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Why the level of English in your country is so important

English skills don’t just matter because they are the career currency of the future and a ticket to a global, connected future for the individual. They also matter at the national level because they can tell us a lot about a country’s level of economic competitiveness and future prospects.

In EF Education First’s 8th English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), we compiled test data from 1.3 million adults across 88 countries and used this data to rank nations according to their English skills – from very high to very low.

The following are key findings from this year’s report:

  • Europe has the highest overall English proficiency level – although Spain, Italy, and France continue to lag behind their European neighbors
  • Latin America is the only region in the world that suffered an overall decline in English proficiency
  • Led by South Africa, African countries improved their English more than any other region
  • Women continue to have better English skills than men in almost all age groups and countries

The results also unearthed enlightening correlations between levels of English and factors like higher incomes, greater connectivity, and innovation that may be used to inform public discussions and policymaking.

Although the findings of the EF EPI may not tell the whole story, they do tell an important one: high English proficiency levels are part and parcel of a future that is prosperous, connected, and healthy, no matter where you are in the world.

For full national rankings and analysis of the relationship between your country’s English skills and its economy, level of innovation, connectivity, birth rate, and life expectancy, go to

Want to contribute to your country’s EF EPI ranking? Test your English

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