A new, definitive guide to all 21 Spanish speaking countries

Becoming fluent in Spanish is an invaluable skill that will open doors for you all around the world.

With over 490 million native speakers and 21 countries on four continents using Spanish as their official language, learning Spanish is one of the best new skills you can acquire.

Depending on where you live, you may or may not come into contact with Spanish speakers frequently. What you may not know is that Spanish — just like English — is a global language that is spoken all over the world.

And that’s part of what makes Spanish so exciting. Learning it will allow you to communicate with people from more than just a few places — you’ll be able to expertly interact with locals from over 20 different countries!

So, whether you’re already planning your next trip or simply want to see how far learning Spanish can get you, here is a list of all the Spanish speaking countries.

Couple travel to a Spanish speaking country.

Spanish speaking countries map, latest data, flags and capitals

Spanish is spoken in many places beyond just Spain and Latin America. If you’re studying Spanish online, you may not be aware of just how global Spanish is.

Spanish speaking countries map.

The geographic reach of the language is what makes Spanish an incredibly diverse language. That’s why people from Argentina use vos while people from Mexico use . It’s also why there’s so much Spanish slang, which makes the language all the more interesting.

Refer to our tables below where Spanish is an official language as well as their respective flags, capitals, populations and more. We’ve also included some of the countries where Spanish is not an official language but still has a significant Spanish speaking population.

To complement the data, we've also numbered each country individually on our exclusively-created Spanish speaking countries map, embedded above, so you have the literal full picture.

The following data on Spanish speakers comes from El Español: Una Lengua Viva, a report on the Spanish language published by Instituto Cervantes. Demographic data comes from the United Nations World Population Prospects 2019 report.

Spanish speaking countries in Africa

Did you know that there is a country in Africa that uses Spanish as its official language? Equatorial Guinea (officially República de Guinea Ecuatorial) is a small country on the west coast of Africa with over one million Spanish speakers.

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population who
speak Spanish natively
1. Equatorial Guinea🇬🇶Malabo1,225,37774%

Spanish speaking countries of South America

As you may already know, South America is the region with the most countries that speak Spanish. With nine Hispanic countries, no other region on our list has as many different nations that use Spanish as the official or national language.

However, that doesn’t make it the continent with the most Spanish speakers. If you add up all the Spanish speakers in North America (including Central America and the Caribbean), you end up with about 30 million more speakers living in North America than South America!

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population who
speak Spanish natively
2. Colombia🇨🇴Bogota51,049,49899.20%
3. Argentina🇦🇷Buenos Aires45,808,74798.10%
4. Peru🇵🇪Lima33,149,01686.60%
5. Venezuela🇻🇪Caracas32,985,76397.30%
6. Chile🇨🇱Santiago de Chile19,678,36395.90%
7. Ecuador🇪🇨Quito16,154,35495.80%
8. Bolivia🇧🇴Sucre and La Paz11,797,25783.00%
9. Paraguay🇵🇾Asunción7,353,03868.20%
10. Uruguay🇺🇾Montevideo3,485,15198.40%

Spanish speaking countries of Central America

With the exception of Belize, every single country in Central America uses Spanish as the official language. And even though Belize uses English as its national language, more than half of its population can speak Spanish.

So, if you’re looking for a region where Spanish is consistently spoken across borders, there’s no place like Central America.

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population who
speak Spanish natively
11. Guatemala🇬🇹Guatemala17,109,74678.30%
12. Honduras🇭🇳Tegucigalpa9,450,71198.70%
13. Nicaragua🇳🇮Managua6,702,38597.10%
14. El Salvador🇸🇻San Salvador6,518,49999.70%
15. Costa Rica🇨🇷San Jose5,163,03899.30%
16. Panama🇵🇦Panama City4,381,57991.90%

Spanish speaking countries of North America

Of the three major North American countries, only Mexico uses Spanish as its national language. Mexico is also the country with the most Spanish speakers in the world, with more than twice as many Spanish speakers than Spain.

With that said, Mexico is still a very diverse country in terms of languages, with the Mexican Government recognizing 68 national languages. Some of these are Nahuatl, Maya, Zapotec, and Mixtec.

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population who
speak Spanish natively
17. Mexico🇲🇽Mexico City128,972,43996.80%

Spanish speaking countries of the Caribbean

The Caribbean only has three island nations whose official language is Spanish. However, that doesn’t mean Spanish isn’t widely spoken all over the Caribbean. In fact, the two non-Hispanic countries with the largest proportion of Spanish speakers are in the Caribbean. Can you guess which ones? Keep reading to find out!

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population who
speak Spanish natively
18. Cuba🇨🇺Havana11,317,50599.80%
19. Dominican Republic🇩🇴Santo Domingo10,535,53597.60%
20. Puerto Rico🇵🇷San Juan3,193,69499.00%

Spanish speaking countries of Europe

Perhaps surprisingly, there’s only one country in Europe that uses Spanish as an official language: Spain. Besides Spain, Spanish is confined to former overseas colonies of the now-extinct Spanish Empire.

Tiled wall art featuring Madrid, capital of Spain.

CountryFlagCapitalPopulation% of population
who speak Spanish
21. Spain🇪🇸Madrid47,431,25692.00%

Download our interactive, FREE Spanish speaking countries map

Our free interactive PDF gives you the latest data, such as capital cities, flags, and populations for all of the 21 Spanish speaking countries via a map and is best viewed in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Download our FREE interactive Spanish speaking countries map.

Where else is Spanish spoken where it’s not an official language?

Beyond Spain and former Spanish colonies, Spanish is widely spoken in many parts of the world. Thanks to both migrants and Spanish learners, many countries in every single continent have plenty of Spanish speakers (except Antarctica, unless a penguin or two enroll in our Spanish for beginners lessons).

CountryFlagContinentCapitalPopulationNo. of
Spanish speakers
% of population
who speak Spanish
United States🇺🇸North AmericaWashington, DC331,002,65156,757,39117.15%
European Union🇪🇺EuropeBrussels447,007,59627,242,0006.09%
United Kingdom🇬🇧EuropeLondon67,886,0114,830,5867.12%
Morocco🇲🇦AfricaRabat36,910,5601,671,4094.53%
Canada🇨🇦North AmericaOttawa37,742,154732,1101.94%
Brazil🇧🇷South AmericaBrasilia212,559,417556,0180.26%
Australia🇦🇺OceaniaCanberra25,499,884492,0691.93%
Philippines🇵🇭AsiaManila109,581,078466,1650.43%
Algeria🇩🇿AfricaAlgiers43,851,044223,0000.51%
Belize🇧🇿Central AmericaBelmopan397,628201,33950.64%
Israel🇮🇱AsiaJerusalem8,655,535175,0002.02%
Dutch Antilles🇳🇱CaribbeanWillemstad221,001150,67668.18%
Switzerland🇨🇭EuropeBern8,654,622124,0001.43%
Japan🇯🇵AsiaTokyo126,476,461108,0000.09%
Aruba🇦🇼CaribbeanOranjestad106,76683,06477.80%
Trinidad & Tobago🇹🇹South AmericaPort of Spain1,399,48870,4015.03%
Guam🇬🇺OceaniaHagåtña168,77560,58235.90%
Andorra🇦🇩EuropeAndorra la Vella77,26547,27161.18%
Norway🇳🇴EuropeOslo5,421,24137,0000.68%
New Zealand🇳🇿OceaniaWellington4,822,23322,0000.46%
Western Sahara🇪🇭AfricaLaayoune597,33922,0003.68%
US Virgin Islands🇻🇮CaribbeanCharlotte Amalie104,42516,78816.08%
Turkey🇹🇷Asia/EuropeAnkara84,339,06716,0000.02%
Jamaica🇯🇲CaribbeanKingston2,961,1678,0000.27%

Countries where Spanish is not an official language with the most Spanish speakers

Perhaps to nobody’s surprise, the United States is the non-Hispanic country with the most Spanish speakers. However, what you may not know is that the United States is the second country with the most Spanish speakers in the world—second only to Mexico.

That’s right. With 56,757,391 native and non-native Spanish speakers, the United States has more Spanish speakers than even Spain!

Here are the top 5 non-Hispanic countries with the most Spanish speakers:

  • United States - 56,757,391 speakers
  • France - 8,780,000 speakers
  • United Kingdom - 4,830,586 speakers
  • Italy - 3,704,863 speakers
  • Germany - 2,081,013 speakers

Countries where Spanish is not an official language with the biggest proportion of Spanish speakers

If what you’re looking for is not the countries with the most Spanish speakers but rather the ones where you have the highest chance of running into someone who speaks Spanish, then this list is for you.

Here are the top 5 non-Hispanic countries with the most Spanish speakers:

  • Aruba - 77.8%
  • Dutch Antilles - 68.18%
  • Andorra - 61.18%
  • Belize - 50.64%
  • Guam - 35.90%

How many people in the world speak Spanish?

Worldwide, there are almost 493 million native Spanish speakers. Additionally, there are almost 100 million non-native Spanish speakers. That means there are a total of 591 million Spanish speakers worldwide.

That makes Spanish the fourth most popular language in the world after taking into account native and non-native speakers. The only languages with more speakers than Spanish are English, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic.

Fun stats about where Spanish is spoken

If you’re just starting to learn Spanish, you may be curious as to where Spanish is spoken. Here are some fun and interesting facts about countries that speak Spanish that you may not know!

  • There are more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers. Spanish is the second language with the most native speakers, second only to Mandarin Chinese.
  • Mexico is by far the largest Spanish speaking country, accounting for over a quarter of the total native Spanish speakers worldwide.
  • The United States is the second-largest Spanish speaking country in the world.
  • Over 24 million people are studying Spanish as a foreign language as of 2021.
  • Although the number of Spanish speakers will continue to grow, the percentage of Spanish speakers worldwide will decrease to only 6.3% by the year 2100.

FAQs about countries that speak Spanish

Mexico is a Spanish speaking country with a tricolor green red and white flag.

How many countries speak Spanish?

There are 21 countries around the world that use Spanish as their official or national language. Additionally, there are 14 countries with over one million Spanish speakers, making Spanish one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.

What’s the largest Spanish speaking country?

Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country, with close to 130 million speakers. Over one-quarter of all native Spanish speakers in the world are from Mexico. About one in five Spanish speakers is Mexican, making the Mexican accent the most common one.

How many people in the United States speak Spanish?

As of 2021, there were 56,757,391 Spanish speakers in the United States. Of these, 41,757,391 speak Spanish as their native language, while 15 million speak it as a second or third language. This makes the US the second-largest Spanish speaking country in the world.

Is Spanish a good language for business?

Yes, Spanish is absolutely a good language to learn for business. As the fourth most widely-spoken language in the world, speaking Spanish will allow you to communicate with people in most of Latin America as well as parts of Europe and parts of Africa.

According to the Power Language Index, Spanish is the fourth most powerful language in the world. This index takes into account each language’s geography, economy, communication, knowledge & media, and diplomacy to determine the rankings.

Finally, Spanish is even more important for people in the United States. Not only are there more than 50 million Spanish speakers in the US alone, but Mexico is the largest trading partner of the US. With over $600 billion in trade, Mexico became the largest trading partner of the US in 2019.

However, that doesn’t even include the 20 other countries which speak Spanish. If all these countries were a trading block, they would be by far the largest trading partner of the US, even surpassing the European Union.

What countries have the most Spanish students?

As of 2021, there are 15 countries in the world with at least 100,000 Spanish students. The countries with the most Spanish students are:

  • United States - 8,079,799 learners
  • Brazil - 5,237,155 learners
  • France - 3,336,556 learners
  • United Kingdom - 2,030,961 learners
  • Italy - 897,624 learners

What does Hispanic mean?

As an adjective, Hispanic refers to a country or culture that uses Spanish as its main language. For example, a Hispanic country is one whose official language is Spanish. Spain is a Hispanic country, while Mexico is both a Hispanic and a Latin American country.

Within the context of the US, Hispanic can also refer to someone who lives in the US and is of Latin American or Spanish descent. In this context, Hispanic refers to the person’s ancestry as opposed to their ability to speak Spanish.

Hispanic refers to a country or culture that uses Spanish as its main language.

How to memorize all the countries that speak Spanish

1. Play a game

If you’re having a hard time memorizing which countries speak Spanish, what better way to practice than by playing a game?

This quiz game by Seterra will show you a map of countries that speak Spanish and ask you to click on one of them. The faster you can click on all the countries, the more points you will win! Can you get them all right in under a minute?

And if maps aren’t your thing, you can also play a flag game to learn about all the Hispanic countries. This game will ask you to click on the flag of a Hispanic country, and the faster you can get the flags right, the higher your score.

2. Watch YouTube videos

If you are a visual learner, then perhaps watching a YouTube video will help you remember which countries speak Spanish. The following video will help you visualize all the countries we have talked about in this article.

Países de habla hispana (A-Z) con banderas

3. Learn about the history of Spanish colonization

If you’re not too familiar with Spanish history, you may not be fully aware of the extent of the Spanish Empire. Just as English is predominantly used in former British colonies (Australia, the US, Canada, South Africa, etc.), Spanish is also predominant in former Spanish colonies.

Although the topic of Spanish colonization is too extensive to cover in this blog, you can watch the following 10-minute video on the Spanish Empire. Watch John Green explain how Spain became one of the biggest empires in the history of humanity.

The Spanish Empire, Silver, & Runaway Inflation: Crash Course World History #25

Keep exploring the world of Spanish

As you now know, the Spanish speaking world is exactly that—a world of its own. As you continue to learn Spanish—and especially once you reach intermediate Spanish levels—you’ll find that you’ll be able to communicate with hundreds of millions of people all over the world.

That’s what makes the language-learning journey so fun and unique. You’ll be able to interact with people, media, and ideas that you otherwise would not have been able to understand.

With that in mind, make sure to keep up your Spanish studies! No matter if you’re taking intensive classes every day or if you can only dedicate a couple of hours a week, the most important part is to keep moving forward.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our Spanish language blog, where we publish content on all things Spanish.

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