This sixth edition of the EF EPI ranks 72 countries and territories based on test data from more than 950,000 adults who took our online English tests in 2015. The first section of the report looks at the relationship between English and a range of economic and social indicators, including earning power, innovation, and connectivity. The second section examines the position of English in four different regions of the world—Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—and discusses the challenges and opportunities that countries in these regions experience as they strive to develop English-speaking workforces.
Highlights of this year’s findings include:
- English is a key component of economic competitiveness at both the individual and national levels. Higher English proficiency correlates with higher incomes, better quality of life, more dynamic business environments, greater connectivity, and more innovation.
- The range of English proficiency is broader than we have ever found. Both Asia and Europe have at least one country in each of the five proficiency bands.
- English proficiency in Europe remains the strongest in the world by a wide margin, with Northern European countries occupying the top five positions in this year’s index.
- For the first time ever, an Asian country, Singapore, is in the highest proficiency band. Malaysia and the Philippines are also in the top 15 countries worldwide.
- Though the decline is slight, Latin America is the only region with an average proficiency level that has dropped in the past year. • Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are uniformly in the lowest proficiency bands, and in most MENA countries, English proficiency is not improving.
- Women speak English better than men in almost all countries and age groups. This finding has been consistent across all editions of the EF EPI. • Young adults aged 18-25 have the strongest English proficiency worldwide, although some countries have markedly different national trends.