Almost daily now we see headlines about migrants who are fleeing the violence in Syria and who are making their way into Europe and elsewhere with the hope that they might find safety in a better place.

The Ethnologue continues to be widely used as a source by various media outlets and, of course, we're always happy to see the data being used.

Why is your total world population significantly lower than the actual population?

The total world population that Ethnologue reports is the sum of the total populations of L1 speakers of the living languages. Those population numbers come from a variety of sources and from significantly different points in time. In addition, the Ethnologue lacks population estimates for about 4% of the world's languages and also does not automatically extrapolate population estimates to the current year, but waits for reports from reliable sources. As a result our world population count varies considerably from current census estimates.

In an earlier post I mentioned a new category of information, Status,  in which we provide a measure of the state of endangerment or development of each language using the

On what basis are the countries grouped into regions?

The division of the world into 5 major areas which are subdivided into 22 regions follows the groupings of countries used by the United Nations Statistics Division in its reporting. See:

Which major country has the highest density or concentration of languages?

Vanuatu, with 111 living languages and a geographic area of 12,189 square kilometers, has one language for every 110 square kilometers (42 square miles).  (Small political entities, like Vatican State and Monaco, are not included here)

Which countries have the most languages?

Papua New Guinea has the most languages, with 840 living languages.  Indonesia comes in second, with 707 living languages.  Third place goes to Nigeria, having 520 living languages.

What country has the most languages?

Papua New Guinea, with 840 living languages

Can you send me more information about country X?

Browse the Country Indexes to find the languages in which you are interested, and follow the links to available publications.

Subscribe to RSS - Countries