Thursday, December 7 2023

In a 2013 census, it was determined that around 370 million people in the world that spoke Arabic as their native language. That figure is well over 400 million by now. The countries that speak Arabic are mostly within the northern regions of the African continent, near the Persian Gulf and of course, the Middle East. There are a total of 26 countries that recognize Arabic as an official language while 18 of those have Arabic as the majority language. The Arabic language originated initially from the Arab peninsula and the speakers were mainly nomadic tribe. That is one of the reasons why the language spread so rapidly in the fourth and fifth century.

Arab countries
Most of the countries that now have Arabic as their first language and most of the Arabic speakers are usually Muslims. In fact, the Holy Quran is written in the same language and most of the Muslim’s recitations and prayers happen in Arabic, whether they use the language as their native tongue or not. If we go by that account then every Muslim in the world can read, write and speak Arabic which is around 1.8 billion people in the world. However, when it comes to actually understanding the language and using it for your day-to-day communication, the figures drop to around 400 million.

Arabic Speaking Countries with respect to Population

different Arabic countries

When it comes to Arabic speaking countries, Egypt is the one that leads the pack in terms of the highest population of native language speakers. In Egypt, around 93% of the population, 82 million are Arabic speakers. After that we have Algeria with 40 million Arabic Speakers. Sudan has a total of 28 million Arabic speakers out of the 40 million people. People always assume that Saudi Arabia is the foremost Arabic speaking nation and United Arab Emirates to also be among them.

top Arabic speaking countries

Saudi Arabia actually does have the fourth highest number of people speaking Arabic as their mother tongue. Another thing is that Saudi Arabia also ranks fourth amongst countries with most percentage of Arabic speakers. Then we have Morocco with 25 million speakers, Iraq has 22 million Arabic speakers. In 7th comes Syria with 20 million people. Yemen has 15 million Arabic speakers, Tunisia has 11 million and Jordan comes in at 10th with 5 million Arabic speakers.

Map & List of Arabic Speaking Nations

top countries with Arabic language

There are several countries that have Arabic listed as their official language, where the government recognizes and uses Arabic in their official business as well as academia. However these countries have Arabic speaker in minority. In most of these countries there is another language that is spoken in majority. For example, Sudan has English as another official language with millions of native speakers but Arabic is still in majority over there. Countries like Chad, Djibouti and Comoros has French language in majority while Arabic, being an official language, is spoken by less than 10 percent. Eritrea actually has three official languages, Arabic, English and Tigrinya, the third one being the abundant one.

top Arabic speaking countries in the world

Below is a table exhibiting the catalog of countries where it is used as the sole official language.

 List of Countries(with Capitals) Where Arabic is Used As Sole Official Language

Sr.No. Country Capital Population
1. Algeria Algiers 32,277,942
2. Bahrain Manama 807,000
3. Egypt Cairo 86,421,826
4. Jordan Amman 6,407,085
5. Oman Muscat 2,845,000
6. Tunisia Tunis  10,432,500
7. Syria Damascus  22,505,000
8. Kuwait Kuwait City  3,566,437
9. Lebanon Beirut 4,224,000
10. Libya Tripoli  6,420,000
11. Mauritania Nouakchott 3,291,000
12. Palestine RAMALLAH,
East Jerusalem
13. Qatar Doha 1,696,563
14. Saudi Arabia Riyadh 25,731,776
15. United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 4,975,593
16. Yemen Sana’a 23,580,000


List of Countries (& Capitals) Where Arabic is Used As Co-Official Language (plus other dialect)

Sr. No Country Capital Population
1. Chad N’Djamena 10,329,208
2. Comoros Moroni 691,000
3. Djibouti Djibouti 864,000
4. Eritrea Asmara 5,224,000
5. Iraq Baghdad 31,234,000
6. Israel Jerusalem 7,653,600
7. Morocco Rabat 32,200,000
8. Somalia Mogadishu 9,359,000
9. Sudan Khartoum 43,939,598

There are however countries where Arabic is the only official language but still have Arabic speakers in minority. United Arab Emirates and Palestine are stark examples. In the case of the former it is because of the majority of population been expatriates, over 75% to be exact. While in the case of the latter it is because of refugees and an eclectic mix of other ethnicities.


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Sajjad Ali

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