Summary by language size

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Table 2 summarizes the distribution of languages in the world by number of L1 speakers. The Population range column categorizes the languages by the number of digits in their population of first-language speakers.

The Count column gives the number of living languages within the specified population range. The Percent column gives the share of the count for that population range as a percentage of the total number of languages given at the bottom of the Count column. The Cumulative column gives the cumulative sum of the percentage of languages going from top to bottom in the column.

The Total column gives the total population of all the languages in the given range category. The second Percent column gives the percentage of the total country population as estimated at the bottom of the Total column. Note that if the table has a row for Unknown, representing languages for which the Ethnologue does not have a population estimate; the calculation of population percentage is not able to take those languages into account. The final Cumulative column gives the cumulative sums of the population percentages going from top to bottom in the column.

Table 3 lists the largest languages of the world in descending order of population of first-language speakers. The Primary Country column names the country in which the primary entry for the language is found. The Total Countries column gives the number of countries in the world in which the language is listed either with a full entry or as an immigrant language in the country header. The Speakers column gives the number of first-language speakers in millions. The table rows in italic type represent macrolanguages (see Macrolanguages in “The problem of language identification”); in these cases the Total Countries and Speakers columns are totals for all the individual languages listed in the macrolanguage entry as members of the macrolanguage. Individual languages that are members of a macrolanguage are not counted in the ranking, but are listed as indented entries below the macrolanguage. Note that the indented listing of individual languages does not include all member languages; it includes only those that have at least one million speakers.

Table 2. Distribution of world languages by number of first-language speakers

Population rangeLiving languagesNumber of speakers
CountPercentCumulativeTotalPercentCumulative
100,000,000 to 999,999,999   8 0.1 0.1% 2,543,460,358 40.39988 40.39988%
10,000,000 to 99,999,999   80 1.1 1.2% 2,458,383,987 39.04854 79.44843%
1,000,000 to 9,999,999   305 4.3 5.5% 929,591,638 14.76547 94.21390%
100,000 to 999,999   937 13.2 18.7% 294,626,823 4.67980 98.89370%
10,000 to 99,999   1,811 25.5 44.2% 61,556,414 0.97775 99.87145%
1,000 to 9,999   1,978 27.8 72.0% 7,613,358 0.12093 99.99238%
100 to 999   1,062 14.9 87.0% 466,128 0.00740 99.99979%
10 to 99   338 4.8 91.7% 12,944 0.00021 99.99999%
1 to 9   137 1.9 93.7% 541 0.00001 100.00000%
0   204 2.9 96.5% 0 0.00000 100.00000%
Unknown   246 3.5 100.0%
Totals   7,106 100.0 6,295,712,191 100.00000

Table 3. Languages with at least 50 million first-language speakers

RankLanguagePrimary CountryTotal
Countries
Speakers
(millions)
1   Chinese [zho] China 33 1,197
    Chinese, Gan [gan] China 1 20.6
    Chinese, Hakka [hak] China 13 30.1
    Chinese, Huizhou [czh] China 1 4.60
    Chinese, Jinyu [cjy] China 1 45.0
    Chinese, Mandarin [cmn] China 13 848
    Chinese, Min Bei [mnp] China 2 10.3
    Chinese, Min Dong [cdo] China 6 9.12
    Chinese, Min Nan [nan] China 10 46.6
    Chinese, Min Zhong [czo] China 1 3.10
    Chinese, Pu-Xian [cpx] China 3 2.56
    Chinese, Wu [wuu] China 1 77.2
    Chinese, Xiang [hsn] China 1 36.0
    Chinese, Yue [yue] China 10 62.2
2   Spanish [spa] Spain 31 414
3   English [eng] United Kingdom 99 335
4   Hindi [hin] India 4 260
5   Arabic [ara] Saudi Arabia 60 237
    Arabic, Algerian Spoken [arq] Algeria 1 28.0
    Arabic, Chadian Spoken [shu] Chad 4 1.14
    Arabic, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Spoken [avl] Egypt 4 1.69
    Arabic, Egyptian Spoken [arz] Egypt 1 54.0
    Arabic, Gulf Spoken [afb] Kuwait 9 2.34
    Arabic, Hijazi Spoken [acw] Saudi Arabia 2 6.02
    Arabic, Libyan Spoken [ayl] Libya 3 4.32
    Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken [acm] Iraq 4 15.1
    Arabic, Moroccan Spoken [ary] Morocco 2 21.0
    Arabic, Najdi Spoken [ars] Saudi Arabia 4 9.67
    Arabic, North Levantine Spoken [apc] Syria 2 14.4
    Arabic, North Mesopotamian Spoken [ayp] Iraq 3 6.30
    Arabic, Sa’idi Spoken [aec] Egypt 1 19.0
    Arabic, Sanaani Spoken [ayn] Yemen 1 7.60
    Arabic, South Levantine Spoken [ajp] Jordan 3 6.20
    Arabic, Sudanese Spoken [apd] Sudan 3 16.8
    Arabic, Ta’izzi-Adeni Spoken [acq] Yemen 2 7.08
    Arabic, Tunisian Spoken [aeb] Tunisia 1 9.41
6   Portuguese [por] Portugal 12 203
7   Bengali [ben] Bangladesh 4 193
8   Russian [rus] Russian Federation 16 167
9   Japanese [jpn] Japan 3 122
10   Javanese [jav] Indonesia 3 84.3
11   Lahnda [lah] Pakistan 6 82.6
    Hindko, Northern [hno] Pakistan 1 1.88
    Pahari-Potwari [phr] Pakistan 1 2.50
    Panjabi, Mirpur [pmu] India 1 1.04
    Panjabi, Western [pnb] Pakistan 2 62.6
    Seraiki [skr] Pakistan 2 14.0
12   German, Standard [deu] Germany 18 78.2
13   Korean [kor] South Korea 5 77.2
14   French [fra] France 51 75.0
15   Telugu [tel] India 2 74.0
16   Marathi [mar] India 1 71.8
17   Turkish [tur] Turkey 8 70.8
18   Tamil [tam] India 6 68.8
19   Vietnamese [vie] Viet Nam 3 67.8
20   Urdu [urd] Pakistan 6 63.9
21   Italian [ita] Italy 10 63.7
22   Malay [msa] Malaysia 13 59.5
    Banjar [bjn] Indonesia 2 3.50
    Indonesian [ind] Indonesia 1 23.2
    Malay [zlm] Malaysia 3 15.8
    Malay, Jambi [jax] Indonesia 1 1.00
    Malay, Kedah [meo] Malaysia 2 2.60
    Malay, Pattani [mfa] Thailand 1 1.00
    Minangkabau [min] Indonesia 1 5.53
    Musi [mui] Indonesia 1 3.10
23   Persian [fas] Iran 29 56.6
    Dari [prs] Afghanistan 2 9.60
    Persian, Iranian [pes] Iran 6 47.0