This post originally appeared on the Drops blog.
Interested in learning Spanish? Drops can help you learn Mexican Spanish or Castilian Spanish. But did you know that in addition to these two dialects, there are about eleven variants of Spanish dialects? Mexico alone has ten major dialects as does Spain.
The primary differences between Spanish dialects lie in certain ways phonemes are pronounced and how second-person pronouns (ustedes, vos, vosotros, etc.) are handled. But each of these dialects share a parent language, no matter how much they’ve diverged from one another.
But before we dive into dialects and the history of Spanish, here’s some information for you if you’re here for a quick answer:
How many people speak Spanish?
There are about 586 million Spanish speakers around the world. About 489 million are native speakers and another 75 million are second-language speakers.
How many countries have Spanish as their official language?
Spanish is an official language in 20 countries including Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain, and Ecuador. It’s also an official language in the US territory, Puerto Rico.
What percentage of the US speaks Spanish?
There are almost 60 million Spanish speakers in the US. That’s around 19% of Americans who speak Spanish.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
- A History of the Spanish Language
- How Many People Speak Spanish in the World?
- List of Countries Where Spanish is the Official Language
- Why learn Spanish
Want to get started learning Spanish right away? Try Drops out and learn your first words in Spanish.
A History of the Spanish Language
The Spanish language, like French and Italian, is a descendent of Latin. It originated on the Iberian Peninsula of Europe and it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world after English, Chinese, and Hindi.
What we know as modern Spanish began to emerge around the 9th century. In Europe, it was influenced by Portuguese, French, Catalan, Italian, and Arabic. And as it moved to the Americas, it was influenced by Native American and other indigenous languages.
How Many People Speak Spanish in the World?
There are 20 countries where Spanish is an official language and there are 586 million speakers of the Spanish language around the world. It’s one of the most taught languages along with English and French.
Here are a few more stats about countries where Spanish is spoken and the number of people who speak Spanish:
How Many People Speak Spanish In The World?
There are 586 million people who speak Spanish around the world. About 489 million people are native Spanish speakers. And because Spanish is the third most studied foreign language, another 75 million speak Spanish as a second language.
How Many People Speak Spanish In Latin America?
Spanish is the official language in every South American country except Brazil (Portuguese), Guyana (English, though many speak Guyanese Creole), Suriname (Dutch), and French Guiana (French, though many speak a Creole patois).
This means that Spanish has a large number of speakers in Latin American. There are 121 million Spanish speakers in Mexico alone. Another 46 million in Columbia and 41 million in Argentina.
How Many People Speak Spanish In The U.S.?
Around 19% of the US population speaks Spanish–that’s approximately 60 million people. More and more people are learning Spanish in the US each year, and it’s predicted that it will be the country with the highest number of Spanish speakers within the next few decades.
How Many People Speak Spanish In Europe?
Even though Europe is the birthplace of Spanish, it has fewer Spanish speakers than the US coming in at 46 million Spanish speakers.
How Many People Speak Spanish In The Rest Of The World?
The Americas and Europe are the two places where the majority of Spanish speakers receive, but there are other pockets across the globe where Spanish is spoken. In the Philippines, for example, Spanish was the official language until the 16th century. It maintained a place as a co-official language until 1987 when it became an optional language. Today, there are still around 3 million Filipinos who speak Spanish.
List of Countries Where Spanish is the Official Language
Spanish is the official language in 20 countries. Here’s the list of countries where Spanish is an official language:
- Mexico (population: 130.8 million)
- Columbia (population: 49 million)
- Spain (population: 46 million)
- Argentina (population: 44.7 million)
- Peru (population: 32.6 million)
- Venezuela (population: 32.4 million)
- Chile (population: 18.2 million)
- Guatemala (population: 17.2 million)
- Ecuador (population: 16.8 million)
- Bolivia (population: 11.2 million)
- Cuba (population: 11.5 million)
- Dominican Republic (population: 10.8 million)
- Honduras (population: 9.4 million)
- Paraguay (population: 6.9 million)
- El Salvador (population: 6.4 million)
- Nicaragua (population: 6.3 million)
- Costa Rica (population: 5 million)
- Panama (population: 4.1 million)
- Uruguay (population: 3.5 million)
- Equatorial Guinea (population: 1.3 million)
It’s also an official language in the US territory of Puerto Rico and a significant language in the US, Andorra, Belize, and Gibraltar.
Why Learn Spanish?
Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world. And by learning the language, you create the possibility of connecting with more than 480 million people around the world whether it’s through personal or professional connections.
Ready to start learning Spanish? Drops offers you a simple, fun way to learn thousands of words in Spanish with:
- Quick, engaging interactions
- 150+ word lists curated by experts
- Audio recorded by native speakers
- Memorable illustrations and no translations
- You only need 5 minutes a day
What Percentage of the World Speaks Spanish?
Wondering what percentage of the world speaks Spanish? It’s just under 5% at 4.85% according to the CIA.
Want to become one of that percentage?
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover, traveler, and foodie behind Eurolinguiste. I'm also the Resident Polyglot at Drops and the Head Coach of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.