UK comes fourth by number of English speakers
It’s unsurprising to hear that the USA has the biggest number of English speakers (as it has such a huge population), but it only narrowly beats India. Numbers from 2000 show that the US has 251,388,301 English speakers, with India at an impressive 232,000,000 (23% of their population). Nigeria comes in third with 79 million English speakers (about 4 million of them being native speakers), and the UK comes in fourth with 59,600,000.
The rest of the top ten are as follows:
5. Philippines (49,800,000)
6. Germany (46,000,000)
7. Canada (25,246,220)
8. France (23,000,000)
9. Pakistan (18,000,000)
10. Australia (17,357,833)
I had always been under the impression that not that many Italians spoke English, but Italy came in at number 11 with 17 million English speakers.
Source: Wikipedia (note: numbers are not quite accurate as it’s hard to judge proficiency levels or a baseline English ability, especially with English as a second or third language).