The Top 5 Internet Users by Language

  Language Number of Internet Users Internet Penetration
(by language)
Percentage of Total
1 English 536,564,837 users 42.0 % 27.3 %
2 Chinese 444,948,013 users 32.6 % 22.6 %
3 Spanish 153,309,074 users 36.5 % 7.8 %
4 Japanese 99,143,700 users 78.2 % 5.0 %
5 Portuguese 82,548,200 users 33.0 % 4.2 %
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 Special Report
  1. According to the UNESCO report measuring the language situation on the Internet has largely been left to marketing companies, whose intentions are different from those of scientific publication, and who are therefore not very concerned with documenting their methods. According to the report, "Disorder and confusion regarding the state of languages on the Internet has been the result, which can lead to disinformation."
  2. In 2005 English covered about half of all Web pages however its proportion of them has been continually falling as other nations and linguistic groups expand their presence on the World Wide Web.
  3. According to O'Neill, Lavoie and Bennett, 72% of all web pages on the Internet were in English in 2003 with the next closest languages being German at 7%, Japanese, Spanish and French at 3% respectively.
  4. There are 99,143,700 Japanese speaking people using the Internet, this represents 5.0 % of all the Internet users in the world.
  5. Nine out of ten computers connected to the Internet are located in English-speaking countries and more than 80% of all home pages on the web are written in English. More than four fifths of all international organizations use English as either their main or one of their main operating languages. Economists have now come up with an exact value for the English language in the internet age. The English language is now worth an estimated $7.815 billion on the Internet according to Interbrand a market research firm. It is estimated that more than half the world population will be "competent" in English by the year 2050.
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2005. Report: Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet. Retrieved: November 7th, 2010.
  2. BBC News (2001). "Internet + English = Netglish". Retrieved: November 7th, 2010.
Tags: Computers & The Internet, People

Sources:  Internet World Stats, 2010.

List Notes: Internet Penetration is the ratio between the sum of Internet users speaking a language and the total population estimate that speaks that specific language. Percentage of total is calculated from the estimate of 1,966,514,816 global Internet users.

Please note: the above data was compiled by Internet World Stats, a marketing firm. Marketing companies have intentions that are different from those of scientific publication, and who are therefore often not very concerned with documenting their methods. However this list was compiled by Internet World Stats stating: "data published by Nielsen Online, International Telecommunications Union, GfK, and other reliable sources" thus has used them as an official source of the compiled information. Please see the UNESCO 2005 Report: Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet for more information on marketing firms and the reliability of such information concerning Internet usage and languages.
Internet Users by Language

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