English is undeniably the most prominent language in the world right now. It's the most widely spoken language as well as the language of the internet. How many people speak English as a native and non-native speaker? How many words do native and non-native speakers know? Read on to learn some surprising facts!

1. How many people speak English in the world?

As of 2023, more than 1.4 billion people (17% of the world population) speak English to some degree.

2. How many native English speakers are there in the world?

Only 5% of the world population (about 380 million people) are native English speakers.

3. How many non-native English speakers are there in the world?

There are more than twice as many non-native English speakers (over 1 billion people) as native English speakers.

4. Who's involved in English conversations?

At any given time, 96% of all English conversations involve non-native speakers.

5. How much of the internet is in English?

As of October 2023, 53% of all content on the internet is in English.

6. How many words do native and non-native speakers know?

On average, adult native English speakers have a vocabulary of about 25,000-30,000 words, while adult non-native English speakers have a vocabulary of about 2,000-3,000 words.

Courtesy of Lemon Grad

7. Can non-native English speakers succeed in business?

While non-native English speakers face challenges in business, some of the top executives in the world are non-native speakers: former Intel CEO Andy Grove, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, and Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma.

8. What are some challenges for non-native English speakers in academia?

Non-native speaking science researchers are nearly three times as likely to have papers rejected because of English writing, and more than 12 times as likely to be asked to rewrite papers.

9. Who makes more spelling errors?

A 2015 study analyzing GRE essays showed that 89.3% of native speakers and 97.7% of non-native speakers made spelling errors.

10. How many English learners are in U.S. public schools?

As of Fall 2020, 10.3% of all public school students were English learners in U.S. public schools (5 million students). The National Education Association predicts that this percentage will increase to 25% by 2025.

Sources: Statista 2023, Britannica, TEDx Talks, Q-Success, Lemon Grad, PLOS, Academia, NCES, NEA

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