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English-speaking countries

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Title: English-speaking countries  
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English-speaking countries

The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where English is an official language, i.e., the language of government. In 2012, there were 88 states in total (60 sovereign states and 28 non-sovereign states).

The majority of countries where English is a prominent or official language are former colonies of the British Empire. Notable exceptions include Rwanda, which was a former Belgian colony, and Eritrea, which was an Italian colony where the British Empire spanned its control only in World War II and shortly after (1941-1952).

English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and the Commonwealth Games. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee. Although English isn't classified as an official language in the United States many states and regions within the U.S. do have English as an official language.

India's linguistic picture is complex. According to the Constitution of India, "Hindi in the Devanagari script" is the official language of the union;[1] and English the 'subsidiary official language';[2] however, English is mandated for the authoritative texts of all federal laws and Supreme Court decisions and (along with Hindi) is one of the two languages of the Indian Parliament. English is used almost exclusively for higher education,. Courses in majority of the schools are taught exclusively in English.

The linguistic makeup of Pakistan is similarly complex. While the national language is Urdu, English is an official language and used in business, government and law.[3]

Sovereign states

Countries where English is a de jure/official language
Country Region Population1
 Antigua and Barbuda[4] Caribbean 85,000
 Bahamas[4] Caribbean 331,000
 Barbados[5] Caribbean 294,000
 Belize [6] Central America / Caribbean 288,000
 Botswana [6] Africa 1,882,000
 Cameroon[4] Africa 18,549,000
 Canada[4] North America 33,531,000
 Dominica[4] Caribbean 73,000
 Jordan[4] Middle East 6,000,000
 Fiji[4] Oceania 827,900
 Gambia[4] Africa 1,709,000
 Ghana[4] Africa 23,478,000
 Grenada[4] Caribbean 106,000
 Guyana[7] South America / Caribbean 738,000
 India [6][8] Asia 1,247,540,000
 Ireland[9] Europe 4,581,269
 Jamaica[10] Caribbean 2,714,000
 Kenya[4] Africa 37,538,000
 Kiribati[4] Oceania 95,000
 Lesotho[4] Africa 2,008,000
 Liberia[4] Africa 3,750,000
 Malawi[11] Africa 13,925,000
 Malta[4] Europe 412,600
 Marshall Islands[4] Oceania 59,000
 Mauritius[4] Africa / Indian Ocean 1,262,000
 Federated States of Micronesia[4] Oceania 111,000
 Namibia[4] Africa 2,074,000
 Nauru[12] Oceania 10,000
 New Zealand[4] Oceania 4,294,350
 Nigeria[4][13] Africa 148,093,000
 Pakistan[4] Asia 165,449,000
 Palau [6] Oceania 20,000
 Papua New Guinea[14][15] Oceania 6,331,000
 Philippines[16][4] Asia 90,457,200
 Rwanda[4] Africa 9,725,000
 Saint Kitts and Nevis[17] Caribbean 50,000
 Saint Lucia[4] Caribbean 165,000
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[18] Caribbean 120,000
 Samoa[19] Oceania 188,359
 Seychelles[4] Africa / Indian Ocean 87,000
 Sierra Leone[4] Africa 5,866,000
 Singapore[20] Asia 5,312,400[21]
 Solomon Islands[4] Oceania 506,992
 South Africa[22] Africa 47,850,700
 South Sudan[23] Africa 8,260,490
 Sudan[4] Africa 31,894,000
 Swaziland[4] Africa 1,141,000
 Tanzania[4] Africa 40,454,000
 Tonga[24] Oceania 100,000
 Trinidad and Tobago[4] Caribbean 1,333,000
 Tuvalu[6] Oceania 11,000
 Uganda[4] Africa 30,884,000
 Vanuatu[25] Oceania 226,000
 Zambia[4] Africa 11,922,000
 Zimbabwe[4] Africa 13,349,000
Countries where English is the de facto language
Country Region Population1
 Australia[26] Australia / Oceania 22,930,576
 United Kingdom Europe 61,612,300
 United States North America 309,442,000
Countries where English has a de facto official status and is a common secondary, but not primary language
Country Region Population1
 Israel[27][28][29] Asia / Middle East 8,051,200

Non-sovereign entities

Entity Region Population1
 American Samoa11 Oceania 67,700
 Anguilla[4] Caribbean 13,000
 Bermuda9[4] North America 65,000
 British Virgin Islands[4] Caribbean 23,000
 Cayman Islands [6] Caribbean 47,000
 Christmas Island12[4] Australia 1,508
 Cocos (Keeling) Islands[4] Australia 596
 Cook Islands[4] Oceania 20,200
 Curaçao[30] Caribbean 150,563
 Falkland Islands South Atlantic 3,000
 Gibraltar[4] Europe 29,257
 Guam4 Oceania 173,000
 Guernsey10 Europe 61,811
 Hong Kong2[4] Asia 7,097,600
 Isle of Man8 Europe 80,058
 Jersey6[4] Europe 89,300
 Montserrat[6] Caribbean 5,900
 Niue[4] Oceania 1,600
 Norfolk Island[4] Australia 1,828
 Northern Mariana Islands7 Oceania 53,883
 Pitcairn Islands13[4] Oceania 50
 Puerto Rico3 Caribbean 3,991,000
 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha[6] South Atlantic 5,660
 Sint Maarten[31] Caribbean 40,900
Colombia San Andrés y Providencia, Colombia [32] Caribbean 59,573
 Tokelau[6] Oceania 1,400
 Turks and Caicos Islands[4] Caribbean 26,000
 U.S. Virgin Islands5 Caribbean 111,000

See also

Commonwealth realms portal
British Empire portal


^1 The population figures are based on the sources in List of countries by population, with information as of 23 January 2009 (UN estimates, et al.)
^2 Hong Kong is a former British Crown colony (1843-1981) and British Dependent Territory (1981-1997); it is currently a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (1997- present)
^3 Puerto Rico is, historically and culturally, connected to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean; Spanish is also an official language on the island. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory referred to as a "Commonwealth"
^4 Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States
^5 The US Virgin Islands is an insular area of the United States
^6 Jersey is a British Crown dependency
^7 The Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the United States
^8 Isle of Man is a British Crown dependency
^9 Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory
^10 Guernsey is a British Crown dependency
^11 American Samoa is an unincorporated U.S. territory
^12 Christmas Island is an external territory of Australia
^13 Pitcairn Islands is a British Overseas Territory


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