Photo: Timithy Krause

Ethnologue, the premier authority on languages, has ranked the world’s countries based on the number of living languages spoken within its borders. It’s important to note that the ranking isn’t a measure of multilingualism on a personal level (i.e. the number of people who speak more than one language), rather a count of the number of languages used as a first language in the country.

The full ranking of multilingual countries is below. ‘Total’ shows the overall number of languages spoken as a first language in the country. This total is then broken down into indigenous (ind.) and immigrant (imm.) languages.

Rank Country Total Ind. Imm.
1 Papua New Guinea 839 839 0
2 Indonesia 707 706 1
3 Nigeria 526 520 6
4 India 454 447 7
5 United States 422 216 206
6 China 300 297 3
7 Mexico 289 283 6
8 Cameroon 281 280 1
9 Australia 245 212 33
10 Brazil 229 216 13
11 Democratic Rep. Congo 212 210 2
12 Philippines 193 182 11
13 Canada 174 89 85
14 Malaysia 146 138 8
15 Russian Federation 140 105 35
16 Chad 131 131 0
17 Tanzania 126 125 1
18 Nepal 125 120 5
19 Myanmar 117 117 0
20 Vanuatu 116 110 6
21 Viet Nam 111 108 3
22 Côte d’Ivoire 98 81 17
23 Peru 94 93 1
24 Laos 91 85 6
25 Ethiopia 89 86 3
26 Colombia 87 84 3
27 Thailand 86 74 12
28 Ghana 85 81 4
29 Central African Republic 82 71 11
30 Iran 80 76 4
31 Pakistan 77 72 5
32 Sudan 76 76 0
33 Kenya 72 67 5
34 Mali 71 66 5
35 Solomon Islands 71 71 0
36 Burkina Faso 70 70 0
37 South Sudan 68 68 0
38 Germany 66 27 39
39 Congo 65 62 3
40 France 62 23 39
41 Benin 56 55 1
42 United Kingdom 56 13 43
43 Zambia 55 46 9
44 Israel 51 35 16
45 Venezuela 50 44 6
46 Mozambique 49 43 6
47 Senegal 48 38 10
48 Turkey 47 35 12
49 Togo 46 43 3
50 Bangladesh 45 41 4
51 Bolivia 45 43 2
52 Kazakhstan 44 14 30
53 South Africa 44 28 16
54 Italy 43 35 8
55 Uganda 43 41 2
56 Gabon 42 42 0
57 Ukraine 42 24 18
58 Afghanistan 41 40 1
59 Netherlands 41 15 26
60 New Caledonia 40 38 2
61 Guinea 39 37 2
62 Uzbekistan 39 9 30
63 Botswana 38 28 10
64 Angola 37 37 0
65 Azerbaijan 37 17 20
66 Argentina 36 21 15
67 Namibia 36 28 8
68 United Arab Emirates 34 7 27
69 Bhutan 33 23 10
70 Kyrgyzstan 33 5 28
71 Liberia 32 31 1
72 Tajikistan 32 13 19
73 Libya 31 9 22
74 Singapore 31 24 7
75 Belgium 30 10 20
76 Paraguay 29 23 6
77 Cambodia 28 23 5
78 Georgia 28 19 9
79 China–Taiwan 27 21 6
80 Guinea-Bissau 27 22 5
81 Iraq 27 23 4
82 Sierra Leone 27 25 2
83 Turkmenistan 27 4 23
84 Guatemala 26 26 0
85 Greece 25 16 9
86 New Zealand 25 4 21
87 Romania 25 23 2
88 Ecuador 24 23 1
89 Gambia 24 11 13
90 Sweden 24 14 10
91 Malawi 23 16 7
92 Switzerland 23 12 11
93 Zimbabwe 23 21 2
94 Croatia 22 15 7
95 Poland 22 17 5
96 Spain 22 15 7
97 Suriname 22 19 3
98 Syria 22 16 6
99 Algeria 21 18 3
100 Austria 21 11 10
101 Denmark 21 7 14
102 Fiji 21 10 11
103 Niger 21 21 0
104 Egypt 20 12 8
105 Eritrea 20 15 5
106 Finland 20 12 8
107 Madagascar 20 14 6
108 Saudi Arabia 20 5 15
109 Serbia 20 15 5
110 East Timor 19 19 0
111 Micronesia 19 18 1
112 Oman 19 16 3
113 Panama 19 14 5
114 Bulgaria 18 11 7
115 Czech Republic 18 10 8
116 Hungary 18 15 3
117 Japan 18 15 3
118 Brunei 17 15 2
119 Guyana 17 14 3
120 Chile 16 10 6
121 French Guiana 16 13 3
122 Jordan 16 10 6
123 Norway 16 9 7
124 Moldova 15 10 5
125 Equatorial Guinea 14 14 0
126 Latvia 14 7 7
127 Lithuania 14 8 6
128 Mauritius 14 7 7
129 Mongolia 14 12 2
130 Morocco 14 14 0
131 Somalia 14 13 1
132 Yemen 14 10 4
133 Belize 13 8 5
134 Costa Rica 13 10 3
135 Honduras 13 10 3
136 Puerto Rico 13 4 9
137 Qatar 13 3 10
138 Slovakia 13 10 3
139 Bahrain 12 4 8
140 Uruguay 12 2 10
141 Albania 11 8 3
142 Armenia 11 7 4
143 Belarus 11 2 9
144 Estonia 11 5 6
145 French Polynesia 11 9 2
146 Macedonia 11 10 1
147 Nicaragua 11 11 0
148 Portugal 11 10 1
149 Djibouti 10 5 5
150 Slovenia 10 8 2
151 Tunisia 10 6 4
152 Guam 9 2 7
153 Lebanon 9 6 3
154 Mauritania 9 7 2
155 Nauru 9 3 6
156 Trinidad and Tobago 9 8 1
157 Bosnia and Herzegovina 8 4 4
158 China–Hong Kong 8 7 1
159 Dominican Republic 8 4 4
160 Palestine 8 6 2
161 Réunion 8 3 5
162 Jamaica 7 4 3
163 Kuwait 7 3 4
164 Montenegro 7 4 3
165 Sri Lanka 7 7 0
166 Swaziland 7 5 2
167 American Samoa 6 2 4
168 Comoros 6 6 0
169 Curacao 6 5 1
170 Cyprus 6 4 2
171 El Salvador 6 4 2
172 Ireland 6 5 1
173 Lesotho 6 5 1
174 Luxembourg 6 3 3
175 Northern Mariana Islands 6 4 2
176 São Tomé e Príncipe 6 4 2
177 Aruba 5 4 1
178 Caribbean Netherlands 5 5 0
179 China–Macao 5 5 0
180 Cook Islands 5 5 0
181 Cuba 5 3 2
182 Liechtenstein 5 4 1
183 Malta 5 3 2
184 Palau 5 5 0
185 Rwanda 5 3 2
186 Sint Maarten 5 4 1
187 Tonga 5 3 2
188 Andorra 4 4 0
189 Antigua and Barbuda 4 2 2
190 Bahamas 4 2 2
191 Burundi 4 3 1
192 Dominica 4 3 1
193 Grenada 4 4 0
194 Guadeloupe 4 3 1
195 Martinique 4 3 1
196 Mayotte 4 3 1
197 Monaco 4 4 0
198 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4 3 1
199 South Korea 4 3 1
200 U.S. Virgin Islands 4 3 1
201 Barbados 3 3 0
202 Cape Verde Islands 3 2 1
203 Cayman Islands 3 1 2
204 Gibraltar 3 2 1
205 Haiti 3 3 0
206 Iceland 3 2 1
207 Jersey 3 2 1
208 Kiribati 3 2 1
209 Niue 3 2 1
210 Saint Barthélemy 3 3 0
211 Saint Kitts and Nevis 3 3 0
212 Saint Lucia 3 2 1
213 Saint Martin 3 3 0
214 Saint Pierre and Miquelon 3 2 1
215 Seychelles 3 3 0
216 Turks and Caicos Islands 3 2 1
217 Tuvalu 3 3 0
218 Wallis and Futuna 3 3 0
219 Anguilla 2 2 0
220 Bermuda 2 1 1
221 British Virgin Islands 2 2 0
222 Greenland 2 2 0
223 Guernsey 2 2 0
224 Isle of Man 2 2 0
225 Maldives 2 2 0
226 Marshall Islands 2 2 0
227 Montserrat 2 2 0
228 Norfolk Island 2 2 0
229 Pitcairn 2 2 0
230 Samoa 2 2 0
231 San Marino 2 2 0
232 Tokelau 2 2 0
233 Vatican State 2 2 0
234 British Indian Ocean Territory 1 1 0
235 North Korea 1 1 0

This article originally appeared on Atlas & Boots — Travel with Abandon and is republished here with permission.

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