Why is Spanish important?

Learn about 10 reasons why Spanish is one of the most impactful and relevant languages today.

Porqué es importante el español (2023) by Aina Arbona GelabertFundación Antonio de Nebrija

1. A global language

Spanish is the second most common mother tongue in the world with more than 496 million speakers. It is the fourth most spoken language when you consider native proficiency, limited competence, and open student learning processes. Estimates add up to about 595 million speakers.

2. A language that crosses borders

Spanish is official in 21 countries, spread across Europe, Africa, and Latin America, and is learned in 111 countries as a foreign language. It is the third most used language in the UN, the second most used in the EU, and the most used in American and Ibero-American integration agencies.

3. A language of interest

Spanish is the second most important language in language tourism. According to a study by Duolingo, Spanish is the most studied language in 31 of the 194 countries where this platform operates.

4. A language with advantages

We live in a globalized world, in which migration and tourism cause constant situations that bring languages into contact. Thanks to the number of people that speak it, Spanish accelerates the processes of social and labor integration in contact situations.

5. A language of synergies

Currently, bilateral exports between Spanish-speaking countries are double those between countries where English is the official language. 

6. A language of business

On an international level, Spanish has become a strategic exchange language for negotiation between entities.
In the United States, LinkedIn users are increasingly using Spanish as a professional asset outside the Spanish-speaking world.

7. A language of culture

Spanish takes the fourth position on the world list of languages in which books have been published. Publishing and audiovisual output in Spanish has grown astronomically in the last decade.

8. A digital language

7.9% of internet users communicate in Spanish and it is the second most used language on the main social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Restrictions imposed by the pandemic have boosted online Spanish learning.

9. A language that is expanding

It is estimated that 726 million people will speak Spanish by 2068.

By 2060, the United States will be the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, behind Mexico, with close to a 30% Hispanic population.

10. A language of the future

The Human Development Index of Spanish-speaking countries and the volume of their exports places Spanish as the third most important language in the international arena.

The new role of Spanish as the epicenter of growth and economic development strategies allows the language to be integrated into innovative markets such as artificial intelligence.

Credits: Story

The sources for this article are the Instituto Cervantes' Anual Report 2022 and the studies conducted by the Observatorio Nebrija del Español:
La proximidad lingüística en la decisión migratoria: el papel del español.- La migración hispanohablante en Europa: perfiles demolingüísticos e integración social.

Other sources: Alonso, J. A., Jiménez, J. C. y García Delgado, J. L. (2023). Los futuros del español. Alianza Editorial.

Content curation and script: Aina Arbona
Graphic Editor: Carmen García
Consulting and review: Lola Pons (Universidad de Sevilla)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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