List of territorial entities where English is an official language

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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 (but widely spoken as a second language)
  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 level.

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 was 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 (ASEAN). 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 states[edit]

Countries where English is a de facto official language
Nr Country Alpha-3 code Region Population Primary language?
1  Australia AUS Oceania 25,019,600 Yes
2  New Zealand[1] NZL Oceania 4,893,830 Yes
3  United Kingdom GBR Europe 66,040,229 Yes
4  United States USA North America/Oceania 328,239,523 Yes
Countries where English is a de jure and de facto official language
Nr Country Alpha-3 code Region Population1 Primary language?
1  Antigua and Barbuda[2] ATG Caribbean 85,000 Yes
2  Bahamas[2] BHS Caribbean 331,000 Yes
3  Barbados[3] BRB Caribbean 294,000 Yes
4  Belize[4] BLZ Central America 288,000 Yes
5  Botswana[4] BWA Africa 1,882,000 No
6  Burundi[5] BDI Africa 10,114,505 No
7  Cameroon[2] CMR Africa 22,534,532 No
8  Canada[2] CAN North America 35,985,751 Yes (except Quebec, northern New Brunswick and Nunavut)
9  Cook Islands[2]14 COK Oceania 20,000 Yes
10  Dominica[2] DMA Caribbean 73,000 Yes
11  Eswatini[2] SWZ Africa 1,141,000 No
12  Fiji[2] FJI Oceania 828,000 Yes (used as lingua franca, mostly and widely spoken, educational, commerce, and government)
13  Gambia[2] GMB Africa 1,709,000 No
14  Ghana[2] GHA Africa 27,000,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
15  Grenada[2] GRD Caribbean 111,000 Yes (except for small French Creole population)
16  Guyana[6] GUY South America 738,000 Yes
17  India[4][7] IND Asia 1,247,540,000 No (but official and educational)
18  Ireland[8][9] IRL Europe 4,900,000 Yes (Irish is co-official)
19  Jamaica[10] JAM Caribbean 2,714,000 Yes
20  Kenya[2] KEN Africa 45,010,056 Yes (in business and education)
21  Kiribati[2] KIR Oceania 95,000 No
22  Lesotho[2] LSO Africa 2,008,000 No
23  Liberia[2] LBR Africa 3,750,000 Yes
24  Malawi[11] MWI Africa 16,407,000 No
25  Malta[2] MLT Europe 430,000 No (but official and in business / education)
26  Marshall Islands[2] MHL Oceania 59,000 No
27  Mauritius[2] MUS Africa / Indian Ocean 1,262,000 No
28  Micronesia[2] FSM Oceania 110,000 No
29  Namibia[2] NAM Africa 2,074,000 No (used as lingua franca)
30  Nauru[12] NRU Oceania 10,000 No (but widely spoken)
31  Nigeria[2][13] NGA Africa 182,202,000 Yes (used as lingua franca)
32  Niue[2]14 NIU Oceania 1,600 No
33  Pakistan[2] PAK Asia 212,742,631 No (but official and educational)
34  Palau[4] PLW Oceania 20,000 No
35  Papua New Guinea[14][15] PNG Oceania 7,059,653 Yes
36  Philippines[2][16]17 PHL Asia 102,885,100 Yes (co-official with Filipino)
37  Rwanda[2] RWA Africa 11,262,564 No (but official and educational)
38  Saint Kitts and Nevis[17] KNA Caribbean 50,000 Yes
39  Saint Lucia[2] LCA Caribbean 165,000 Yes
40  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[18] VCT Caribbean 120,000 Yes
41  Samoa[19] WSM Oceania 188,000 No
42  Seychelles[2] SYC Africa / Indian Ocean 87,000 No
43  Sierra Leone[2] SLE Africa 6,190,280 Yes
44  Singapore[20] SGP Asia 5,469,700[21] Yes (used as lingua franca, mostly and widely spoken, and educational)
45  Solomon Islands[2] SLB Oceania 507,000 No
46  South Africa[22] ZAF Africa 54,956,900 Yes (and official, educational and
lingua franca in formal economy)
47  South Sudan[23] SSD Africa 12,340,000 No
48  Sudan[2] SDN Africa 40,235,000 No
49  Tanzania[2] TZA Africa 51,820,000 No
50  Tonga[24] TON Oceania 100,000 No
51  Trinidad and Tobago[2] TTO Caribbean 1,333,000 Yes
52  Tuvalu[4] TUV Oceania 11,000 No
53  Uganda[2] UGA Africa 37,873,253 No (but official and educational)[25]
54  Vanuatu[26] VUT Oceania 226,000 No
55  Zambia[2] ZMB Africa 16,212,000 No
56  Zimbabwe[2] ZWE 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  Cambodia[32] Asia 15,288,489
5  Cyprus[33] Europe, Asia / Middle East 1,141,166
6  Eritrea[2] Africa 6,234,000
7  Ethiopia[2] Africa 85,000,000
8  Israel[34][35][36] Asia / Middle East 8,051,200
9  Jordan[37] Asia / Middle East 9,882,401
10  Kuwait[38] Asia / Middle East 4,348,395
11  Malaysia[39] Asia 30,018,242
12  Maldives[40] Asia 427,756
13  Myanmar[41] Asia 51,486,253
14  Oman[42] Asia / Middle East 4,424,762
15  Qatar[43] Asia / Middle East 2,675,522
16  Sri Lanka[44][45] Asia 20,277,597
17  United Arab Emirates[46] Asia / Middle East 5,779,760

Non-sovereign entities[edit]

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 Yes (Along with Samoan)
 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 Yes
 Guam4 Oceania 173,000 Yes
 Hong Kong2[2] Asia 7,097,600 No (But de facto co-official with Cantonese )
 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 (Co-official with Spanish as 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 subdivisions[edit]

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
 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[54]  United Kingdom Europe 1,876,695
 Oklahoma[55]  United States North America 3,850,568
 Saba[56]  Netherlands Caribbean 1,991
 San Andrés y Providencia[57]  Colombia South America 75,167
 Sarawak[58][59][60]  Malaysia Asia 2,471,140
 Scotland[61]  United Kingdom Europe 5,424,800
 Sint Eustatius[56]  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
 Utah[50]  United States North America 2,900,872
 Virginia[50]  United States North America 8,260,405
 Wales[62]  United Kingdom Europe 3,125,000
 West Virginia[63]  United States North America 1,844,128
 Wyoming[50]  United States North America 582,658

See also[edit]


^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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  35. ^ Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot, Hava (2004). "Part I: Language and Discourse". In Diskin Ravid, Dorit; Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot, Hava (eds.). Perspectives on Language and Development: Essays in Honor of Ruth A. Berman. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 90. ISBN 1-4020-7911-7. English is not considered official but it plays a dominant role in the educational and public life of Israeli society. [...] It is the language most widely used in commerce, business, formal papers, academia, and public interactions, public signs, road directions, names of buildings, etc. English behaves 'as if' it were the second and official language in Israel.
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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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  45. ^ Under the constitution of 1978, Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages of Sri Lanka, but English is "the link language." Any person is entitled "to receive communications from, and to communicate and transact business with, any official in his official capacity" in English, to receive an |English translation of "any official register, record, publication or other document," and "to communicate and transact business in English." English translations must be made for "all laws and subordinate legislation," "all Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations and notifications." "THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA: Chapter IV". 1978. Archived from the original on 2003-02-03. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
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