English as an official language facts for kids

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This is a list of sovereign states and territories where English is an official language. That means it is a language used by their governments, churches, mosques, schools and business. In 2014, there were 88 states: 60 sovereign states and 38 non-sovereign states).

Most countries where English is a prominent or official language are former colonies of the British Empire. Notable exceptions include Rwanda, which was a former Belgian colony, and Eritrea, which was an Italian colony where the British Empire controlled it only in World War II and shortly after (1941–1952).

English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and the Commonwealth Games. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee. Although English is not classified as an official language in the United States many states and regions within the U.S. do have English as an official language.

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 (must be used) for the authoritative texts of all federal laws and Supreme Court decisions and (with Hindi) is one of the two languages of the Indian Parliament. English is taught in schools, and the quality and effectiveness of the teaching is extremely varied. English is used almost exclusively for higher education.

The linguistic makeup of Pakistan is also complex. While the national language is Urdu, English is an official language and used in business, government and law.

Sovereign states

Countries where English is a de jure/official language
Country Region Population
 Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean 85,000
 Bahamas Caribbean 331,000
 Barbados Caribbean 294,000
 Belize Central America / Caribbean 288,000
 Botswana Africa 1,882,000
 Cameroon Africa 18,549,000
 Canada North America 33,531,000
 Dominica Caribbean 73,000
 Eritrea Africa 5,224,000
 Fiji Oceania 827,900
 Ghana Africa 23,478,000
 Grenada Caribbean 106,000
 Guyana South America / Caribbean 738,000
 India Asia 1,247,540,000
 Ireland Europe 4,581,269
 Jamaica Caribbean 2,714,000
 Kenya Africa 37,538,000
 Kiribati Oceania 95,000
 Lesotho Africa 2,008,000
 Liberia Africa 3,750,000
 Malawi Africa 13,925,000
 Malta Europe 412,600
 Marshall Islands Oceania 59,000
 Mauritius Africa / Indian Ocean 1,262,000
 Federated States of Micronesia Oceania 111,000
 Namibia Africa 2,074,000
 Nauru Oceania 10,000
 New Zealand Oceania 4,294,350
 Nigeria Africa 148,093,000
 Pakistan Asia 165,449,000
 Palau Oceania 20,000
 Papua New Guinea Oceania 6,331,000
 Philippines Asia 90,457,200
 Rwanda Africa 9,725,000
 Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean 50,000
 Saint Lucia Caribbean 165,000
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Caribbean 120,000
 Samoa Oceania 188,359
 Seychelles Africa / Indian Ocean 87,000
 Sierra Leone Africa 5,866,000
 Singapore Asia 5,312,400
 Solomon Islands Oceania 506,992
 South Africa Africa 47,850,700
 South Sudan Africa 8,260,490
 Sudan Africa 31,894,000
 Swaziland Africa 1,141,000
 Tanzania Africa 40,454,000
 Tonga Oceania 100,000
 Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean 1,333,000
 Tuvalu Oceania 11,000
 Uganda Africa 30,884,000
 Vanuatu Oceania 226,000
 Zambia Africa 11,922,000
 Zimbabwe Africa 13,349,000
Countries where English is the de facto language
Country Region Population
 Australia Australia / Oceania 22,930,577
 United Kingdom Europe 61,612,300
 United States North America 309,442,000

Non-sovereign entities

Entity Region Population
 American Samoa Oceania 67,700
 Anguilla Caribbean 13,000
 Bermuda North America 65,000
 British Virgin Islands Caribbean 23,000
 Cayman Islands Caribbean 47,000
 Christmas Island Australia 1,508
 Cocos (Keeling) Islands Australia 596
 Cook Islands Oceania 20,200
 Curaçao Caribbean 150,563
 Falkland Islands South Atlantic 3,000
 Gibraltar Europe 29,257
 Guam Oceania 173,000
 Guernsey Europe 61,811
 Hong Kong Asia 7,097,600
 Isle of Man Europe 80,058
 Jersey Europe 89,300
 Montserrat Caribbean 5,900
 Niue Oceania 1,600
 Norfolk Island Australia 1,828
 Northern Mariana Islands Oceania 53,883
 Pitcairn Islands Oceania 50
 Puerto Rico Caribbean 3,991,000
 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha South Atlantic 5,660
 Sint Maarten Caribbean 40,900
 Tokelau Oceania 1,400
 Turks and Caicos Islands Caribbean 26,000
 U.S. Virgin Islands Caribbean 111,000

Footnotes

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 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)
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"
Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States
The US Virgin Islands is an insular area of the United States
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 a British Overseas Territory
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

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