US Becomes Second-Largest Spanish Speaking Country After Mexico

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

According to the Instituto Cervantes, an organization created by the Spanish government in 1991 to promote the Spanish language, more people speak Spanish in the United States than any other country in the world except for Mexico.

The organization conducted a study that revealed 41 million native Spanish speakers now live in the United States. That number is swollen by 11.6 million bilingual speakers, whose parents are typically Spanish-speaking immigrants. With 52.6 million Spanish speakers, the U.S. has surpassed Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million). Only Mexico’s 121 million Spanish speakers outnumber the U.S.

The U.S. Census Office believes there will be 138 million Spanish speakers in the nation by 2050, overtaking Mexico.

New Mexico has the most Spanish speakers, with 47 percent of its population speaking the language. California and Texas follow with 38 percent, while Arizona trails with 30 percent. In New York, 18 percent of the state’s citizens speak Spanish; the lowest percentage in the nation resides in West Virginia, with 1.3 percent.

According to the Instituto, 559 million people speak Spanish around the world and 21 million people are learning Spanish around the globe. And 7.8 million people are studying Spanish in the U.S., more that any other country.

Twenty-one nations across the world list Spanish as their official language: Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay, and Equatorial Guinea.


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