List of territorial entities where English is an official language

The following is a list of territories where English is an official language—that is, a language used in citizen interactions with government officials. As of 2019, there were 55 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities where English was an official language. Many country subdivisions have declared English an official language at the local or regional level.

Nations in which English is an official language (de facto or de jure). Anglosphere countries are those where English is the main native language.
  Official as majority language
  Official as minority language
  Co-official as majority language
  Co-official as minority language
  Unofficial (but widely spoken as a second language)
  Not official as majority language
  Not official as minority language
All areas of the world that were ever part of the British Empire. The names of current British Overseas Territories are underlined in red.

Most states where English is an official language are former territories of the British Empire. Exceptions include Rwanda, which was formerly a Belgian territory; Cameroon, where only part of national territory was under British mandate; and Liberia, the Philippines, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau, which were American territories. English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, NAFTA, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Caribbean Community, the Union of South American Nations, and many other international organisations. Although English is not de jure an official language at the national level in the United States, most states and territories within the United States have English as an official language, and only Puerto Rico uses a language other than English as a primary working language.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, where the overwhelming majority of native English speakers reside, do not have English as an official language de jure, but English is considered their de facto official language because it dominates in these countries.

Sovereign statesEdit

Countries where English is a de facto official language
Nr Country Alpha-3 code Region Population Primary language?
1   Australia AUS Oceania 25,019,600 Yes
2   New Zealand[1] NZL Oceania 4,893,830 Yes
3   United Kingdom GBR Europe 66,040,229 Yes
4   United States USA North America/Oceania 328,239,523 Yes
Countries where English is a de jure and de facto official language
Nr Country Alpha-3 code Region Population1 Primary language?
1   Antigua and Barbuda[2] ATG Caribbean 85,000 Yes
2   Bahamas[2] BHS Caribbean 331,000 Yes
3   Barbados[3] BRB Caribbean 294,000 Yes
4   Belize[4] BLZ Central America 288,000 Yes
5   Botswana[4] BWA Africa 1,882,000 No
6   Burundi[5] BDI Africa 10,114,505 No
7   Cameroon[2] CMR Africa 22,534,532 No
8   Canada[2] CAN North America 35,985,751 Yes (except Quebec, northern New Brunswick)
9   Dominica[2] DMA Caribbean 73,000 Yes
10   Eswatini[2] SWZ Africa 1,141,000 No
11   Fiji[2] FJI Oceania 828,000 Yes (used as lingua franca, mostly and widely spoken, educational, commerce, and government)
12   Gambia[2] GMB Africa 1,709,000 No
13   Ghana[2] GHA Africa 27,000,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
14   Grenada[2] GRD Caribbean 111,000 Yes (except for small French Creole population)
15   Guyana[6] GUY South America 738,000 Yes
16   India[4][7] IND Asia 1,247,540,000 No (but official and educational)
17   Ireland[8][9] IRL Europe 4,900,000 Yes (Irish is co-official)
18   Jamaica[10] JAM Caribbean 2,714,000 Yes
19   Kenya[2] KEN Africa 45,010,056 Yes (in business and education)
20   Kiribati[2] KIR Oceania 95,000 No
21   Lesotho[2] LSO Africa 2,008,000 No
22   Liberia[2] LBR Africa 3,750,000 Yes
23   Malawi[11] MWI Africa 16,407,000 No
24   Malta[2] MLT Europe 430,000 No (but official and in business / education)
25   Marshall Islands[2] MHL Oceania 59,000 No
26   Mauritius[2] MUS Africa / Indian Ocean 1,262,000 No
27   Micronesia[2] FSM Oceania 110,000 No
28   Namibia[2] NAM Africa 2,074,000 No (used as lingua franca)
29   Nauru[12] NRU Oceania 10,000 No (but widely spoken)
30   Nigeria[2][13] NGA Africa 182,202,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
31   Pakistan[2] PAK Asia 212,742,631 No (but official and educational)
32   Palau[4] PLW Oceania 20,000 No
33   Papua New Guinea[14][15] PNG Oceania 7,059,653 Yes
34   Philippines[2][16]17 PHL Asia 102,885,100 No (but official and educational)
35   Rwanda[2] RWA Africa 11,262,564 No (but official and educational)
36   Saint Kitts and Nevis[17] KNA Caribbean 50,000 Yes
37   Saint Lucia[2] LCA Caribbean 165,000 Yes
38   Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[18] VCT Caribbean 120,000 Yes
39   Samoa[19] WSM Oceania 188,000 No
40   Seychelles[2] SYC Africa / Indian Ocean 87,000 No
41   Sierra Leone[2] SLE Africa 6,190,280 Yes
42   Singapore[20] SGP Asia 5,469,700[21] Yes (used as lingua franca, mostly and widely spoken, and educational)
43   Solomon Islands[2] SLB Oceania 507,000 No
44   South Africa[22] ZAF Africa 54,956,900 Yes (and official, educational and lingua franca in formal economy)
45   South Sudan[23] SSD Africa 12,340,000 No
46   Sudan[2] SDN Africa 40,235,000 No
47   Tanzania[2] TZA Africa 51,820,000 No
48   Tonga[24] TON Oceania 100,000 No
49   Trinidad and Tobago[2] TTO Caribbean 1,333,000 Yes
50   Tuvalu[4] TUV Oceania 11,000 No
51   Uganda[2] UGA Africa 37,873,253 No (but official and educational)[25]
52   Vanuatu[26] VUT Oceania 226,000 No
53   Zambia[2] ZMB Africa 16,212,000 No
54   Zimbabwe[2] ZWE Africa 13,061,239 No (used as lingua franca)
Countries where English is a de facto official, but not primary language
Nr Country Region Population1
1   Bahrain[27][28] Asia / Middle East 1,378,000
2   Bangladesh[29] Asia 150,039,000
3   Brunei[30] Asia 415,717
4   Cambodia[31] Asia 15,288,489
5   Cyprus[32] Asia / Middle East 1,141,166
6   Eritrea[2] Africa 6,234,000
7   Ethiopia[2] Africa 85,000,000
8   Israel[33][34][35] Asia / Middle East 8,051,200
9   Jordan[36] Asia / Middle East 9,882,401
10   Kuwait[37] Asia / Middle East 4,348,395
11   Malaysia[38] Asia 30,018,242
12   Maldives[39] Asia 427,756
13   Myanmar[40] Asia 51,486,253
14   Oman[41] Asia / Middle East 4,424,762
15   Qatar[42] Asia / Middle East 2,675,522
16   Sri Lanka[43][44] Asia 20,277,597
17   United Arab Emirates[45] Asia / Middle East 5,779,760

Non-sovereign entitiesEdit

Non-sovereign entities where English is a de jure official language
Entity Region Population1 Primary language?
  Akrotiri and Dhekelia Europe 15,700 No
  American Samoa11 Oceania 67,700 Yes (along with Samoan)
  Anguilla[2] Caribbean 18,090 Yes
  Bermuda9[2] North America 65,000 Yes
  British Virgin Islands[2] Caribbean 23,000 Yes
  Cayman Islands[4] Caribbean 47,000 Yes
  Cook Islands[2]14 Oceania 20,000 Yes
  Curaçao[46] Caribbean 150,563 No
  Falkland Islands South Atlantic 3,000 Yes
  Gibraltar[2] Europe 33,000 Yes
  Guam4 Oceania 173,000 Yes
  Hong Kong2[2] Asia 7,097,600 No (but de facto co-official with Cantonese )
  Isle of Man8 Europe 80,058 Yes
  Jersey6[2] Europe 89,300 Yes
  Niue[2]14 Oceania 1,600 No
  Norfolk Island[2] Australia 1,828 Yes
  Northern Mariana Islands7 Oceania 53,883 No
  Pitcairn Islands13[2] Oceania 50 Yes
  Puerto Rico3 Caribbean 3,991,000 No (co-official with Spanish as the primary language)
  Rotuma Oceania 1,594 No
  Sint Maarten[47] Caribbean 40,900 Yes
  Turks and Caicos Islands[2] Caribbean 26,000 Yes
  U.S. Virgin Islands5 Caribbean 111,000 Yes
Non-sovereign entities where English is a de facto official language
Entity Region Population1
  British Indian Ocean Territory Indian Ocean 3,000
  Guernsey10 Europe 61,811
  Montserrat[2] Caribbean 5,900
  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha[4] South Atlantic 5,660
Non-sovereign entities where English is a de facto official, but not primary, language
Entity Region Population1
  Christmas Island12[2] Australia 1,508
  Cocos (Keeling) Islands16[2] Australia 596
  Macau[48] Asia 696,100
  Tokelau[49] Oceania 1,400

Country subdivisionsEdit

In these country subdivisions, English has de jure official status, but English is not official in their respective countries at the national level.

Country subdivisions where English is a de jure official language
Subdivision Country Region Population
  Nagaland[50]   India Asia 1,980,602
  Alabama[51]   United States North America 4,833,722
  Alaska[52]   United States North America 735,132
  Arizona[53]   United States North America 6,626,624
  Arkansas[51]   United States North America 2,959,373
  California[51]   United States North America 38,332,521
  Colorado[51]   United States North America 5,268,367
  Florida[51]   United States North America 21,299,325
  Georgia[51]   United States North America 10,519,475
  Hawaii[51]   United States Oceania 1,404,054
  Idaho[51]   United States North America 1,612,136
  Illinois[51]   United States North America 12,882,135
  Indiana[51]   United States North America 6,570,902
  Iowa[51]   United States North America 3,090,416
  Kansas[51]   United States North America 2,893,957
  Kentucky[51]   United States North America 4,395,295
  Massachusetts[54]   United States North America 6,794,422
  Mississippi[51]   United States North America 2,991,207
  Missouri[51]   United States North America 6,083,672
  Montana[51]   United States North America 1,015,165
  Nebraska[51]   United States North America 1,868,516
  New Hampshire[51]   United States North America 1,323,459
  North Carolina[51]   United States North America 9,848,060
  North Dakota[51]   United States North America 723,393
  Northern Ireland[55]   United Kingdom Europe 1,876,695
  Oklahoma[56]   United States North America 3,850,568
  North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region[57]   Nicaragua Central America 480,874
  South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region[58]   Nicaragua Central America 385,102
  Saba[59]   Netherlands Caribbean 1,991
  San Andrés y Providencia[60]   Colombia South America 75,167
  Sarawak[61][62][63]   Malaysia Asia 2,471,140
  Scotland[64]   United Kingdom Europe 5,424,800
  Sint Eustatius[59]   Netherlands Caribbean 3,897
  South Carolina[51]   United States North America 4,774,839
  South Dakota[51]   United States North America 844,877
  Tennessee[51]   United States North America 6,495,978
  Utah[51]   United States North America 2,900,872
  Virginia[51]   United States North America 8,260,405
  Wales[65]   United Kingdom Europe 3,125,000
  West Virginia[66]   United States North America 1,844,128
  Wyoming[51]   United States North America 582,658

See alsoEdit


^1 The population figures are based on the sources in List of countries by population, with information as of 23 January 2009 (UN estimates, et al.), and refer to the population of the country and not necessarily to the number of inhabitants that speak English in the country in question.
^2 Hong Kong is a former British Crown colony (1843-1981) and British Dependent Territory (1981-1997); it is currently a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (1997- present)
^3 Puerto Rico is, historically and culturally, connected to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean; Spanish is also an official language on the island. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory referred to as a "Commonwealth"
^4 Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States
^5 The US Virgin Islands is an insular area of the United States
^6 Jersey is a British Crown dependency
^7 The Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the United States
^8 Isle of Man is a British Crown dependency
^9 Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory
^10 Guernsey is a British Crown dependency
^11 American Samoa is an unincorporated U.S. territory
^12 Christmas Island is an external territory of Australia
^13 Pitcairn Islands is a British Overseas Territory
^14 The Cook Islands and Niue are associated states of New Zealand that lack general recognition.
^16 Cocos (Keeling) Islands is an external territory of Australia


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