The prestigious Cervantes Institute has released Spanish in the World 2015, its latest edition of their annual update on the Spanish language. The Cervantes Institute is a worldwide nonprofit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. With branches in over 20 countries, it is the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish language and culture. Spanish is the mother tongue of 470 million people and the third-most-used language online, according to the extremely detailed report.
The detail and richness of the report is due to the analysis of 30 years of data about the current position and evolution of Spanish around the world. For example, it was only recently discovered that there are more than 1.2 million people studying Spanish in sub-Saharan Africa! The report estimates that 21 million people are currently studying Spanish world-wide with the US leading with 7.8 million, followed by Brazil and France.
One of the highlights of the report was that the Institute itself has become more Latin American. The Spanish government furnishes 50% of its budget, while more than 65% of the Institute’s activities are the result of collaboration with Hispanic American countries. The report also analyzes the current position of Spanish in the U.S. and its importance in science, literature, and film.
(Scroll down for the video).
- In 2015, nearly 470 million people spoke Spanish as their mother tongue.
- The number of people with the ability to communicate in Spanish grew to nearly 559 million.
- Spanish is the world’s second most spoken mother tongue after Chinese.
- Due to population trends, the number of mother-tongue Spanish speakers is continuing to rise, while the proportions of Chinese and English mother-tongue speakers are falling.
- 7% of the world’s population is Spanish speaking. This figure is predicted to rise to 7.5% by 2030.
- More than 21 million people study Spanish as a foreign language worldwide.
- 9% of internet users communicate in Spanish.
- Spanish is the third-most-used language online after English and Chinese.
- Spanish is the second-most-used language on the two main social networks, Facebook and Twitter.
- The U.S. is now the second biggest Spanish speaking country having 41 million native speakers and 11.6 million who are Spanish-English bilingual. The largest is Mexico.
- New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona have the highest concentrations of Spanish speakers.
Profiles of U.S. Hispanics studying Spanish: The Guardian