace back to these countries. In the past few decades, these countries have developed highly inclusive societies housing people from diverse cultures. The English language is no longer their only recognition.

Conclusion

The English language took hundreds of years to become an international language. It’s the offspring of the American and British societies. Their dominance in the world gave a boom to the English language. Most of the countries with English as the official language are historically related to these two groups.

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