Spanish speaking countries

The following is a list of sovereign states and dependent territories where Spanish is an official language, the national language or the de facto official language.

Spanish as official or national language

Spanish is an official language in 20 sovereign states and one dependent entity, totalling around 423 million people.

a Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S. where Spanish and English are the official languages[16] and Spanish is the primary language.

Former official language

Spanish was an official language of the Philippines from the beginning of Spanish colonial rule in 1565 and through independence until a constitutional change in 1973. However, President Marcos had Spanish redesignated as an official language under Presidential Decree No. 155, dated 15 March 1973 and Spanish remained official until 1987, when it was re-designated as a voluntary and optional auxiliary language.[23]

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.[24] By 2012, the language was a compulsory subject at only a very select number of secondary schools.[25] Furthermore, despite government promotions of Spanish, less than 0.5% of the population are able to speak Spanish at least proficiently.[26]

Commonly used language

Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the United States and many important public documents are published in both English and Spanish.[27] Spanish is also de facto official in the U.S. state of New Mexico along with English and is increasingly used alongside English nationwide in business and politics.[28] With over 50 million native speakers and second language speakers, the United States now has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico.[29] The Spanish language is not official but also holds a special status (in the education system, the media, and some official documents) in Andorra and Gibraltar.[30] Spanish is used for international commerce in Brazil due to being surrounded mostly by Spanish-speaking countries and Spanish is widely taught as a foreign language. A similar situation exists in Belize, where Spanish is the first language of almost half of the population.

Country Population Native speakers
 United States 314,687,369 37,579,787
 Belize 301,270 106,795
 Andorra 84,484 29,907
 Gibraltar 27,967 13,857

Spanish-based creole language

The Spanish-based creole language of Papiamentoa is official in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Chavacano is spoken in the Philippines, and Palenquero is spoken in Colombia but are not official.

Country Creole language Estimated speakers[31] Year Status
 Philippines Chavacano 689,000[32] 1992 Regional.
 Bonaire and  Curaçao Papiamento 185,155[32] 1981 Official.
 Aruba Papiamento 60,000 N/A Official.

a Papiamento is considered both a Spanish- and Portuguese-based creole language.[33][34]

International organizations where Spanish is official


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