The global language learning industry is one of the fastest-growing educational sectors in the world, with millions of people enrolling in online and offline courses to learn a new language. The rise of technology and the increasing popularity of online learning platforms have significantly impacted the industry, providing greater accessibility and convenience to language learners.

In this blog post, we will explore language learning statistics that provide insight into the growth and trends of the industry.

Key FindingsPercentage
Older people over 65 years old11.7%
People aged 18-242.8%
People aged 25-345%
Respondents who can speak a second language11.9%

Key Language Learning Statistics 2023 – MY Choice

  • Nearly 1.5 billion people globally are learning a second language.
  • The most popular language studied globally is English, followed by Mandarin Chinese.
  • The average time to become proficient in a new language is around 600-750 hours.
  • Children have a higher aptitude for language learning compared to adults.
  • The average cost of language lessons can range from $20-$50 per hour.
  • In the United States, Spanish is the most commonly studied foreign language.
  • Bilingual individuals have been shown to have improved memory and cognitive function.
  • The age of language learning has a significant impact on the speed of language acquisition.
  • Immersion programs, where students learn a language by living in a country where it is spoken, have shown to be highly effective.
  • The use of technology in language learning, such as apps and online courses, has greatly increased in recent years.

Language Learning Statistics

  1. There are over 6,500 languages spoken globally.
  2. English is the most widely studied language in the world, followed by Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese.
  3. It’s estimated that over 1 billion people are currently learning a foreign language.
  4. Language schools and institutions generated over $40 billion in revenue in 2021.
  5. The global language learning market is expected to grow by 6.6% annually through 2023.
  6. Online language learning is the fastest-growing segment of the language learning industry, expected to grow by over 12% annually through 2023.

Language Proficiency and Interest by Gender

GenderCannot Speak Second Language but Interested in LearningInterested in Learning a Second Language Despite Not Speaking One

Language Proficiency by Age Group

Age GroupCan Speak More than One Language
18-44Significant Proportion
Above 45Speak Only English

Popular Target Language for English Speakers

Target LanguagePopularity

Languages with Increasing Search Demand

LanguageIncrease in Search Volume

Language Learning Facts

  1. The average person can learn a new language in approximately 600 hours of study.
  2. The average language learner spends 3 hours per week on language learning activities.
  3. Memory retention is higher when studying a foreign language as a child compared to adulthood.
  4. Learning a foreign language has been shown to improve cognitive function and delay age-related mental decline.
  5. Bilingualism has been linked to increased cultural awareness and understanding.

Language Learning Benefits

  1. Improved job prospects: Employers increasingly value language skills, and multilingual employees are in high demand.
  2. Enhanced travel experiences: Speaking the local language can make travel more enjoyable and provide deeper cultural immersion.
  3. Improved cognitive function: Bilingualism has been linked to increased cognitive flexibility, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
  4. Improved memory: The process of learning a new language requires memorization, which can help improve overall memory function.
  5. Improved cultural understanding: Learning about a new culture through language learning can lead to greater appreciation and understanding of different perspectives.

Popular Languages English Speakers Want to Learn Online


Language Learning Search Volume Peaks

MonthsPeak Search Volume
SeptemberConsistently High

Impact of Lockdown on Language Learning Trends

PeriodSearch Intent Increase
Prior to CovidSignificantly Higher
During Covid-19Initially Increased

European Students Learning a Second Language

CountryPercent of Students
European countries92%
United States20%

Benefits and Growth of Language Learning

Potential Earnings Increase for Bilinguals5%-20%
Projected Market Growth20.3% CAGR

Language Learning Trends

  1. Increased focus on online language learning: With the rise of online education, more and more language learners are turning to online courses and resources to support their learning.
  2. Greater use of AI and machine learning in language learning: Language learning software is incorporating AI and machine learning technologies to create more personalized and effective learning experiences.
  3. Growth of micro-learning and gamification: Language learning apps are increasingly incorporating gamification and bite-sized lessons to make the learning process more engaging and effective.

Language Learning Adoption

  1. North America and Europe account for over 60% of the global language learning market.
  2. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to experience the fastest growth in language learning adoption through 2023.
  3. The majority of language learners are aged between 25-34 years old.
  4. Women are more likely than men to pursue language learning for personal enrichment.
  5. Self-study is the most popular method of language learning, followed by group classes and one-on-one tutoring.

Language Learning Market Analysis

  1. The global language learning market size was valued at $40 billion in 2021.
  2. The online language learning segment is expected to experience the fastest growth, with an expected CAGR of 12% through 2023.
  3. The top players in the language learning market include Babbel, Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Memrise.

Global Language Learning Industry Statistics

  1. The global language learning market size was estimated to be worth $56.9 billion in 2020.
  2. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2021 to 2028.
  3. North America and Europe are the largest language learning markets, accounting for more than 50% of the total market share.
  4. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing market, with a CAGR of 9.5% from 2021 to 2028.
  5. The online language learning market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028.

Language Learning Demographic Statistics

  1. The majority of language learners are aged 18-35, with 37% of learners in this age group.
  2. Women make up 60% of the language learning market.
  3. 25% of language learners have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  4. 40% of language learners have a household income of $50,000 or more.

How many EU adults know a foreign language, and how many know it well?

According to statistics, 63% of EU adults know at least one foreign language. However, only 31% of EU adults know a foreign language well. This highlights the importance of language proficiency in the EU and the need for more language learning opportunities and resources.

Which foreign languages are considered challenging for native English speakers?

Native English speakers find Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean exceptionally difficult to learn. This information can help individuals prioritize which languages to focus on when learning foreign language skills.

How does the number of English speakers compare to Mandarin Chinese speakers worldwide?

In 2022, approximately 1.5 billion people spoke English, while Mandarin Chinese had around 1.1 billion speakers. This demonstrates the prevalence and importance of the English language for international communication.

Which country has the highest foreign language proficiency?

Sweden is known for having the highest foreign language proficiency according to statistics. It sets a high standard for other countries to strive for and can be used as a benchmark for measuring language proficiency.

Which language skills are most sought after by British employers?

British employers most frequently seek French speakers for language skills, followed by German and Spanish. Understanding which languages are in demand can help jobseekers focus on developing language skills that increase their employability.

Why is English expected to remain a common second language in the foreseeable future?

English’s continued relevance as a common second language highlights its importance for international communication. This influences decisions related to language learning and resource allocation for language education.

Which countries have the highest foreign language proficiency rates?

Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, and Slovakia have a high level of foreign language proficiency. More than 90% of adults in these countries know at least one foreign language, with over two-thirds of them being proficient. This proficiency can have a significant impact on economic and social development.

Which countries have the lowest foreign language proficiency rates?

Hungary, Bulgaria, and the United Kingdom have low foreign language proficiency rates. Less than 20% of adults in these countries claim to know a foreign language at a good or proficient level. This highlights the importance of promoting foreign language learning and use in these regions.

Are younger adults more comfortable with languages than older adults?

Yes, statistics show that compared to the EU average of 63%, the knowledge of at least one foreign language rises to 74% for people aged 25 to 34 years, but drops to 47% for those between 55 and 64 years. This suggests that language education should be encouraged throughout life to create a more connected world.

What percentage of older people have no interest in learning a second language?

Around 11.7% of older people over 65 years old can’t speak a second language and have no interest in learning one. This highlights the need to provide language learning opportunities for older individuals and foster intergenerational understanding through language education.

What percentage of Americans cannot speak a second language, and how many don’t care about learning one?

Approximately two-thirds of Americans cannot speak a second language, and nearly 40% of Americans don’t care about learning one. This statistic underscores the lack of interest or commitment to learning a second language among Americans, despite its numerous benefits in an increasingly globalized world.

Popular Languages for Learning

  1. English is the most popular language for learning, with over 1 billion people studying it globally.
  2. Spanish is the second most popular language for learning, followed by French, German, and Mandarin Chinese.
  3. The popularity of other languages, such as Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian, is on the rise.

Online Language Learning Statistics

  1. 79% of language learners prefer online learning over traditional classroom-based learning.
  2. The majority of online language learners (66%) use a smartphone to access language learning courses.
  3. The average amount of time spent on online language learning per week is 4 hours.
  4. The majority of online language learners (75%) prefer self-paced courses.
  5. The average cost of an online language course is $50-$100.

Why do 70% of students aged 14-24 in the UK want to learn another language in the future?

The desire among young people in the UK to learn another language stems from the recognition that language skills offer numerous benefits.

They understand that being proficient in a second language can enhance their employment prospects and career advancement opportunities. Additionally, learning another language makes traveling more enjoyable and enriching.

Even if they don’t study a foreign language during their formal education, many young individuals choose to pursue language learning later in life through online platforms or further education classes.

Why is there a significant difference between language enrollment rates in the US and Europe?

In Europe, learning a foreign language is often a requirement for secondary school graduation. Consequently, a high percentage of students (92%) in European countries are enrolled in language classes. In contrast, language learning is not mandated in most US school systems, resulting in a lower enrollment rate (20%).

European countries place greater emphasis on language education, while the availability of language programs varies among US schools. For instance, China has a language learning participation rate of 67%, while Japan’s rate is only 13%.

How much more can people earn if they speak more than one language?

Proficiency in a second language offers a significant advantage in the job market, with language skills associated with higher salaries. Studies indicate that individuals who can speak multiple languages can earn anywhere from 2% to 15% more compared to monolingual counterparts.

Being able to communicate with customers and clients in their native language can greatly benefit business interactions. Moreover, language skills enable individuals to identify and rectify translation errors. The salary boost from language skills may vary depending on geographical location, with European employers often valuing language proficiency more than those in the United States.

How much is the online language learning market worth, and how is it projected to grow?

The online language learning market is currently valued at approximately 12.49 billion USD.

This figure encompasses various online language learning platforms, memberships, quiz apps, and other resources. Projections estimate that the market will grow to 25 billion USD by 2025. With the increasing demand for language learning resources and the popularity of online education, there will be ample opportunities for individuals interested in online language teaching careers.

This growth opens up possibilities in virtual classroom leadership, curriculum development, and innovative online teaching methods.

How many people are currently learning a foreign language?

At present, there are approximately 1.2 billion individuals worldwide who are actively learning a foreign language.

This statistic demonstrates that language learning is a widespread endeavor, and learners are not alone in their language acquisition journey.

Despite the challenges and occasional feelings of isolation during the learning process, millions of people around the globe are facing similar language learning experiences. This shared pursuit emphasizes the vast community of language learners and provides support and encouragement to individuals working towards language fluency.

Language Learning App Statistics

  1. The majority of language learning apps (75%) are free to download.
  2. The average rating of language learning apps is 4.2 stars.
  3. The most popular language learning app is Duolingo, with over 300 million users.
  4. The majority of language learning app users (60%) are aged 18-35.
  5. The average time spent on language learning apps per day is 30 minutes.

Effectiveness of Language Learning

  1. The average time it takes to become proficient in a language is 600-750 hours of study.
  2. The effectiveness of language learning varies greatly depending on the learning method used.
  3. Immersion in a language environment is the most effective way to learn a language.
  4. The use of technology, such as language learning apps and online courses, can greatly enhance language learning effectiveness.

How do language skills affect job prospects?

Language skills can significantly impact job prospects in today’s globalized job market. Employers often value candidates who can communicate in multiple languages, especially for positions that involve international business, customer service, translation, or cultural exchange.

Proficiency in a foreign language can enhance one’s competitiveness, expand job opportunities, and increase the likelihood of career advancement.

Are there any initiatives or programs promoting foreign language learning?

Yes, there are several initiatives and programs aimed at promoting foreign language learning. For example, the European Union’s Erasmus+ program supports language learning and cultural exchange opportunities for students across Europe.

Additionally, various language learning platforms and apps provide accessible and interactive tools for individuals to learn languages at their own pace.

Furthermore, some countries have implemented language policies and education reforms to emphasize the importance of foreign language learning from an early age.

How do language skills contribute to cultural understanding?

Language skills play a crucial role in fostering cultural understanding. When individuals learn a foreign language, they gain insights into different cultures, customs, and perspectives.

Language learning enables communication and empathy, facilitating meaningful interactions with people from diverse backgrounds.

It helps break down barriers, promotes intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect and appreciation. Through language skills, individuals can engage in cross-cultural experiences and build bridges between communities.

Can learning multiple languages improve cognitive abilities?

Yes, learning multiple languages has been shown to improve cognitive abilities. Bilingual or multilingual individuals often exhibit enhanced cognitive functions such as better problem-solving skills, improved memory retention, and increased mental flexibility.

Language learning exercises the brain and stimulates neural pathways, promoting mental agility and the ability to switch between tasks. Additionally, multilingualism has been associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and certain age-related neurological conditions.

How long does it take to become proficient in a foreign language?

The time it takes to become proficient in a foreign language varies depending on several factors, including the language’s complexity, the learner’s prior language learning experience, the amount of time dedicated to study, and the learner’s individual abilities.

Generally, achieving a high level of proficiency in a foreign language can take several years of consistent practice and immersion. However, it’s important to note that even basic language skills can be beneficial and provide opportunities for communication and cultural understanding.

Are there any online resources available for learning foreign languages?

Yes, there are numerous online resources available for learning foreign languages. Language learning platforms such as Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, and Memrise offer interactive courses and exercises for various languages.

Additionally, websites like FluentU provide language learning through authentic videos, while websites like Italki and Preply connect learners with language tutors for personalized lessons. Many universities and educational institutions also offer online language courses and resources for self-study.

Are there any language proficiency exams or certifications?

Yes, there are several language proficiency exams and certifications that assess an individual’s language skills.

Common examples include the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for English proficiency, the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) for Spanish proficiency, and the DELF/DALF (Diploma in French Language Studies) for French proficiency.

These exams provide standardized measurements of language proficiency and are often required for academic or professional purposes.

How can parents support their children’s language learning?

Parents can support their children’s language learning in various ways.

They can encourage exposure to different languages through books, music, and media, and provide opportunities for language immersion by engaging with native speakers or participating in language exchange programs.

Parents can also enroll their children in language classes or hire tutors for structured learning. Additionally, creating a language-rich environment at home, where the target language is spoken and practiced regularly, can greatly support children’s language development.

How many languages do Americans speak, and how many want to learn more languages?

According to the Language Learning Statistics 2023 study, around two-thirds of Americans cannot speak a second language. Only 23% of Americans speak one second language, and just over 1 in 10 can speak two or more languages. However, the study also revealed that 92% of European students learn at least one language in school, highlighting a contrast in language learning between the United States and Europe.

Do language learning trends vary by gender?

Yes, language learning trends vary by gender. The study showed that among the respondents, a higher percentage of females reported not being able to speak a second language but expressed interest in learning one. In contrast, more males expressed interest in learning a second language, even though they currently can’t speak one. These gender differences may be influenced by various factors, including cultural, societal, and educational conditions.

Which age group is more proficient in speaking multiple languages?

The study found that a significant proportion of younger generations, specifically those between 18 and 44 years old, can speak more than one language. This is likely due to educational and professional growth opportunities that encourage language acquisition. However, older generations above the age of 45 tend to speak only English, with a higher percentage of them not wanting to learn another language.

What is the most popular target language for English speakers in 2023?

The most popular target language among English speakers in the United States is Spanish. This is not surprising considering the large number of Spanish speakers in the country. More than 43 million people in the United States speak Spanish as their first language. Additionally, Spanish has consistently been the most popular language searched by English speakers in recent years.

How has language demand changed over time and which languages have seen growth in online search demand?

Over time, there has been an increase in search volume for learning French and Italian, causing Japanese and German to drop in rankings within the top 10 most popular languages searched online. However, Spanish remains the language English speakers are most eager to learn online. Other languages that show high search volume for learning include French, Telugu, German, and Japanese. Less commonly searched languages include Yoruba, Burmese, Hausa, Azerbaijani, Sindhi, and Oriya.

When do searches for online language learning peak?

Search volumes for online language learning tend to peak in January and September. January experiences the highest search volumes, potentially due to New Year goals and the availability of discounts on language learning tools. September, on the other hand, corresponds to the return to school season, with students preparing for language classes or researching which languages they would like to study.

How has the lockdown impacted language learning trends?

Surprisingly, the data reveals that language learning interest and search volumes were higher prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. Although there was an initial increase in search intent to learn a language online during the pandemic, overall interest in learning languages has declined. The projected trend for 2023 suggests the lowest interest in language learning in the past five years. However, it’s worth noting that some language learning platforms, like Ling App, have experienced significant growth during this time, indicating that there are still individuals motivated to learn languages.

How does language learning differ between Europe and the United States?

The study revealed a significant disparity in language learning between European countries and the United States. In Europe, 92% of students learn at least one language in school, emphasizing the importance of multilingualism within the continent. In contrast, the United States lags behind, with only 20% of students learning a second language. This divergence suggests that language learning is more deeply integrated into European education systems and reflects the cultural and geographic diversity of the continent.

What are the benefits and growth projections for language learning?

Language learning offers several benefits, including potential earnings increase for bilingual individuals. Studies suggest that bilinguals can earn between 5% to 20% more than their monolingual counterparts. Furthermore, the language learning market is projected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3%. This growth reflects the increasing importance of language skills in a globalized world and the demand for language learning resources and services.

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