Danes Best Nonnative English Speakers


The best nonnative English speakers in the world come from Denmark, according to a study by Education First.

Education First, a global language-training company, based its findings on data collected from free English tests available over the Internet and taken by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

The study shows that, of the 63 countries ranked, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden were the most proficient English speaking countries where English is not the first language. Cambodia, Libya, and Iraq were the least-proficient.

The scores range from Denmark’s 69.30 on the high end to Iraq’s 38.02 on the low end. The best improvement for a country over the past seven years is in the 54th-ranked Kazakhstan, which improved 11.23 points to 42.97 since 2007. The biggest drop was in 57th-ranked Iran, down 11.09 points to 41.83.

Europe as a whole speaks the best English as a second language, while the Middle East speaks the worst. Globally, the study found the world’s English proficiency has been improving, although not uniformly so across different countries. Women, in nearly every country included, speak better English than men.

The study also found other conclusions from the data, as well. Exports, gross national income, Internet usage, years of schooling, and ease of doing business all correlate positively with English proficiency.

If deciding on an overseas retirement or business location, English language skills may be of the utmost importance.

The Top Ten Nonnative English Speaking Countries

  1. Denmark
  2. Netherlands
  3. Sweden
  4. Finland
  5. Norway
  6. Poland
  7. Austria
  8. Estonia
  9. Belgium
  10. Germany

The Worst Nonnative English Speaking Countries

54. Kazakhstan
55. Morocco
56. Egypt
57. Iran
58. Kuwait
59. Saudi Arabia
60. Algeria
61. Cambodia
62. Libya
63. Iraq

Other countries of interest included Malaysia (12), Singapore (13), Argentina (15), Switzerland (18), Spain (20), Portugal (21), South Korea (24), Japan (26), Italy (27), France (29), Hong Kong (31), Russia (36), China (37), Brazil (38), Mexico (39), Colombia (42), Costa Rica (43), and Panama (52).


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