Want to know which are the Spanish Speaking Countries of the world? Here’s a list of countries that speak Spanish as their official language.
There are many countries worldwide where Spanish is spoken on a regular basis and have a significant amount of Spanish speakers within the country. However, to be classified as a Spanish speaking country, it has to be the official language.
Argentinian-Spanish is heavily influenced by Italian due to a large number of Italian migrants. The Argentinian version of Spanish is a dialect which has some difference in pronunciation and the rhythm of speaking.
Spanish is the official language in Argentina and around 43 million of the total 44 million inhabitants speak it as their first language.
Guarani and Quechua are some of the other languages spoken in Argentina along with Portuñol and German. However, almost everyone in the country is either speaking Spanish as their first or second language.
Bolivia has three official languages, Aymara, Quechua, and Spanish. What differs Bolivia from many of the other Spanish speaking countries is the fact that only half of the population speak it as their first language.
Around 21% of the Bolivian population is speaking Quechua as their native language, and 2 million Bolivians speak Aymara.
Around 17 million of the total 18 million Chileans are speaking Spanish as their first language, however, the Chilean dialect can sometimes be hard for a native Spaniard to understand due to wide use of local slang.
The pronunciation of Chilean-Spanish is similar to Andalusian Spanish.
An estimated 99,2% of Colombians are speaking Spanish although various regions have their own dialects of Colombian-Spanish. However, Colombian Spanish is still considered to have a more neutral accent, which makes it a popular country to learn Spanish as a foreigner.
Compared to other Spanish speaking countries, the Colombian dialect doesn’t have a lot of influences from other languages, such as Argentinian-Spanish for example.
Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica and the dialect is known as Costa Rican Spanish, and it’s the most widely spoken language in the country. Additionally, there are 5 distinct indigenous languages that are spoken by minorities on a regular basis.
About 90% of the population in Cuba speak Spanish as their first language. Cuba is the biggest Caribbean island and played a major role in the overseas empire of Spain and its trade in sugar.
Cuba has a wide mix of ethnicity, largely due to the slave trade from Africa, but also a mix of the indigenous people of Ciboney and Taino. Some other languages spoken in Cuba are Haitian Creole, Lucimi, Galician and Corsican.
Spanish is the official language spoken in the Dominican Republic and the local dialect is known as Dominican Spanish. It features many similarities with Canarian Spanish but has also been influenced by West African languages.
Dominicans also tend to speak louder and faster than in other Spanish speaking countries. Some Spanish words in Dominican Spanish are also different from Castillan, and Dominicans often drop the letter “s.”.
Ecuador is one of the Spanish speaking countries in South America, and the majority of Ecuadorians are speaking Spanish as their first language. Additionally, there are also 10 native languages spoken by various ethnic groups in Ecuador.
There are three distinct dialects of Ecuadorian Spanish depending on the region: Equatorial Coastal Spanish, Andean Spanish, and Amazonic Spanish.
Spanish is the official language of El Salvador and it’s sometimes referred to as Salvadoran-Spanish.
The locals have several slang words and expressions that are only spoken in El Salvador, and the Salvadoran Spanish also differs somewhat in pronunciation. The use of “Tu” is very rare in El Salvador, and most locals will use the more formal “usted”.
Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish speaking country in Africa, and Spanish has been one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea since 1844.
The Spanish Empire gained control over Equatorial Guinea in the 1700s after an agreement with Portugal, and Spain continued to rule the African country until its independence.
Settlers from Spain came here to set up cacao farms, and the result of this is that almost 70% of the population of Equatorial Guinea are speaking Spanish as their first language today.
French and Portuguese are the two other official languages, and Fang Bube Combe Pidgin English Annobonese, Igbo are recognized as regional languages.
Around 93% of the population in Guatemala is speaking Spanish as their first or second language. The Guatemalan version is sometimes referred to as Guatemalteco, which is the Guatemalan dialect of Spanish.
Additionally, 21 Mayan languages are recognized by the government although Spanish is the only official language in Guatemala.
Spanish is the official language of Honduras and the majority of the population speak it as their first language.
Additionally, there are also some indigenous languages in Honduras, where Garifuna is the most common among these. There are also some 42,000 immigrants speaking Arabic as their first language.
Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world with more than 129 million Spanish speakers.
The main difference between Castillan and Mexican-Spanish is their accent and pronunciation of some words. For example, they pronounce “z” and “s” in the same way, whereas Spaniards have different sounds for each letter.
Mexico also has a large number of indigenous languages that are spoken on a daily basis, where Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, Tzeltal Maya, Tzotzil Maya, and Otomi are among the most spoken indigenous languages in Mexico.
Nicaragua is another Spanish speaking country in Central America and about 90% of the population speak it fluently. Additionally, there are also four indigenous languages which are spoken by Nicaraguans as well as English.
The Nicaraguan-Spanish is often called Nicañol which has some distinct phonology.
The Spanish spoken in Panama is often referred to as Panamanian-Spanish, and about 93% of the population speak it as their first language. English, French, and Arabic are some of the other languages spoken in Panama.
There are also local dialects of Spanish, such as Ngäbere.
Spanish and Guaraní are Paraguay’s official languages, and it’s estimated that about 87% of the population is speaking Spanish. Guaraní is spoken by about 4,650,000 people, which means that a large part of Paraguay’s population are bilingual.
Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Peru with about 84% of the population speaking it on a regular basis. Quechua is another common language in Peru, which is one of the indigenous languages.
In Southern Peru, there is also a fairly large group of people speaking Aymara.
Spain is the motherland of Spanish speaking countries, but the majority of Spanish speakers actually reside outside of Spain. This is largely the result of the colonialism where the Spanish Empire ruled over large parts of North America, South America as well as the Caribbean islands.
In Spain, Spanish is the sole official language at the national level, while Basque, Catalan, and Galician are co-official alongside Spanish in certain regions. This is one of many interesting facts about Spain that you probably didn’t know.
Spanish is the official language of Uruguay and about 99% of the entire population have it as their native language. Uruguayan-Spanish is somewhat similar to Argentinian-Spanish and has also been influenced by Italians and Guachos.
In total there are about 3.3 million people living in Uruguay, and the other languages spoken are minorities and include Portuguese, Portunol, and Italian.
There are an estimated 40 languages spoken on a regular basis in Venezuela, but the majority of the population speaks Spanish, which is also the official language.
Venezuelans tend to be less formal when speaking compared to other countries that speak Spanish.
Map of the Spanish speaking countries
Below is a map of all the countries that speak Spanish as their official language. As you can see, most of the Spanish speaking countries are located in either Central America or South America.
List of countries that speak Spanish as the first language
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
More about the Spanish speaking countries
There are more than 477 million native speakers of Spanish in the world, and only 46.7 million of these are living in Spain. There are 20 Spanish speaking countries of the world in total that have Spanish as the official language.
However, there are more than 100 million people who speak Spanish as a second language, and it’s the third most studied language in the world. Spanish is, therefore, one of the most spoken languages in the world with a total of more than 572 million speakers.
At first glance, it might seem strange that only 10% of the native speakers are living in the Motherland of Spanish speaking countries, but on second thought, it’s a direct result of colonialism where Spain ruled over most of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Even some U.S states were under Spanish rule at the peak of their overseas Empire. The majority of countries in South America and Central America consists of countries that speak Spanish as their first language. Many of them are bilingual as well and speak some of the native languages of the indigenous people.
Is the US a Spanish speaking country?
Yes, and no. Spanish is not the official language in the USA, which means that it can’t be classified as a Spanish speaking country. However, a large part of the population have Spanish as their mother tongue, and it’s one of the fastest-growing languages in the U.S.
Immigrants from Latin America are often speaking Spanish as their first language, rather than English, and many cities have information in both English and Spanish these days.
How many continents have Spanish speaking countries?
The following continents have Spanish speaking countries: Africa (1), Europe (1), North America (9), South America (9).
How many of the Spanish speaking countries did you already know about? Leave a comment below!