Global survey of over two million adults reveals worldwide trends in English proficiency
As worldwide levels of English improve, Scandinavia no longer dominates the top positions of this global ranking.
Adults from Netherlands were ranked as the best non-native English speakers with a score of 663, followed by those from Austria (641), Denmark (636), and Singapore (635). Yemen had the lowest score, with just 360 points.
Czech Republic has placed fifth-worst in Europe. Only France, Italy, and Spain have lower levels of English than the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic fell from 19th to 27th place, in what is the steepest drop registered across Europe this year.
The EF EPI is based on test scores from the EF Standard English Test (EF SET), used worldwide by thousands of schools, companies, and governments for large-scale testing as well as millions of individual test takers.
Key findings of the EF EPI 2021 include:
- Europe’s English proficiency is consistently strong and climbing, driven in large part by improved proficiency among older adults.
- Central and East Asia are trending up while South Asia and the ASEAN countries have more mixed trajectories.
- Latin America’s upward trend continues with improvements in three-fourths of the countries surveyed.
- North Africa continues to improve and a clearer picture of the rest of the continent is emerging as more countries are added to the index.
- Adults over 30 have improved most since last year, and those over 40 scored in the Moderate proficiency band for the first time. These trends highlight adults’ ability to gain language skills throughout their careers.
- On average, most industries do not have strong enough English proficiency to work optimally (Moderate proficiency or higher). Education, government, and healthcare sectors remain at the bottom of the industry ranking.
- Men’s English proficiency has outpaced women’s for the first time, driven by a rise in men’s proficiency levels.