Where does the Spanish language rank when compared to other languages around the world? In terms of number of speakers and international recognition, Spanish is a major player on the global scale. As can be seen below, its reaching influence is beyond debate.
Ranked #2 in number of native speakers
Beat only by Mandarin, Spanish is the second most spoken language (based on number of native speakers) in the world. There are more than 400 million people across the globe that speak Spanish as their native tongue. This doesn’t even count non-native speakers of the language which would clearly push the number much higher.
Official language of 21 countries
Mexico, Colombia, and Spain top the list based on population followed by the majority of the remaining countries throughout Central and South America. The United States isn’t included on the list as a country with Spanish as an official language; however, the US has the second highest number of Spanish speakers in the world following Mexico.
Most common 2nd language in the US
Spanish is overwhelmingly the most common second language learned in the United States. Over 70% of K-12 students take Spanish as a foreign language (followed by French at 14% and German at 4%), and more than 50% of university students also take Spanish classes (followed by French at 12% and American sign language at 7%). These numbers don’t even take into account anyone studying Spanish on their own outside of school.
Spanish isn’t only big in the United States and Latin America. Spanish is currently an official language of the European Union and one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations. It is also an official language in a number of other respected international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and Interpol.
The future of Spanish
The influence of Spanish will surely continue to grow in the coming years. The United States is expected to be the country with the most Spanish speakers in the world by 2050. As trade and travel between nations inevitably continues to grow, the opportunities to use Spanish will surely follow. Companies can more easily communicate with clients, and individuals can more easily make friends using Spanish. Even if you never leave your home, Spanish is the 3rd most used language on the Internet!