12 Countries Where English Is the Official Language in 2024

English Official Language
© It's Me Lisa/ via Canva.com

Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Published: February 9, 2024

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As one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, English is the official language of numerous countries. It is the official language in 67 countries. In some of these countries, English is both the official language and the primary language spoken. In others, it is a co-official language with another language. It might be the primary language or the secondary language. In some cases, English is spoken primarily in certain regions or for certain purposes, such as business or government.

Many countries where English is spoken have their own dialect, accents, or slang. Some have combinations of English and other languages that are spoken in certain regions or even across the entire country. Many of these countries have other languages also recognized as official languages. Even in countries where English is not an official language, it might still be recognized as the language of business, especially if they are involved in international trade.

While our list doesn’t include all of the countries where English is an official language or the countries where English is widely spoken, it does highlight some of those where English is an official language that is very influential. Whether it’s spoken as the primary language or the language of government or commerce, English is the official language in all of these places.

United Kingdom

Big Ben and westminster bridge at dusk in London

London is the largest city in the United Kingdom.


English is the official language of the United Kingdom but other languages are recognized and spoken in various regions within the UK. There are four countries in the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Within Wales, you’re likely to hear Welsh as well as English. Scots and Gaelic are spoken in Scotland. English is still the most widely spoken language in the UK.

United States

The Statue of Liberty is a monument that has become synonymous with the United States.

©Matej Hudovernik/Shutterstock.com

English came to North America with immigrants from the United Kingdom. By the time the United States was founded in 1776, English was the most widely spoken language. But it does not have recognition as the official language of the U.S., even though it is the language of business, education, commerce, and daily life in pretty much every part of the U.S. This makes it the de facto official language. This means that even though it does not have official recognition, its widespread use gives it the same status. Some states do recognize English as their official language. Other languages spoken in the country include native languages of Indigenous tribes, such as Hawaiian, Navajo, Cherokee, and others. Spanish is also spoken in certain regions, especially in states that border Mexico.

New Zealand

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand.

©Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock.com

English is considered the de facto official language and is the most widely used language in New Zealand. It is used in daily life as well as education, business, and commerce. New Zealand also recognizes the Māori language as an official language. This is spoken by the Māori people, a group native to New Zealand. New Zealand Sign Language is also a recognized official language.


The famous design of the Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country.


Australia doesn’t actually have any official languages but English is widely considered the de facto official language. It is spoken by the majority of the population. Australia was settled as a penal colony by immigrants from the United Kingdom in the late 1700s, which impacted the languages spoken on the continent. Prior to this influence, the majority of the languages were aboriginal ones. More than 200 of these are still spoken today.


Quebec is one region in Canada where French is widely spoken.

©Songquan Deng/iStock via Getty Images

There are two official languages in Canada, English and French. Both are spoken widely throughout the country. In some provinces, French is the language of daily communication while English is more common in others. Even those who are fluent in one of the two official languages often have a working knowledge and can converse in the other. There are a handful of Indigenous languages that are spoken and passed down as well, although these are generally not used for business, government, or education.


Belize is the only Central American country with English as its official language.

©Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

Among Central American countries, Belize is the only one with English as its official language. Belizean Creole is an English-based Creole language that developed over generations. It is also spoken by a large portion of the population in Belize. Because English is so prevalent in Belize, many retirees from English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, consider it a great place to retire. The tropical weather, world-class scuba diving, and tranquil natural environment certainly don’t hurt!


Many of the Indigenous languages spoken in Ghana vary by region.

©Delali Adogla-Bessa/Shutterstock.com

There are numerous languages and dialects spoken in Ghana. English is the official language due to British colonial influence. It is the language of government, business, and education. While many people in Ghana are fluent English speakers, most learn to speak another language first. There are many Indigenous languages in Ghana. Each region has its primary Indigenous language, although some of the most common include Akan, Ewe, Ga, and Dagbani. 


Tivua Island, Fiji Islands

Fiji includes over 300 islands, including the uninhabited island of Monuriki where the movie Cast Away was filmed.

©Paolo Ponga/Shutterstock.com

English is one of three official languages in Fiji. The others are Fijian and Fiji Hindi. Indigenous Fijians mostly speak Fijian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the country. Indo-Fijians mostly speak Fiji Hindi. English is used in business and government as well as a bridge language between the various populations. This is called a lingua franca because it allows speakers of different languages to converse freely within the country.


Ireland is known for its incredible green landscape.

©miroslav_1/iStock via Getty Images

There are two official languages in the Republic of Ireland, English and Irish. Irish is also known as Gaeilge. Some areas are more likely to speak Irish and road signs are posted in both languages throughout the country. Ireland is famous for its “gift of gab” and there are countless sayings and slang that are unique to the area.


Jamaica has blue waters and lush rainforests. It has also been impacted by hurricanes.

©iStock.com/Ruth Peterkin

English is the official language of Jamaica. Many residents also speak Jamaican or Patois, a Creole language that has elements of various languages that influenced the country’s history. These include African, Spanish, French, and Portuguese in addition to Jamaican and English. The rhythm of Jamaican Patois is distinctive and was made famous by poets and reggae music.


Singapore skyline at night

Singapore is home to around 5.4 million residents.

©leungchopan/ via Getty Images

The national language of Singapore is Malay but English is still recognized as one of the official languages. Tamil and Chinese are also common in the country and recognized in formal documents as languages used in Singapore. English is the language spoken between native speakers of the other recognized languages and the one that allows for the best communication between groups across the country. Many Singaporeans speak Singapore Colloquial English, also known as Singlish, which incorporates aspects of other dialects and languages in the country.

South Africa

Central business district of Johannesburg city panorama, South Africa

English is most commonly spoken in urban areas of South


, such as Johannesburg.


South Africa has 11 recognized official languages. In addition to English, there is Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, Sepedi, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, and isiZulu. English isn’t the most widely spoken language in the country, although for much of its history, English, Afrikaans, and other European-based languages dominated business and government. English is still used in government and commerce, as well as the lingua franca between populations that speak other languages as their primary language.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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