A total of 580 million people speak Spanish in the world, 7.6% of the world’s population. Of these, 483 million – three million more than a year ago – are native Spanish speakers, making Spanish the second most widely spoken language in the world. In addition, Spanish is studied by almost 22 million people in 110 countries. Spanish is the third most widely used language on the Internet, where it has great potential for growth. 

These are some of the most relevant data contained in the Cervantes Institute’s Yearbook Spanish in the World 2019.


  • There are almost 483 million Spanish native speakers
  • The number of Spanish users exceeds 580 million
  • Spanish is the second mother tongue in the world by number of speakers, only behind Mandarin Chinese.
  • It is the third language in the global count of speakers (native speakers + limited competence + Spanish students) after English and Chinese. 10% of the world’s population is now Spanish-speaking, an this percentage is increasing, while the proportion of Chinese, English and French speakers is decreasing. 
  • By 2050, the United States will be the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico: almost one in three Americans will be Spanish Native Speakers.

PEOPLE STUDYING SPANISH as a foreign language:

  • A total of 21,882,448 students study Spanish as a foreign language. However, the Instituto Cervantes estimates that the real demand is 25% higher, as these data hardly reflect private education.
  • In the USA, Spanish is the most studied language at all levels of education.
  • In the UK, Spanish is perceived as the most important language for the future.
  • In the European Union, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany (in that order) are the countries with the highest number of students studying Spanish.
  • There has also been a notable increase in the teaching of Spanish in English-speaking countries such as Canada (with 90,000 students), Ireland (47,000), Australia (34,000) and New Zealand (36,000).


  • Spanish is the third most used language on the Web after English and Chinese.
  • 8.1% of the communication on the Internet is in Spanish. 
  • Spanish is the second most used language in Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
  • Of the 580 millions users of the Linkedin social network, 60 million use Spanish to a greater or lesser extent.

Eduardo Arques Esteve

Director – CLInternational & La Casa-Escuela de Español

Director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in South Africa

Sworn translator – High Court of South Africa

SATI Accredited Simultaneous Interpreter