Poll: What percentage of the world population speak Standard English?

What percentage of the world population speak Standard English?

Above 50%
40 - 50%
30 - 40%
20 - 30%
10 - 20%
5 - 10%
1 - 5%

Statistics Poll Stats

This Poll:

  • Votes: 5,774
  • Comments: 34
  • Added: May 2004



Well under 50% of the word's population speaks English of any kind.


Anyone who thinks that over 50% of the world speaks english has clearly never left the confines of their own small town.

Adam Brewer

"Standard English" is not defined. Does it mean a native speaker, or does it include people who know "standard" English as a second language and just excluding Pidgins.


It is around 30%. 322 million people speak english as first language, and 500 million speak it as a second language. Its almost around a billion in total. Yet the world population is 6 Billion +. So i believe that it is only 30% maximum. And will decrease in the future.


that is weird


I thought less than 50% of the world speaks Mandarin and that is the world's most spoken language; thus there must be less than 50% of people who speak Standard English

English girl

what is the worlds poulation?


About 6 billion people

aye english

in just about any remote corner of the world you go, somebody speaks english. but in los angeles, right here in the largest english speaking country in the world, at least 25% of the population (conservative estimate) doesn't speak english. now that just ain't no good.


Your English just aint no good


WHo cares what people's opinions are? Most people were wrong. What is the correct answer?


It's about 20%. The most "liberal" estimates put it as high as 30%.

liam mendez

all i whant to know is can spanish people speak english


Anyone who believes that 50% of the world's population speaks english either lives in a cave or in Pittsburgh!

Man Man

I don't think that so much people can speak english correctly.
Especially in Asia Country. So I think will definitele less than 50%.
But it's only what I think ...!!


The world population is 6780 million, only 340 million speak english as first language, and a similar number as a second language, so no more than 10% can speak english fluently.


English has become the main language of business, science, airlines, and most Japanese, Chinese, Indian, German, Russians, Northern Europeans and Central Europeans are all on their way to making it the number one language for international use. For better or worse most South Americans who come illegally to the U.S. ironically did not have much English in their limited schooling and this is why California will eventually if not already become a state with two languages.

T. Rulz

Is there any actual answer for this?


Sources people, Cite your sources

Rick Payne

It is why my new books are all written in at least two languages, I want to encourage learning a second language.

phuk tifano

vitnames and italian translation is remarkably difficult however "no smoke without saying never" is still a problematic idiom


i think above 50% of world population speak english



Yeah i agree with the last comment from Mark [13-12-11]. I see standard English as the academics tongue [mostly] and for all the people in governments around the world. So i would say less than 10%.


In terms of English speakers in China, I like 300 million, but just for learners and if this number is higher for those who speak it at a conversational level, I'm afraid that 320,000,000 conversational level english speakers in China is too much for me and 10,000,000 is enough for me in terms of this.

Felipe Robles

The world population is 6 000 million or 6 billion (US billions). Many people claim to speak another language well but I am not so sure. What I do know is that people whose language is spoken around the world or by 100s of millions tend not to know another language e.g. in Spain most programmes are either made in Spain or from a Hispanophone country and non-Spanish ones are dubbed, hence little desire to know a foreign tongue.

Chad Bush


I'd say it is lower than 10% since the poll refers to Standard English, i.e. the standardized dialect of the English language. Given the fact that usually only the accents General American and Received Pronunciation are considered Standard English, one has to admit that the percentage is quite low. In 2008 Crystal (he's a linguist) estimated that English is spoken by roughly 30% of the world's population. I think it might have increased quite a bit since 2008, but it's still far from 50%.


I guess 10-20%?


It's 5% of the world


There are two other languages with more speakers of the language than the English language. Mandarin Chinese has 1.3 billion speakers and Spanish has 427 million speakers when the English language only has 339 million speakers.

David Crystal

Only around 15% of British people speak Standard English. The rest speak different dialects of English. If we extrapolate that figure to all native English speakers, we're talking about 50m people in the world. Non-native speakers tend to be taught Standard English, but how many are proficient speakers? If we say 10%, then that's around 50m. So 100m would be around 1.5% of the global population.


Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from roughly 1 to 1.5 billion. When combining native and non-native speakers, English may or may not be the most widely spoken language worldwide, competing only with the Chinese languages (depending both on the definition of "Chinese language" and on what counts as second language competence).
Source: Wikipedia


18% of the world population speak english. Only 400 million are native speakers.

Browse our language polls:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25