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The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where English is an official language. Most of these countries, such as Pakistanmarker, Irelandmarker, New Zealandmarker, Canadamarker and the Philippinesmarker, use English as an official language but not the sole official language (and usually not the main official language).

This list does not include countries where English is the dominant language, but does not have official status. In Australia, English is spoken by the vast majority of the population and is the only language used in government institutions, yet Australia does not have an official language. This is the same in the United Statesmarker although some states and regions within the U.S. have English as an official language.

Map of nations using English as an official language or as the predominant language.

Almost all of these countries are current or former colonies or dependencies of the United Kingdommarker (see also British Empire). The notable exceptions are Madagascarmarker and Rwandamarker which are former Frenchmarker and Belgianmarker colonies respectively with English-speaking neighbors; Philippinesmarker, which became a U.S. dependent territory in 1898 by action of the Treaty of Paris; and Liberiamarker which, after being privately colonized beginning in 1821 by the American Colonization Society, developed into the Republic of Liberia.

India's linguistic picture is complex. According to the Constitution of India, "Hindi in the Devanagari script" is the official language of the union and English the 'subsidiary official language'; however, English is mandated for the authoritative texts of all federal laws and Supreme Court decisions, and (along with Hindi) is one of the two languages of the Indian Parliament. See Official languages of India.

Sovereign states

Country Region Population
North America 85,000
Oceania 21,450,000
North America 331,000
North America 294,000
Central America 288,000
Africa 1,882,000
Africa 18,549,000
North America 33,531,000
North America 67,000
Oceania 827,900
Africa 1,709,000
Africa 23,478,000
North America 106,000
South America 738,000
(associate status) South Asia 1,143,540,000
Europe 4,517,800
North America 2,714,000
Africa 37,538,000
Oceania 95,000
Africa 2,008,000
Africa 3,750,000
Africa 19,683,000
Africa 13,925,000
Europe 412,600
Oceania 59,000
Africa 1,262,000
Oceania 111,000
Africa 2,074,000
Oceania 10,000
Oceania 4,294,350
Africa 148,093,000
South Asia 165,449,000
Oceania 20,000
Oceania 6,331,000
Asia 90,457,200
Africa 9,725,000
North America 50,000
North America 165,000
North America 120,000
Oceania 188,359
Africa 87,000
Africa 5,866,000
Asia 4,839,400
Oceania 506,992
Africa 47,850,700
Africa 38,560,000
Africa 1,141,000
Africa 40,454,000
Oceania 100,000
North America 1,333,000
Oceania 11,000
Africa 30,884,000
Europe 61,612,300
Oceania 226,000
Africa 11,922,000
Africa 13,349,000

Non-sovereign entities

Entity Continent Population
Oceania 67,000
North America 13,000
North America 65,000
North America 23,000
North America 47,000
Oceania 1,508
Oceania 20,200
South America 3,000
Europe 29,257
Oceania 173,000
Europe 61,811
Asia 6,985,200
Europe 80,058
Europe 89,300
North America 5,900
N & S America 183,000
Oceania 1,600
Oceania 1,828
Oceania 84,000
Oceania 50
North America 3,991,000
(includes ) Africa 6,600
Oceania 1,400
North America 26,000
North America 111,000


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.)
Hong Kong is a former British colony (1843-1981), British-Dependent Territory (1981-1997) and special administrative region of the People's Republic of Chinamarker (1997- present)
Puerto Rico is, historically and geographically, connected to the Spanish-speaking Caribbeanmarker; Spanish is the main language of the majority of Puerto Ricans. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory referred to as a "Commonwealth"
Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States
The US Virgin Islands is an insular area of the United Statesmarker
Jersey is a British Crown dependency
The Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the United States
Isle of Man is a British Crown dependency
Bermuda is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom
Guernsey is a British Crown dependency
American Samoa is an unincorporated U.S. territory
Christmas Island is an external territory of Australia
Pitcairn Islands is a British overseas territory
Widely spoken, but country has not designated any official language


  1. Official language; .
  2. English usage; .
  3. The Constitution of Jamaica (section 20(6e) — implicit)
  4. English and Nauruan are official.
  5. (See Article XIV, Section 7)
  6. Languages for official legislation are Samoan and English.
  7. English and Tongan are listed as official.

See also

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