Adult English proficiency in Latin America is weak, and it has declined in many countries since last year. Of the 14 Latin American countries included in this year’s index, all but two – Argentina and the Dominican Republic – fall in the lowest proficiency bands.
Unlike in Europe and Asia, where English is the language of regional communication, Spanish unites Latin America. This shared regional language dampens incentives to master English and, alongside underperforming public education systems, is a key factor in the region’s delayed progress towards higher English proficiency.
Although Spanish is the regional lingua franca, many Latin American countries recognize the value of an English-speaking workforce in a competitive global economy. These countries are investing in school reforms and teacher training programs aimed at raising English proficiency levels.
Europe’s English proficiency remains far higher than that of other regions, with Northern and Central Europe leading the world.
Every country in Asia, no matter how skilled, would benefit economically from higher English proficiency across a broader swath of the workforce.
The Middle East and North Africa has the lowest level of English proficiency in the world, and the overall level of proficiency is improving in only a few countries.