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Levels of English Proficiency Around the World

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World Map Showing English Proficiency by Country
The World Map Depicts the Levels of English proficiency Across the Globe

 

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We all know English is a widely spoken language. But the level of proficiency is wide ranging around the world.

Hundreds of millions of people speak English as their first language, but over a billion people speak it as their second, third or fourth language. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom and the US contribute a large number of native speakers. Former British Crown colonies in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean add more English speakers to this pool. However, among countries where it is not the first language, the level of English proficiency can vary from country-to-country.

To analyze the average level of English language skills among non-English speaking nations, EF Education First publishes the EF English Proficiency Index, which is a ranking of English skills by country. According to the sixth edition of the EF English Proficiency Index, published in 2016, the Netherlands topped the list. The nation had a score of 72.16 in 2015. Barring Singapore, the other countries with very high English proficiency were European nations. These included Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Singapore and Luxembourg.

India, Spain, South Korea, France, Indonesia, Italy, Slovakia, Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, and others, were listed as nations where the proficiency in English is ‘moderate.’

Many countries on the list of English proficiency are listed as ‘low,’ or ‘very low.’ Some nations listed as ‘low,’ may or may not surprise you, and they include; Russia, Japan, China, Brazil, Pakistan, Morocco, and others.

Some nations listed at ‘very low’ include Turkey, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Thailand, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, and others.

The table below provides information on the levels of English proficiency around the world.

 

 

Country Score Level
Netherlands 72.16 Very High Proficiency
Denmark 71.15 Very High Proficiency
Sweden 70.81 Very High Proficiency
Norway 68.54 Very High Proficiency
Finland 66.61 Very High Proficiency
Singapore 63.52 Very High Proficiency
Luxembourg 63.2 Very High Proficiency
Austria 62.13 High Proficiency
Germany 61.58 High Proficiency
Poland 61.49 High Proficiency
Belgium 60.9 High Proficiency
Malaysia 60.7 High Proficiency
Philippines 60.33 High Proficiency
Switzerland 60.17 High Proficiency
Portugal 59.68 High Proficiency
Czech Republic 59.09 High Proficiency
Serbia 59.07 High Proficiency
Hungary 58.72 High Proficiency
Argentina 58.4 High Proficiency
Romania 58.14 High Proficiency
Slovakia 57.34 Moderate Proficiency
India 57.3 Moderate Proficiency
Dominican Republic 57.24 Moderate Proficiency
Bulgaria 56.79 Moderate Proficiency
Spain 56.66 Moderate Proficiency
Bosnia and Herzegovina 56.17 Moderate Proficiency
South Korea 54.87 Moderate Proficiency
Italy 54.63 Moderate Proficiency
France 54.33 Moderate Proficiency
Hong Kong 54.29 Moderate Proficiency
Vietnam 54.06 Moderate Proficiency
Indonesia 52.94 Moderate Proficiency
Taiwan 52.82 Moderate Proficiency
Russia 52.32 Low Proficiency
Japan 51.69 Low Proficiency
Uruguay 51.63 Low Proficiency
Macau 51.36 Low Proficiency
Costa Rica 51.35 Low Proficiency
China 50.94 Low Proficiency
Brazil 50.66 Low Proficiency
Ukraine 50.62 Low Proficiency
Chile 50.1 Low Proficiency
Mexico 49.88 Low Proficiency
Morocco 49.86 Low Proficiency
Peru 49.83 Low Proficiency
United Arab Emirates 49.81 Low Proficiency
Ecuador 49.13 Low Proficiency
Pakistan 48.78 Low Proficiency
Colombia 48.41 Very Low Proficiency
Panama 48.08 Very Low Proficiency
Turkey 47.89 Very Low Proficiency
Tunisia 47.7 Very Low Proficiency
Guatemala 47.64 Very Low Proficiency
Kazakhstan 47.42 Very Low Proficiency
Egypt 47.32 Very Low Proficiency
Thailand 47.21 Very Low Proficiency
Azerbaijan 46.9 Very Low Proficiency
Sri Lanka 46.58 Very Low Proficiency
Qatar 46.57 Very Low Proficiency
Venezuela 46.53 Very Low Proficiency
Iran 46.38 Very Low Proficiency
Jordan 45.85 Very Low Proficiency
El Salvador 43.83 Very Low Proficiency
Oman 43.44 Very Low Proficiency
Kuwait 42.98 Very Low Proficiency
Mongolia 42.77 Very Low Proficiency
Algeria 41.6 Very Low Proficiency
Saudi Arabia 40.91 Very Low Proficiency
Cambodia 39.48 Very Low Proficiency
Laos 38.45 Very Low Proficiency
Libya 37.82 Very Low Proficiency
Iraq 37.65 Very Low Proficiency

(Data sourced from EF Education First)

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