language is one of the richest in the world,
spoken by more than 500 million people. In 1999,
there were according to Ethnologue 358 million
people speaking Castilian as a native language
and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide.
Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500
million people respectively. Spanish is the
second most natively spoken language in the
world, after Mandarin Chinese.
contains the largest population of Spanish
speakers. Spanish is one of the six official
languages of the United Nations, and is used as
an official language by the European Union and
Mercosur. Due to its increasing presence in the
demographics and popular culture of the United
States, particularly in the fast-growing states
of the Sun Belt, Spanish is widely considered to
be the most beneficial second language for a
native speaker of American English.
increasing political stability and economies of
many larger Hispanophone nations, the language's
immense geographic extent in Latin America and
Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity
of warmer, more affordable, and culturally
vibrant retirement destinations found in the
Hispanic world have contributed significantly to
the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign
language across the globe.