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List of countries and territories where French is an official language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Regions where French is a majority native language
  Regions where French is an official or administrative language but not a majority native language
  Regions where French is an unofficial secondary language

French is an official language in 32 independent nations which is the second most geographically widespread official language in the world after English. French is also the second most geographically widespread language in the world after English, with about 60 countries and territories having it as a de jure or de facto official, administrative, or cultural language.[1] The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where French is an official or de facto language.

Sole official language




List of countries where French is the only official language:

Non-sovereign entities


Co-official use


Sovereign states


In many countries, French is used as a co-official language alongside one or more other languages. List of countries where French is a co-official language:

Countries in the world with French as an official language.

National subdivisions


Officially recognized status


Although a non-official minority language, French is granted certain rights in the following countries and territories:

Intergovernmental organizations

The Francophonie flag flying at the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa

French is an official language, mostly in conjunction with English, of 36 international organisations. These include:



This table shows the total populations of the countries, not the number of French speakers – most of these countries have a majority that do not speak French.

No. Country Continent Population[6]
1. Democratic Republic of Congo Africa 105,044,646
2. France Europe 68,051,000
3. Canada North America 38,653,740
4. Madagascar Africa 24,235,400
5. Cameroon Africa 23,345,200
6. Côte d'Ivoire Africa 22,701,600
7. Niger Africa 19,899,100
8. Senegal Africa 15,129,300
9. Chad Africa 14,037,500
10. Guinea Africa 12,608,600
11. Rwanda Africa 11,607,700
12. Belgium Europe 11,358,357
13. Burundi Africa 11,178,900
14. Benin Africa 10,879,800
15. Haiti Caribbean 10,711,100
16. Switzerland Europe 8,510,000
17. Togo Africa 7,304,600
18. Central African Republic Africa 4,900,300
19. Congo Africa 4,620,300
20. Gabon Africa 1,725,300
21. Equatorial Guinea Africa 1,221,490
22. Djibouti Africa 887,861
23. Comoros Africa 795,601
24. Luxembourg Europe 602,900
25. Vanuatu Oceania 264,652
26. Seychelles Africa 92,900
27. Monaco Europe 38,731
Total All countries World c. 430,406,578

Dependent entities

Nr. Entity Continent Population Status
1. French Polynesia Oceania 284,060 Overseas collectivity of France
2. New Caledonia Oceania 267,000 Collectivity of France with special status
3. Aosta Valley Europe 128,000 Autonomous region of Italy
4. Saint Martin North America 37,264 Overseas collectivity of France
5. Wallis and Futuna Oceania 15,289 Overseas collectivity of France
6. Saint Barthélemy North America 9,131 Overseas collectivity of France
7. Saint Pierre and Miquelon North America 5,888 Overseas collectivity of France
8. French Southern and Antarctic Lands Africa, Antarctica 100 Overseas collectivity of France
9. Clipperton Island North America 0 Overseas collectivity of France

Note: Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Mayotte are classified as overseas departments and regions of France and are thus not a part of this list. While not de jure official, the U.S. states of Louisiana and Maine recognize the usage of French in law, governance, and commerce and allow state services and publicly funded education in the language, rendering it de facto official alongside English.[7][5]

Non-official but significant language


While French is not an official language in these countries, it is widely used in administration and many professional sectors, as well as being highly influential as a cultural language in the local society and has certain privileges in the education system.

Country Continent Population (2023)[8] Usage of French
Algeria Africa 44,758,398 Administrative, commercial, cultural, educational, de facto official language[9]
Burkina Faso Africa 22,489,126 Administrative, educational[10][11]
Cambodia Asia 16,891,245 Administrative (particularly judicial and diplomacy), cultural, some educational[12][13]
Laos Asia 7,852,377 Administrative, commercial, cultural, educational[14][15]
Lebanon Asia 5,331,203 De jure second language[2]
Mali Africa 21,359,722 Administrative (de facto official), educational[16][17]
Mauritania Africa 4,244,878 De facto second official language, educational[18]
Mauritius Africa 1,309,448 Administrative (de facto official), cultural, educational[3]
Morocco Africa 37,067,420 Administrative, commercial, cultural, educational, de facto official language[19][20]
Tunisia Africa 11,976,182 Administrative, commercial, cultural, educational, de facto official language[21]
Vietnam Asia 99,460,000 Administrative (diplomatic), cultural, some educational, working language in medicine, science, and law[22][23]

See also



  1. ^ "The world's languages, in 7 maps and charts". The Washington Post. 18 April 2022. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b Axel Tschentscher, LL.M. "Article 11 of the Lebanese Constitution". Servat.unibe.ch. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b Article 49 in the Constitution of Mauritius. ilo.org
  4. ^ French's Legal Status In Louisiana, Conseil pour le développement du Français en Louisiane (CODOFIL)
  5. ^ a b "Ici on parle français", Report of the Commission to Study the Development of Maine's Franco-American Resources, Maine State Legislature Law and Legislative Reference Library, December 1997
  6. ^ "Google Public Data Explorer". World Bank. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ Ward, Roger K. The French Language in Louisiana Law and Legal Education: A Requiem, Louisiana Law Review, 1997
  8. ^ World Population 2023, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency
  9. ^ "Le dénombrement des francophones" (PDF). Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2013. () p. 9 "Nous y agrégeons néanmoins quelques données disponibles pour des pays n'appartenant pas à l'OIF mais dont nous savons, comme pour l'Algérie (11,2 millions en 20081
  10. ^ "Burkina Faso - Ibrahim Traoré promulgue la loi révisant la Constitution". LibreExpress. 27 January 2024.
  11. ^ "DÉCRET N° 2024-0040/PRES-TRANS promulguant la loi constitutionnelle n° 045-2023/ALT du 30 décembre 2023 portant révision de la Constitution" (PDF). minute.bf. 22 January 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  12. ^ Aménagement linguistique dans le monde - Cambodge, Université Laval (in French)
  13. ^ Richardson, Michael (16 October 1993). "French Declines in Indochina, as English Booms". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  14. ^ Aménagement linguistique dans le monde - Laos, Université Laval (in French)
  15. ^ Richardson, Michael (16 October 1993). "French Declines in Indochina, as English Booms". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  16. ^ Mali's new constitution adopted after court validation, Radio France Internationale, 22 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Journal Officiel de la République du Mali Secretariat du Général du Governement - Decret DECRET N°2023-0401/PT-RM du 22 Juillet 2023 pourtant promulgation de la Constitution" (PDF). sgg-mali.ml. 22 July 2023. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Mauritania". Ethnologue.
  19. ^ "Morocco". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 14 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Présentation du Maroc". Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères (in French).
  21. ^ Samy Ghorbal, «Le français a-t-il encore un avenir ? », Jeune Afrique, 27 April 2008, pp. 77-78
  22. ^ Duc Tri-Quê Anh. Promouvoir l’enseignement du français au Vietnam, Le Courrier du Vietnam, 7 March 2022. (in French)
  23. ^ Kirkpatrick, Andy and Anthony J. Liddicoat, The Routledge International Handbook of Language Education Policy in Asia., Routledge, 2019, p. 192