Most common language
Who
Chinese
What
1,302,000,000 people
Where
China Mainland ()
When
2016

According to statistics compiled in 2016 by online language resource Ethnologue, the most common first language in the world is Chinese, believed to be spoken by 1.302 billion people, which is listed as an official language in 35 countries. In second place is Spanish, with 427 million speakers across 31 countries. And third is English, with 339 million speakers in 106 countries.

The study also broke down Chinese into its major varieties. By far the most common of these is Mandarin, which is spoken by 897 million people in 14 countries. Next is Wu, with 80.1 million speakers, and is only spoken in China. And third is Yue, with 63 million speakers living in 12 countries.