The following is a list of countries where Spanish is an official language, plus a number of countries where Spanish or any language closely related to it, is an important or significant language.
Spanish is the official language (either by law or de facto) in 20 sovereign states and one dependent territory, totaling around 442 million people. It is additionally the main official language in Equatorial Guinea.
In these countries and territories, Spanish is the main or mostly used language of communication of the vast majority of the population; official documents are written chiefly or solely in that language; and it is taught in schools and utilized as the primary medium of instruction as part of the official curriculum.
|Regulatory body||More information|
|Mexico||De facto||120,286,655||Academia Mexicana de la Lengua||Mexican Spanish|
|Colombia||De jure||48,400,388||Academia Colombiana de la Lengua||Colombian Spanish|
|Spain[a]||De jure||47,737,941||Real Academia Española||Peninsular Spanish|
|Argentina||De facto||43,024,374||Academia Argentina de Letras||Rioplatense Spanish|
|Peru[b]||De jure||30,147,935||Academia Peruana de la Lengua||Peruvian Coast Spanish|
|Venezuela||De jure||28,868,486||Academia Venezolana de la Lengua||Venezuelan Spanish|
|Chile||De facto||17,363,894||Academia Chilena de la Lengua||Chilean Spanish|
|Ecuador[c]||De jure||15,654,411||Academia Ecuatoriana de la Lengua||Ecuadorian Spanish|
|Guatemala||De jure||14,647,083||Academia Guatemalteca de la Lengua||Guatemalan Spanish|
|Cuba||De jure||11,047,251||Academia Cubana de la Lengua||Cuban Spanish|
|Bolivia[d]||De jure||10,631,486||Academia Boliviana de la Lengua||Bolivian Spanish|
|Dominican Republic||De jure||10,349,741||Academia Dominicana de la Lengua||Dominican Spanish|
|Honduras||De jure||8,598,561||Academia Hondureña de la Lengua||Honduran Spanish|
|Paraguay[e]||De jure||6,703,860||Academia Paraguaya de la Lengua Española||Paraguayan Spanish|
|El Salvador||De jure||6,125,512||Academia Salvadoreña de la Lengua||Salvadoran Spanish|
|Nicaragua||De facto||5,848,641||Academia Nicaragüense de la Lengua||Nicaraguan Spanish|
|Costa Rica||De jure||4,755,234||Academia Costarricense de la Lengua||Costa Rican Spanish|
|Panama||De jure||3,608,431||Academia Panameña de la Lengua||Panamanian Spanish|
|Uruguay||De facto||3,332,972||Academia Nacional de Letras||Uruguayan Spanish|
|Equatorial Guinea[f]||De jure||1,722,254||Academia Ecuatoguineana de la Lengua Española||Equatoguinean Spanish|
|Total||442,476,007||Association of Spanish Language Academies|
|Regulatory body||More information|
|Puerto Rico[g]||De jure||3,620,897||Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española||Puerto Rican Spanish|
Though not an official language at the national level, Spanish is regularly spoken and/or is a mother tongue of a majority of the populations in each of the nations and territories noted below. In each, public services and information are widely available in Spanish, as are various forms of printed and broadcast media.
|Andorra||85,458||~50,000||43,8% (mother tongue)|
|Belize||340,844||165,296 (aged over 4) ||56,6% |
The Spanish language is not official but also holds a special status (in the education system, the media, and some official documents) in the Principality of Andorra which shares land borders with Spain. Public education in Spanish, following the Spanish public education system is offered in Andorra. In 2008, 30,8% of students were enrolled in the Spanish education system.
Spanish has no official recognition in the Central American nation of Belize, a Commonwealth realm where English is the official national language. However, the country shares land borders with Spanish-speaking Mexico and Guatemala and, per the 2010 Belizean census, Spanish is spoken by a sizable portion of the population; 30% claim Spanish as a mother tongue and about 50% of the population has working knowledge of the language. The Census Report 2010 reported that 56.6% of Belizeans spoke Spanish.
The Spanish language is not official but also holds a special status (in the education system, the media, and some official documents) in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which shares land borders with Spain.
Though not an official language at the national level, Spanish is regularly spoken by significant minority populations throughout the country. Public services, education, and information are widely available in Spanish, as are various forms of printed and broadcast media.
|United States of America||318,892,103||59,763,631||19%|
Spanish has been spoken in the United States for several centuries in the Southwest and Florida, which were all once part of New Spain. However, today only a tiny minority of Spanish speakers in the US trace their language back to those times; the overwhelming majority of speakers come from recent immigration. Only in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado has Spanish maintained speaking communities uninterruptedly since colonial times. Spanish is the most studied foreign language in United States schools and is spoken as a native tongue by 41 million people, plus an additional 11 million fluent second-language speakers. Though not official, Spanish has a special status for education in the U.S. state of New Mexico. With almost 60 million native speakers and second language speakers, the United States now has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico. Spanish is increasingly used alongside English nationwide in business and politics. In the United States, the language is regulated by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.
Spanish was an official language of the Philippines from the beginning of the Hispanic period in 1565 and through independence until a constitutional change in 1973. However, President Ferdinand Marcos had Spanish redesignated as an official language under Presidential Decree No. 156, dated 15 March 1973 and Spanish remained official until 1987, when it was re-designated as a voluntary and optional auxiliary language.
On 8 August 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced that the Philippine government asked help from the Spanish Government in her plan to reintroduce Spanish as a required subject in the Philippine school system. By 2012, the language was a compulsory subject at only a very select number of secondary schools. In spite of government promotion of Spanish, less than 0.5% of the population are able to speak Spanish at least proficiently.
While Spanish is designated as an optional government language in the Philippines, its usage is very limited and not present in everyday life. Despite this, Tagalog and other native Philippine languages incorporate a large number of Spanish loanwords, as a result of 300 years of Spanish influence. In the country, Spanish is regulated by the Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language.
Spanish is a secondary official language, alongside Arabic, in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a former Spanish colony and now a partially recognized state, most of whose territory is occupied by Morocco. Spanish is not a native language in that country.
Spanish was an official language of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco until 1956. In a survey from 2005 by the CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs), 21.9% of respondents from Morocco claimed to speak Spanish, with higher percentages in the former Spanish protectorate northern regions of Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima and Oriental, as well as in the areas around the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The use of Spanish in northern Morocco and Western Sahara derives largely from the fact that Spain had previously occupied those areas and incorporated Spanish Sahara as a province until 1976.
There are a number of Spanish-based creole languages. Chavacano is spoken in Zamboanga City in the Philippines and is a regional language.Papiamento is the official language in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao; it has been classified as either a Spanish-based or a Portuguese-based creole.
The main nuclei of Spanish speech in the United States are northern New Mexico / southern Colorado, the border territories from California through Texas, the Florida peninsula, New York City, and other large cities of the Northeast and Midwest. Only one of these, the New Mexico / Colorado dialect area, has maintained linguistic continuity since colonial days, and its speech goes back to about 1600.
Artikel 2: De officiële talen zijn het Engels, het Nederlands en het Papiamento. (English: Article 2: The official languages are English, Dutch and Papiamento)