List of countries where Arabic is an official language
Arabic and its different dialects are spoken by around 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world as well as in the Arab diaspora making it one of the five most spoken languages in the world. Currently, 22 countries are member states of the Arab League (as well as 5 countries were granted an observer status) which was founded in Cairo in 1945.
Arabic is the lingua franca of people who live in countries of the Arab world as well as of Arabs who live in the diaspora, particularly in Latin America (especially Brazil and Argentina) or Western Europe (like France, Spain, Germany or Italy).
Malta is the only country in the European Union where an Arabic dialect (namely Maltese Arabic) is an official language. It is also one of the official language of the EU. Besides, Cypriot Arabic is an official minority language in the EU member state Cyprus.
In the history, Andalusian Arabic was the official language in Spain and Portugal, formerly Al-Andalus for more than 700 years until the fall of the last Islamic state in Iberia at Granada in 1492. Siculo-Arabic (or Sicilian Arabic) was a spoken language on the islands of Sicily and neighbouring Malta (at that time Emirate of Sicily) between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century. Furthermore, a form of Arabic was spoken on the Mediterranean island of Crete (in those days Emirate of Crete) from the late 820s (c. 824 or 827/828) until the Byzantine reconquest in 961.
Countries with Arabic as an official language
As of 2016, there are 27 independent nations where Arabic is an official language. The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Arabic is an official or de facto official language.
|No||Country||Population||Notes||No. of Arabic Speakers||% of Arabic Speakers||Member state of
|1.||Algeria||41,701,000||Co-official language, along with Berber||40,100,000||80.00||Yes|
|3.||Chad||10,329,208||Co-official language, along with French||1,320,000||1.81||No|
|4.||Comoros||798,000||Co-official language, along with Comorian and French||Yes|
|5.||Djibouti||810,179||Co-official language, along with French||97,900||1.32||Yes|
|7.||Eritrea||6,380,803||Co-official language, along with Tigrinya and English||249,700||3.83||Observer status|
|8.||Iraq||36,004,552||Co-official language, along with Kurdish||22,908,120||85.81||Yes|
|9.||Israel||8,238,300||Co-official language, along with Hebrew||2,039,000||24.82||No|
|13.||Libya||6,244,174||Official language||4,526,000||72.09||Yes a|
|14.||Malta||445,426||Maltese Arabic, Co-official language, along with English||423,154||95.00||No|
|16.||Morocco||33,250,000||Co-official language, along with Berber||25,003,930||74.29||Yes|
|18.||Palestine||4,484,000||Official language in Palestinian territories||1,610,000||37.49||Yes|
|20.||Saudi Arabia||30,770,375||Official language||27,178,770||95.62||Yes|
|21.||Somalia||10,428,043||Co-official language, along with Somali||3,788,000||31.26||Yes|
|22.||Sudan||40,235,000||Co-official language, along with English||28,164,500||70.00||Yes|
|23.||Syria||20,956,000||Official language||17,951,639||91.71||Yes b|
|1,303,569||Co-official language, along with Kiswahili and English||No|
|26.||United Arab Emirates||9,346,129||Official language||3,607,600||39.71||Yes|
|27.||Yemen||23,833,000||Official language||14,671,000||54.68||Yes c|
|a. Libya's seat is taken by the House of Representatives (Libya) (which is disputed by the Muslim Brotherhood-led General National Congress (2014) and Government of National Accord)
b. Syria's seat currently occupied by the Syrian National Coalition, while Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic suspended on 16 November 2011
Countries with Arabic as a national language or an official minority language
As of 2016, there are 6 independent nations where Arabic is a national language or an official minority language, but not primary language. The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Arabic is a national language or an official minority language.
|No||Country||Population||National language or Minority language||Region|
Non-sovereign entities where Arabic is an official language
As of 2016, there are 9 non-sovereign entities where Arabic is an official language. The following is a list of non-sovereign entities and autonomous regions as well as territories where Arabic is an official or de facto official language.
|1.||Azawad||1,300,000||Co-official language, along with Tuareg||Africa|
|2.||Iraqi Kurdistan||5,300,000||Co-official language, along with Kurdish||Asia|
|3.||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant||4,800,000||Official language||Asia|
|4.||Khatumo||1,000,000||Co-official language, along with Somali||Africa|
|5.||Puntland||4,280,000||Co-official language, along with Somali||Africa|
|6.||Rojava||4,600,000||Co-official language, along with Kurdish and Syriac||Asia|
|7.||Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic||502,585||Co-official language, along with Spanish||Africa|
|8.||Somaliland||4,500,000||Co-official language, along with Somali||Africa|
|9.||Syrian opposition||3,500,000||Official language||Asia|
- Data taken from https://www.ethnologue.com/ Retrieved 21/03/2016
- Used data taken from https://www.ethnologue.com/ and country population to get percentage. Retrieved 21/03/2016
- "Syrian president slams Arab League for granting seat to opposition". Xinhua News Agency. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "Regime backers express anger at other nations after Arab League suspends Syria". cnn.com. CNN. 2011-11-13. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "Presentation of the Arab League". Arableagueonline.org. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Arab Immigrants in Latin American Politics
- Descendants of Arabs thriving in S. America
- "Arab roots grow deep in Brazil's rich melting pot", The Washington Times.