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List of territorial entities where English is an official language

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[clarification needed]
  Not official as majority language
  Not official as minority language
All areas of the world that were ever part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories have their names underlined in red.

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.

The majority of states where English is an official language are former territories of the British Empire. Notable exceptions include Rwanda, which was formerly a Belgian territory, Cameroon, where only part of national territory were 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 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, NAFTA, African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Caribbean Community, Union of South American Nations and many other international organisations. Although English is de jure not 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. 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 to be their de facto official language due to its dominant position in these countries.


Sovereign statesEdit

Countries where English is a de facto official language
Nr Country Region Population Primary language?
1   Australia Oceania 25,019,600 Yes
2   New Zealand[1] Oceania 4,893,830 Yes
3   United Kingdom Europe 66,040,229 Yes
4   United States North America/Oceania 325,719,178 Yes
Countries where English is a de jure and de facto official language
Nr Country Region Population1 Primary language?
1   Antigua and Barbuda[2] Caribbean 85,000 Yes
2   Bahamas[2] Caribbean 331,000 Yes
3   Barbados[3] Caribbean 294,000 Yes
4   Belize[4] Central America 288,000 Yes
5   Botswana[4] Africa 1,882,000 No
6   Burundi[5] Africa 10,114,505 No
7   Cameroon[2] Africa 22,534,532 No
8   Canada[2] North America 35,985,751 Yes (except Quebec, northern New Brunswick)
9   Cook Islands14[2] Oceania 20,000 Yes
10   Dominica[2] Caribbean 73,000 Yes
11   Eswatini[2] Africa 1,141,000 No
12   Fiji[2] Oceania 828,000 No
13   The Gambia[2] Africa 1,709,000 No
14   Ghana[2] Africa 27,000,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
15   Grenada[2] Caribbean 111,000 Yes (except for small French Creole population)
16   Guyana[6] South America 738,000 Yes
17   India[4][7] Asia 1,247,540,000 No (but official and educational)
18   Ireland[8][9] Europe 4,900,000 Yes (Irish is co-official)
19   Jamaica[10] Caribbean 2,714,000 Yes
20   Kenya[2] Africa 45,010,056 Yes (in business and education)
21   Kiribati[2] Oceania 95,000 No
22   Lesotho[2] Africa 2,008,000 No
23   Liberia[2] Africa 3,750,000 Yes
24   Malawi[11] Africa 16,407,000 No
25   Malta[2] Europe 430,000 No (but official and educational)
26   Marshall Islands[2] Oceania 59,000 No
27   Mauritius[2] Africa / Indian Ocean 1,262,000 No
28   Federated States of Micronesia[2] Oceania 110,000 No
29   Namibia[2] Africa 2,074,000 No (used as lingua franca)
30   Nauru[12] Oceania 10,000 No (but widely spoken)
31   Nigeria[2][13] Africa 182,202,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
32   Niue14[2] Oceania 1,600 No
33   Pakistan[2] Asia 212,742,631 No (but official and educational)
34   Palau[4] Oceania 20,000 No
35   Papua New Guinea[14][15] Oceania 7,059,653 Yes
36   Philippines[2][16] Asia 102,885,100 Yes (Filipino is co-official)
37   Rwanda[2] Africa 11,262,564 No (but official and educational)
38   Saint Kitts and Nevis[17] Caribbean 50,000 Yes
39   Saint Lucia[2] Caribbean 165,000 Yes
40   Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[18] Caribbean 120,000 Yes
41   Samoa[19] Oceania 188,000 No
42   Seychelles[2] Africa / Indian Ocean 87,000 No
43   Sierra Leone[2] Africa 6,190,280 Yes
44   Singapore[20] Asia 5,469,700[21] Yes (used as lingua franca, mostly and widely spoken, and educational)
45   Solomon Islands[2] Oceania 507,000 No
45.5   Somaliland Africa 3,500,000+ No (but official, alongside Somali and Arabic)
46   South Africa[22] Africa 54,956,900 No (but official, educational and
lingua franca in formal economy )
47   South Sudan[23] Africa 12,340,000 No
48   Sudan[2] Africa 40,235,000 No
49   Tanzania[2] Africa 51,820,000 No
50   Tonga[24] Oceania 100,000 No
51   Trinidad and Tobago[2] Caribbean 1,333,000 Yes
52   Tuvalu[4] Oceania 11,000 No
53   Uganda[2] Africa 37,873,253 No (official and educational)[25]
54   Vanuatu[26] Oceania 226,000 No
55   Zambia[2] Africa 16,212,000 No
56   Zimbabwe[2] 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][31] Asia 415,717
4   Cyprus[32] Europe, Asia / Middle East 1,141,166
5   Egypt[33] Africa 94,798,827
6   Eritrea[2] Africa 6,234,000
7   Ethiopia[2] Africa 85,000,000
8   Iraq Asia / Middle East
9   Israel[34][35][36] Asia / Middle East 8,051,200
10   Jordan[37] Asia / Middle East 9,882,401
11   Kuwait[38] Asia / Middle East 4,348,395
12   Malaysia[39] Asia 30,018,242
13   Maldives[40] Asia 427,756
14   Myanmar[41] Asia 51,486,253
15   Oman[42] Asia / Middle East 4,424,762
16   Qatar[43] Asia / Middle East 2,675,522
17   Somalia Africa
18   Sri Lanka[44][45] Asia 20,277,597
19   United Arab Emirates[46] 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 No
  Anguilla[2] Caribbean 13,101 Yes
  Bermuda9[2] North America 65,000 Yes
  British Virgin Islands[2] Caribbean 23,000 Yes
  Cayman Islands[4] Caribbean 47,000 Yes
  Curaçao[47] Caribbean 150,563 No
  Falkland Islands South Atlantic 3,000 Yes
  Gibraltar[2] Europe 33,000 No
  Guam4 Oceania 173,000 No (<50% of population)
  Hong Kong2[2] Asia 7,097,600 No (Cantonese mostly spoken)
  Isle of Man8 Europe 80,058 Yes
  Jersey6[2] Europe 89,300 Yes
  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 (Spanish is the primary language)
  Rotuma Oceania No
  Sint Maarten[48] 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
  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
  Alabama[50]   United States North America 4,833,722
  Alaska[51]   United States North America 735,132
  Arizona[52]   United States North America 6,626,624
  Arkansas[50]   United States North America 2,959,373
  California[50]   United States North America 38,332,521
  Colorado[50]   United States North America 5,268,367
  Florida[50]   United States North America 21,299,325
  Georgia[50]   United States North America 10,519,475
  Hawaii[50]   United States Oceania 1,404,054
  Idaho[50]   United States North America 1,612,136
  Illinois[50]   United States North America 12,882,135
  Indiana[50]   United States North America 6,570,902
  Iowa[50]   United States North America 3,090,416
  Kansas[50]   United States North America 2,893,957
  Kentucky[50]   United States North America 4,395,295
  Louisiana[53]   United States North America 4,670,724
  Massachusetts[53]   United States North America 6,794,422
  Mississippi[50]   United States North America 2,991,207
  Missouri[50]   United States North America 6,083,672
  Montana[50]   United States North America 1,015,165
  Nebraska[50]   United States North America 1,868,516
  New Hampshire[50]   United States North America 1,323,459
  North Carolina[50]   United States North America 9,848,060
   North Dakota[50]   United States North America 723,393
  Northern Ireland   United Kingdom Europe 1,876,695
  Oklahoma[54]   United States North America 3,850,568
  Saba[55]   Netherlands Caribbean 1,991
  San Andrés y Providencia[56]   Colombia South America 75,167
  Sarawak[57][58][59]   Malaysia Asia 2,471,140
  Scotland[60]   United Kingdom Europe 5,424,800
  Sint Eustatius[55]   Netherlands Caribbean 3,897
  South Carolina[50]   United States North America 4,774,839
  South Dakota[50]   United States North America 844,877
  Tennessee[50]   United States North America 6,495,978
  Texas[50]   United States North America 27,469,114
  Utah[50]   United States North America 2,900,872
  Virginia[50]   United States North America 8,260,405
  Wales[61]   United Kingdom Europe 3,125,000
  West Virginia[62]   United States North America 1,844,128
  Wyoming[50]   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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  40. ^ "Other languages spoken in Maldives include English, which is also recognized as the second main language. Initially, Dhivehi was used as the medium of teaching in schools, but the need to promote higher education led to the conversion of syllabus in English. Now, English is widely spoken by the locals of Maldives." "Maldives Languages". Retrieved Feb 2, 2017.
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