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Statistical Summaries

Part I, "Languages of the World," provides language-by-language information. This section steps back from the detail to offer a summary view of the world language situation. Specifically, it offers numerical tabulations of languages and number of speakers by world area, by language size, by language family, and by country.

Go to Summary by: World area | Language size | Language family | Country 

Summary by language family

The genetic classifications given in the language entries of Part I name 94 different language families (that is, top-level genetic groups). Six of these, each of which has at least 5% of the world's languages, stand out as the major language families of the world. Together they account for nearly two-thirds of all languages and five-sixths of the world's population. Table 3 summarizes the distribution of languages and their populations within these six families. The columns are as for table 1, with the addition of a final column listing the countries under which the main entries for the languages of that family are found in Part I.

In addition to the other 88 language families, the genetic classification scheme also includes special categories for atificial languages, creoles, deaf sign languages, language isolates, mixed languages, pidgins, and unclassified languages. Table 4 summarizes the distribution of languages and their populations for these other language families and special categories. In most cases the population as a percentage of the world population is negligible; a figure is shown in that column only when the value is at least one-hundredth of one percent. Together tables 3 and 4 account for all known living languages of the world.

Table 3. Major language families of the world

Language family   Living languagesNumber of speakersCountries
CountPercentCountPercentMeanMedian
Afro-Asiatic 3535.11339,478,6075.93961,69620,151Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chad, Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Austronesian 1,24618.03311,740,1325.45250,1933,384Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Indonesia, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mayotte, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, USA, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna
Indo-European 4306.222,562,896,42844.785,960,224150,000Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela
Niger-Congo 1,49521.63358,091,1036.26239,52626,000Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sino-Tibetan 3995.771,275,531,92122.283,196,82218,686Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Viet Nam
Trans-New Guinea 5618.123,359,8940.065,9891,245Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Totals4,48464.874,851,098,08584.75

Table 4. Other language families of the world

Language family   Living languagesNumber of speakersCountries
CountPercentCountPercentMeanMedian
Alacalufan10.01202020Chile
Algic310.45194,9806,2903,995Canada, USA
Altaic640.93145,069,2782.532,266,70765,000Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Amto-Musan20.0327013570Papua New Guinea
Andamanese40.0652113096India
Arauan70.103,333476195Brazil
Araucanian20.03302,000151,0002,000Chile
Arawakan490.71670,5650.0113,6851,300Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Honduras, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
Artificial language10.011,1001,1001,100France
Arutani-Sape20.0324125Brazil, Venezuela
Australian2243.2435,22715710Australia
Austro-Asiatic1692.45101,339,3841.77599,6418,000Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Aymaran30.042,228,3780.04742,793736Bolivia, Peru
Barbacoan50.0742,3508,4703,450Colombia, Ecuador
Basque30.04664,3080.01221,43667,500France, Spain
Bayono-Awbono20.03200100100Indonesia
Caddoan40.06681720USA
Cahuapanan20.0311,3845,69211,384Peru
Carib290.4267,8152,338450Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela
Chapacura-Wanham40.061,97849440Brazil
Chibchan210.30254,84612,1362,000Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Chimakuan10.01101010USA
Choco70.1069,5709,9398,050Colombia, Panama
Chon20.03632Argentina
Chukotko-Kamchatkan50.0713,7122,742150Russia
Creole821.1928,815,5290.50351,40934,500Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Micronesia, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Réunion, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé e Príncipe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, USA, Uganda, Vanuatu
Deaf sign language1191.72UnknownAlgeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, South, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, USA, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Dravidian731.06221,515,9953.873,034,46624,000India, Nepal, Pakistan
East Bird's Head30.0434,78311,59412,000Indonesia
East Papuan330.48123,0953,7302,200Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands
Eskimo-Aleut100.1489,1158,9124,000Canada, Greenland, Russia, USA
Geelvink Bay Bay330.4820,824631250Indonesia
Guahiban50.0728,6515,7301,237Colombia
Harakmbet20.03811406311Peru
Hmong-Mien350.516,284,2710.11179,55150,000China, Viet Nam
Hokan190.279,50050075Mexico, USA
Huavean40.0618,3444,586900Mexico
Iroquoian70.1022,6873,241175Canada, USA
Japanese120.17123,445,0342.1610,287,0865,000Japan
Jivaroan40.0699,29224,8239,333Ecuador, Peru
Kartvelian50.074,806,4040.08961,28179,800Georgia, Israel, Turkey
Katukinan30.0465821910Brazil
Keres20.037,9713,9863,391USA
Khoisan220.32363,60016,5274,200Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania
Kiowa Tanoan50.076,2491,2501,298USA
Kwomtari-Baibai60.093,402567345Papua New Guinea
Language Isolate360.5267,284,1471.181,869,004619Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, South, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, USA, Venezuela
Left May60.091,990332330Papua New Guinea
Lower Mamberamo20.03800400200Indonesia
Lule-Vilela10.01202020Argentina
Macro-Ge240.3551,0372,127728Bolivia, Brazil
Maku60.092,551425300Brazil, Colombia
Mascoian40.0616,1604,0402,500Paraguay
Mataco-Guaicuru110.1692,8008,4362,008Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay
Mayan680.986,064,7030.1189,18736,000Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Misumalpan20.03190,80095,4007,400Nicaragua
Mixe-Zoque170.25153,3309,0195,200Mexico
Mixed Language190.27678,5720.0135,7142,000Armenia, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Malawi, Micronesia, Niger, Norway, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, USA, United Kingdom
Mura10.01150150150Brazil
Muskogean60.0915,3072,551496USA
Na-Dene410.59180,2724,39780Canada, USA
Nambiquaran30.041,346449136Brazil
Nilo-Saharan1972.8534,953,3240.61177,42840,000Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
North Caucasian330.484,616,0400.08139,8806,693Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia
Oto-Manguean1722.491,903,3980.0311,0664,729Mexico
Panoan190.2742,4282,233387Bolivia, Brazil, Peru
Peba-Yaguan10.015,6925,6925,692Peru
Penutian230.335,65324612Canada, USA
Pidgin50.0710020100Canada, India, Liberia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea
Quechuan450.6510,100,1020.18224,44725,000Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Salishan190.273,14416575Canada, USA
Salivan30.0416,1355,3782,500Colombia, Venezuela
Sepik-Ramu1001.45238,1232,381745Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Siouan120.1732,6142,718100Canada, USA
Sko70.105,666809640Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Subtiaba-Tlapanec40.0670,14317,5363,461Mexico
Tacanan60.095,0548421,180Bolivia
Tai-Kadai741.0778,375,9991.371,059,13525,000China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Tarascan20.03120,00060,000120,000Mexico
Torricelli530.77111,2652,099952Papua New Guinea
Totonacan110.16286,67026,0614,000Mexico
Tucanoan200.2922,5631,128550Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Tupi600.875,017,3540.0983,623200Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru
Unclassified430.62501,2370.0111,657622Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Spain, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam
Uralic360.5222,623,0300.40628,4185,000Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden
Uru-Chipaya20.031,2026012Bolivia
Uto-Aztecan560.811,947,1640.0334,7715,144El Salvador, Mexico, USA
Wakashan40.06760190200Canada
West Papuan260.38310,14211,9294,600Indonesia
Witotoan60.097,7491,292150Colombia, Peru
Yanomam40.0632,2938,0735,074Brazil, Venezuela
Yeniseian20.037723862Russia
Yukaghir20.031206030Russia
Zamucoan20.035,5712,7861,800Paraguay
Zaparoan40.0691235Ecuador, Peru
Totals2,42835.13872,763,12515.25

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