Language Learning Statistics: 40 Facts to Expose Language Revolution

Updated on: July 27, 2023

In today's globalized world, the revolution of language learning industries is reshaping communication and cultural understanding. 

Discover the growing need to learn languages and the immense benefits it brings to personal growth and global connectivity. 

Join us as we delve into comprehensive language learning statistics, uncovering trends, challenges, motivations, and the transformative power of multilingualism.

Let's embark on this enlightening journey together and discover the fascinating world of language learning.

The Growing Popularity of Language Learning

Let's reveal the interest in language learning, emphasizing its significance in today's globalized world. 

Check out the statistics on the growing popularity of language learning worldwide!

  1. The number of language learners worldwide has steadily increased, with an estimated 1.5 billion people actively learning a foreign language.
  2. Language proficiency opens up a wide range of job prospects, with studies showing that bilingual employees earn, on average, 5-20% more than their monolingual counterparts.
  3. Statistics reveal that fluency in in-demand languages such as Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic significantly increases employability and offers access to global job markets.
  4. According to market research, the global e-learning market is projected to reach $325 billion by 2025, with language learning being one of the fastest-growing segments.
  5. 39% of employers in the United Kingdom consider language skills a high priority, particularly in finance, law, and hospitality.

Language Learning Methods and Approaches 

Let's explore the various methods and approaches used in language learning, including traditional classroom-based learning, online platforms and apps, immersion programs, and self-study. 

Discover the method that suits you best!

  1. Traditional classroom-based learning remains popular, with approximately 80% of language learners opting for this method.
  2. The popularity of online language learning platforms and apps has been soaring. In 2020, the global language learning market size was valued at $19.9 billion and is projected to reach $37.6 billion by 2027
  3. Immersion programs, where learners immerse themselves in a country or community where the target language is spoken, have gained popularity. According to the Institute of International Education, U.S. students participating in study abroad programs increased by 3.8% in the 2018/2019 academic year.
  1. Language exchanges, where learners practice with native speakers, have also grown significantly. For instance, the language exchange app Tandem reported over 10 million users in 2021.
  2. Self-study and independent learning have become increasingly prevalent. The European Commission's Eurobarometer survey found that 65% of Europeans who learn languages do so independently.

Demographic Analysis of Language Learners 

We love to provide insights into the diverse profiles of language learners. Discover how demographic factors influence language learning opportunities!

  1. Research shows that language learning preferences vary across different age groups. Young children (ages 0-12) often benefit from immersive and play-based language learning methods, while teenagers and young adults (ages 13-25) prefer online platforms and apps.
  2. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that the percentage of public schools in the United States offering bilingual education programs increased from 13% in 2004 to 39% in 2018.
  3. The Modern Language Association (MLA) reported that enrollment in post-secondary language programs in the United States increased by 13.8% between 2013 and 2016.
  4. A survey conducted by Rosetta Stone found that 86% of executives believe that language skills are critical for business success, leading to more working professionals seeking language training.
  5. The gender distribution among language learners varies across languages and regions. However, studies have found that in many cases, there is a fairly even distribution between males and females in language learning programs and courses.

Popular Languages for Language Learning Statistics

It is also important to delve into the most learned languages, uncovering widely learned languages worldwide, regional language preferences, and emerging trends in language learning choices. 

Explore the statistics and find out which languages are in high demand.

  1. Popular languages for language learning include Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, and Japanese, reflecting their economic, cultural, and geopolitical importance.
  2. Spanish is the most popular language choice in the United States after English. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), 20% of K-12 students in the U.S. study Spanish.
  3. Asian languages, particularly Mandarin Chinese, have gained popularity due to the economic rise of Asia and increasing business ties with the region. The number of people learning Mandarin Chinese has been steadily increasing globally.
  4. The most popular language choices in the United Kingdom are French, German, and Spanish. However, there has been a decline in the number of students studying foreign languages at the secondary level recently.
  5. English remains the most widely learned language globally. It is estimated that over 1.5 billion people are learning or have learned English as a second language.

Challenges and Motivations in Language Learning 

Let's be honest; there are common hurdles learners face and the motivating factors driving individuals to learn languages. 

Let's see how to overcome challenges and stay motivated on your language-learning journey!

  1. A study published in the International Journal of Science and Research found that 68% of language learners struggle with grammar, while 53% face difficulties acquiring vocabulary.
  2. According to a survey by Rosetta Stone, 42% of language learners consider pronunciation the most challenging aspect of language learning.
  3. According to a survey by FluentU, 64% of language learners reported experiencing plateaus during their language-learning journey, which can lead to decreased motivation. Overcoming these plateaus is crucial for continued progress!
  4. A study conducted by the British Council found that 72% of language learners were motivated by the desire to improve their career opportunities.
  5. The desire to communicate with family members, friends, or romantic partners who speak another language can be a powerful driving force for language learning.

Language Proficiency Levels, Measures, and distributions

Understand language proficiency levels by examining common frameworks used for measurement and the distribution of learners across proficiency levels.

  1. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is widely used to assess language proficiency levels. It categorizes proficiency into six levels: A1 (Beginner), A2 (Elementary), B1 (Intermediate), B2 (Upper Intermediate), C1 (Advanced), and C2 (Proficient).
  2. A survey conducted by Eurostat found that the majority of language learners in Europe fall within the A2 to B1 proficiency range.
  3. In countries with multiple official languages, proficiency levels can vary depending on the language. For example, in Canada, English proficiency is generally higher than French proficiency, particularly in English-dominant regions.
  4. A study conducted by the British Council revealed that 75% of English language learners worldwide aim to achieve a B2 or higher proficiency level, as it is considered sufficient for effective communication in most professional and academic contexts.
  5. According to the E.F. English Proficiency Index, the highest English proficiency is found in countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, while lower proficiency is observed in countries like Russia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia.

Language Learning Statistics and Technology 

This article will only be complete if we explore the impact of technology on language learning, from online platforms and apps to virtual reality, augmented reality, and gamification. 

Discover how technology enhances language learning experiences!

  1. According to a report by Ambient Insight, the global market for digital English language learning products reached $4.4 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow!
  2. Duolingo, one of the most popular language learning apps, reported over 500 million downloads in 2021 and had over 40 million monthly active users.
  3. A study published in ReCALL found that learners who used Virtual Reality (V.R.) for language learning showed improved vocabulary recall and higher motivation than traditional methods.
  4. A study published in the International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching revealed that language learners who engaged in gamified activities showed higher motivation, engagement, and language proficiency.
  5. Language learning apps often utilize gamification elements, such as badges, leaderboards, and rewards, to enhance user engagement and provide a more enjoyable learning experience.

Impacts of Language Learning

Finally, briefly the economic benefits, cultural understanding, cognitive benefits, personal growth, increased self-confidence, and improved academic performance. 

  1. A study by the British Academy found that language skills contribute an estimated £48 billion ($65 billion) to the U.K. economy annually through increased trade, foreign investment, and job opportunities.
  2. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), bilingual employees in the United States can earn between 5% and 20% more than their monolingual counterparts.
  3. Research published in Psychological Science indicated that bilingual individuals exhibit better attention control, cognitive flexibility, and problem-solving skills than monolinguals.
  4. A survey conducted by Rosetta Stone found that 89% of language learners reported improved self-confidence due to their language-learning efforts.
  5. Language learning enhances critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and memory retention, positively impacting academic achievement.

Final Thoughts

  • We want to encourage you to embark on your language-learning journey. Language learning opens doors to new opportunities, expands horizons, and fosters meaningful connections with diverse cultures and communities. 
  • Whether starting from scratch or aiming to enhance your language skills, remember that every step taken towards learning a new language is a step towards personal growth and an enriching cultural experience.
  • So, seize the opportunity, immerse yourself in the language of your choice, and embrace the wonders that language learning can bring to your life. Let language be your gateway to a world of possibilities!

Explore our language courses today and unlock a world of opportunities. 

Happy language learning!

FAQ Section:

What are some key statistics on the growing popularity of language learning?

  • The number of language learners worldwide has reached approximately 1.5 billion.
  • Bilingual employees earn, on average, 5-20% more than monolingual employees.
  • Fluency in in-demand languages like Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic significantly increases employability.

What are the popular methods and approaches used in language learning?

  • Traditional classroom-based learning remains popular, with approximately 80% of language learners choosing this method.
  • Online language learning platforms and apps have seen a significant rise in popularity.
  • Immersion programs, self-study, and language exchanges have also gained traction among learners.

What are some benefits and motivations for language learning?

  • Language learning improves communication, cultural understanding, cognitive abilities, and personal growth.
  • Proficiency in a second language opens up job opportunities and increases career prospects.
  • Motivations for language learning include career advancement, personal relationships, and a desire for self-improvement.

Resources

​​https://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/Forbes_Insights-Reducing_the_Impact_of_Language_Barriers.pdf

https://actfl.org/uploads/files/general/Documents/ACTFLProgramStandards2013.pdf

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