What Percentage of the World’s Population Is Fluent in English?

According to Ethnologue, English is spoken by 983 million people worldwide, or 13% of the global population.

English is spoken as a primary language by 372 million people and as a second language by 611 million people.

According to the British Council, English is understood by 25% of the world’s population. This number, however, does not distinguish between fluent or native speakers and those who just know a few basic phrases. According to a research published in Science, by the middle of the nineteenth century, 9 percent of the world’s population spoke English as a first language. According to the same study, only 5% of the world’s population will speak English as a first language by 2050.


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