Sweden Returns to Top Spot in World Ranking of English Proficiency Reveals EF's Annual Proficiency Index

ZURICH, October 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

EF's survey of 1.3 million adults highlights global trends in English proficiency  

EF Education First [http://www.ef.com ] released its annual global ranking of English proficiency today, drawing on data from 1.3 million non-native English speakers in 88 countries and regions. For the fourth time in eight years, Sweden tops the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI [http://www.ef.com/epi ]), bumping last year's top-scorer, the Netherlands, to second place.

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"Our EF EPI research shows that countries and individuals continue to invest in English education, recognizing the importance of the language as a lever for competitiveness," said Dr. Minh N. Tran, EF's Senior Director of Research. "Since EF started publishing this ranking, it has become the de facto reference point for governments, companies, and educators when they discuss English skills."

Key findings of this year's EF EPI include:


- Europe remains the global leader in English proficiency. Eight of the top 10 spots
in the ranking are held by European countries.
- Africa shows stronger gains in English proficiency than any other region, with Algeria,
Egypt, and South Africa improving by two or more points.
- For the first time ever, an Asian nation enters the top three slots, with Singapore
ranking third. However, Asia continues to possess a large regional divide between the
highest and lowest proficiency countries.
- Latin America is the only region to show a slight overall decline in English
proficiency. Scores in the region remain more uniform than anywhere else, with only a
small gap between the lowest and highest proficiency countries.
- Women continue to outpace men in English skills worldwide, and this gender gap has
been widening since 2016.
- New correlations indicate that societies with higher English proficiency are more
egalitarian. Among other metrics, these countries enroll more girls in preschool and
report a greater proportion of women with bank accounts.


The EF EPI is based on test scores from the EF Standard English Test (EF SET), [http://www.efset.org ] the world's first free standardized English test. Thousands of schools, companies, and governments worldwide use the EF SET for large-scale testing.

The EF EPI 2018 report and regional fact sheets are available for download at http://www.ef.com/epi. The EF EPI 2018 ranking is below.

About EF Education First 

EF Education First is a global education company focusing on language, academic, cultural exchange, and educational travel programs. With a mission to open the world through education, EF was founded in 1965 and has 580 schools and offices in more than 50 countries.

EF English Proficiency Index 2018 Ranking of Countries and Regions: 


EF EPI Proficiency
Rank Country or Region Band
1 Sweden Very High
2 Netherlands Very High
3 Singapore Very High
4 Norway Very High
5 Denmark Very High
6 South Africa Very High
7 Luxembourg Very High
8 Finland Very High
9 Slovenia Very High
10 Germany Very High
11 Belgium Very High
12 Austria Very High
13 Poland High
14 Philippines High
15 Switzerland High
16 Romania High
17 Croatia High
18 Serbia High
19 Portugal High
20 Czech Republic High
21 Hungary High
22 Malaysia High
23 Greece High
24 Slovakia High
25 Bulgaria High
26 Lithuania High
27 Argentina High
28 India Moderate
29 Nigeria Moderate
30 Hong Kong SAR Moderate
31 South Korea Moderate
32 Spain Moderate
33 Lebanon Moderate
34 Italy Moderate
35 France Moderate
36 Costa Rica Moderate
37 Dominican Republic Moderate
38 Belarus Moderate
39 Senegal Moderate
40 Uruguay Moderate
41 Vietnam Moderate
42 Russia Moderate
43 Ukraine Moderate
44 Macau SAR Moderate
45 Georgia Low
46 Chile Low
47 China Low
48 Taiwan Low
49 Japan Low
50 Pakistan Low
51 Indonesia Low
52 Albania Low
53 Brazil Low
54 Ethiopia Low
55 Guatemala Low
56 Panama Low
57 Mexico Low
58 Sri Lanka Low
59 Peru Low
60 Colombia Low
61 Bolivia Low
62 Egypt Low
63 Bangladesh Low
64 Thailand Low
65 Ecuador Low
66 Iran Very Low
67 Morocco Very Low
68 Tunisia Very Low
69 Honduras Very Low
70 El Salvador Very Low
71 United Arab Emirates Very Low
72 Nicaragua Very Low
73 Turkey Very Low
74 Jordan Very Low
75 Venezuela Very Low
76 Syria Very Low
77 Azerbaijan Very Low
78 Kuwait Very Low
79 Oman Very Low
80 Kazakhstan Very Low
81 Algeria Very Low
82 Myanmar Very Low
83 Saudi Arabia Very Low
84 Afghanistan Very Low
85 Cambodia Very Low
86 Uzbekistan Very Low
87 Iraq Very Low
88 Libya Very Low




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CONTACT: Adam Bickelman, +1 617-510-1240, Adam.Bickelman@EF.com

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