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Spanish Language Statistics 2023
By Debbie Lopez Updated on December 21, 2023
Rick Lopez, M.Ed. Rick Lopez, M.Ed.

Spanish Language Statistics 2023

How many people learn to speak Spanish in the US? Find out in our Spanish language statistics round up

Aside from being one of the most beautiful sounding global languages, Spanish is also the world’s 4th most spoken. But how many people exactly speak Spanish both globally and right here in the US? And how many Spanish learners are there? We’ve polled the American public, dived into the data and crunched the numbers to bring you our 2023 round up of Spanish language statistics.

Rapido – The Fast Facts About Spanish

Just here for the list? You can get the quick key figures right here and read on for more context and information:

  • Over a third of Americans who don’t speak Spanish as a first language have, at some point, learned some
  • There are 484 million native Spanish speakers in the world
  • Spanish is the official language of 21 countries
  • Mexico is the country with the most native Spanish speakers (around 125.9 million) 
  • This is followed by Colombia in second place (51.2 million)
  • Despite the fact that it is not an official language of the USA, there are 41.76 million native Spanish speakers here
  • There are more native Spanish speakers in the USA than in Venezuela
  • There are almost as many native Spanish speakers in the USA (41.76 million) as there are in Spain (43.27 million)
  • By 2060, over a quarter of people in the USA will be Spanish speakers

Read on for the rest of the details below.

How Many Americans Learn to Speak Spanish?

In October 2023, we worked with a market research company to poll 2,005 people in the USA over the age of 16. We asked one simple question:

What languages have you ever tried to learn, if any? (If you already speak another language as a first language or are bilingual, please don’t include that one) Select all that apply.

We found that over 60% of Americans have attempted to learn at least one other language (based on the fact that under 40% said “no other languages”). And by far, the most popular second language people try to learn in the USA is Spanish.

We found that over a third (36.45%) of Americans (for whom Spanish is not a first language) attempt to learn it.

There are some slight variations by age range here as shown below:

Spanish Language Statistics Age Range

Learn Spanish Statistics Age Range

However, where we see more variation is between states. We took a look at the 15 largest states in terms of population to look at what proportion of people there over the age of 16 have ever attempted to learn Spanish. Here’s what the statistics showed:

Spanish Language Learning By State

Amongst the 15 most populous states in the USA, residents of Virginia and Georgia are the most likely to learn Spanish, while those living in Washington are the least likely.

How Many Spanish Speakers Are There in the World?

There are around 486 million native Spanish speakers in the world. And that number excludes the many more millions of people learning Spanish as a second language.

Spanish is the official language in 21 countries around the world:

  • Spain 
  • Puerto Rico
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Here are the countries where you’ll find the most native Spanish speakers (top 20):

Number of Spanish Speakers By Country Top 20

Mexico is home to over 125 million native Spanish speakers, the country with the most by far. It is home to almost three times as many people (and therefore native speakers) as Spain.

The USA, despite English being the first language here, makes the top 5. The US is home to over 40 million native Spanish speaking people—plus millions more who attempt to learn the beautiful language as a second language.

Demand for Spanish Lessons

One way to get into the psyche and thoughts of a population is to check out their Google Search history. Don’t worry though, we haven’t been snooping through yours 😉

Instead, we took a look at data from Google (using kwfinder.com) about the number of people who make certain searches relating to learning Spanish. We looked at how many searches have taken place in Google USA over time for each of the following five queries:

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Spanish free
  • Spanish lessons
  • Learn Spanish online
  • Online Spanish classes

We used the total searches for all five queries to look at demand for Spanish lessons over time.

Demand For Spanish Learning Resources

Looking at the statistics, what we found was a significant surge in demand for Spanish learning resources over the early part of the Covid pandemic.

We also see peaks each January, most likely (we would assume) down to those whose New Year’s Resolution is to master the language.

In January 2023, there were over 90,000 searches in Google USA across those five queries alone.

Where is Demand for Spanish Learning the Highest?

Of course, demand is not spread equally. When we dove into the data on a state-by-state basis in more detail, we found some states have significantly higher demand in search for Spanish language learning queries than others.

We looked at the searches for the year ending September 2023 state-by-state across the USA weighted by population, and this is what we found to be the number of searches per 1,000 people in each state each year:

Colorado is the State in the US where there is the most search demand for Spanish language learning with 3.54 searches per thousand people per year.

It is one of just four states where that figure is above 3.0, with the others being Florida, Arizona and Texas.

At the opposite end of the scale, West Virginia has less than half of that demand, with just 1.41 searches per thousand people per year.

Other Facts About Spanish 

The US Census Bureau predicts that Spanish could be spoken by over a quarter of the US population by 2060.

But let’s dive into the language itself a little. 

The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (or Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy) contains 88,000 words. 

On top of this, the Academy has a list of “Americanismos” or words used in at least one Latin American Spanish speaking country. This list amounts to around 70,000 words, bringing the total list of Spanish words to 158,000.

By comparison, the Oxford English Dictionary has 600,000 words (many of which are no longer in use) but has complete definitions for just over 230,000 words.

Spanish: A Valuable Language

So there you have it, our Spanish facts and figures round up for 2023. With hundreds of millions of native speakers globally, and millions of speakers in the US alone, this is a really useful language for day-to-day communications and business too.

If you’re tempted to start your own learning journey, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to the best apps for learning Spanish.

Methodology and Caveats

For our survey, we worked with a market research company called Censuswide. On our behalf, they polled a demographically representative sample of 2,005 people in the USA in October 2023. 

For keyword data from Google, we used a tool called kwfinder.com. We looked up the estimated searches per month from October 2019 to October 2023 (the most recent data available at the time of research) for each of the following keywords:

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Spanish free
  • Spanish lessons
  • Learn Spanish online
  • Online Spanish classes

We pulled data for each of these queries for the whole of the USA month-by-month. For each month, we then added the total volume of each together to give us a figure for searches relating to learning Spanish online.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the searches people might make, and we’re aware of that. Instead, it should be regarded as a benchmark and insight into trends over time.

When it came to assessing the demand in search by state, we started out following a similar process. We looked up the search volume (using kwfinder.com) for each of those five keywords for each state in the USA. We pulled the average number of searches for the 12 months ending September 2023. 

We then multiplied this by 12 to give us the volume in each state over the last year. 

We then divided this figure by the population and multiplied that by 1,000 to give us the number of searches per 1,000 people in the population. This allows us to look at interest weighted by population.

You can download a copy of our raw data here. If you use our figures, we request attribution in the form of a link to this page.


How many people speak Spanish in the United States?

There are 41.76 million Spanish speakers in the US. In fact, there are almost as many native Spanish speakers in the US as there are in Spain (43.27 million).

What US territories use Spanish as their official language?

Puerto Rico is the only US territory that uses Spanish as its official language (along with English).

How many countries use Spanish as their official language?

Spanish is the official language of 21 countries, including Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.