The following information provided by the Cervantes Institute may serve to illustrate the importance of the teaching of Spanish to students of other nationalities:
- Spanish is the mother tongue for nearly 470 million people which constitutes 6.7% of the world’s population. If we include the number of people with near-native fluency, those with limited proficiency and students of Spanish as a Foreign language, the number rises to 548 million.
- Spanish is second only to Chinese Mandarin in numbers of native speakers and second also if we include speakers of Spanish as a second language and students of Spanish as a Foreign language.
- For demographic reasons, the percentage of the world population that speaks Spanish as a first language is growing while the percentages for Chinese and English are decreasing. The 6.7% of Spanish speakers contrasts with the figures for Russian (2.2%), French and German (1.1% each). By 2030, Spanish speakers will constitute 7.5% of the world’s population. In four generations’ time, this will become 10% .
- There are currently more than 21 million people studying Spanish as a Foreign Language.
- Over 41 million people in the United States have a native command of Spanish. The Hispanic population is approximately 53 million. By 2050 the USA will be the first Spanish-speaking country in the world.
It is clear that a knowledge of Spanish is a valuable addition to your curriculum, comparable to English and Chinese because of its geographical extension.
For businesses who want to expand their activity to Spanish-speaking countries, certain fluency in the language will greatly improve the possibilities and many people, whether they travel for work or for pleasure, find that learning Spanish enriches their experiences.