What is the number of people who speak Korean?

The Korean language is spoken by millions worldwide, making it an important global language.

What is the number of people who speak Korean?
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Published on
Oct 12, 2023
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The Korean language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with a growing number of people speaking Korean every day. It is the official language of both North and South Korea, and it is also spoken by millions of people around the world.

As the Korean culture continues to expand, so does the number of people who speak Korean as their first or second language. With its intricate writing system and rich cultural history, the Korean language has become a valuable asset in today's global society.

Key Takeaways:

  • Korean is a widely spoken language with a growing number of people speaking it.
  • The Korean language is the official language of both North and South Korea.
  • The Korean language has become a valuable asset in today's global society.
  • Learning Korean can provide various benefits, including business opportunities and cultural exchange.
  • The number of Korean language speakers around the world is steadily increasing.

Korean Language Speakers Around the World

Korean language speakers can be found all over the world, not just in Korea. In fact, the number of bilingual speakers of Korean is growing rapidly. As of 2021, there are approximately 77 million Korean language speakers worldwide, including both native Korean speakers and those who have learned it as a second language.

In terms of native Korean speakers, the majority can be found in South Korea, where approximately 50 million people speak the language. However, there are also approximately 2 million Koreans living in China who speak Korean as their mother tongue. North Korea is estimated to have around 25 million native Korean speakers, but due to the country's isolation, it's difficult to know the exact numbers.

Outside of Korea, there are sizable communities of Korean language speakers in the United States, Canada, Japan, and China. South Korea is also becoming a more popular destination for foreigners to learn Korean, with over 25,000 international students enrolled in Korean language programs in 2020.

As for the proficiency levels of Korean language speakers, it varies greatly. While some may be fully fluent in the language, others may only be conversational in it. According to the Korean government's proficiency exam, only 2.4% of test takers achieved the highest level of proficiency, indicating that there is still much room for improvement for learners of the language.

Korean-Speaking Community

Korean language is spoken by a diverse range of people across the world. The Korean-speaking community is significant both in size and cultural contribution. According to recent estimates, there are more than 78 million Korean language speakers worldwide. The majority of these speakers can be found in South Korea, where Korean is the official language.

The Korean-speaking community is not limited to native speakers only. In recent years, there has been a notable growth in the number of bilingual speakers of Korean. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including increased immigration and the popularity of Korean pop culture. As a result, the Korean language is becoming more widely spoken and understood.

Conversational Korean speakers also play a vital role in the Korean-speaking community. These are individuals who have learned the language to a conversational level, but may not be fluent or have a native level of proficiency. Conversational Korean speakers contribute to the language community by fostering cross-cultural communication and promoting the Korean language as a means of cultural exchange.

The Korean-speaking community is diverse and includes people from various backgrounds and professions. Many Korean language learners are interested in the language for cultural or personal reasons, while others may have business or academic interests. Whatever the motivation, the Korean-speaking community is welcoming, and there are various resources available for learning and improving one's Korean language skills.

Significance of the Korean Language

Being fluent in Korean can provide numerous advantages, both professionally and personally. As the world becomes more connected, having Korean language skills can be a valuable asset in fields such as international business, diplomacy, and tourism. Additionally, learning Korean can help foster cultural exchange and understanding between Korea and other countries.

Proficiency in the Korean language can also lead to various job opportunities in areas such as translation, interpretation, and academia. Having the ability to communicate effectively with Korean-speaking clients or colleagues can make a significant difference in forming successful business relationships or collaborations.

Furthermore, learning Korean can be personally rewarding and enriching. It allows for a deeper appreciation of Korean culture, history, and art. People who are fluent in Korean can also engage in meaningful conversations with Korean speakers, making new connections and friendships across cultures.

Overall, the significance of the Korean language cannot be understated. By acquiring Korean language skills, individuals can enhance their professional prospects and personal connections, while also contributing to global communication and understanding.

Korean Language Experts and Education

The role of Korean language experts in today's global society cannot be overstated. These experts possess an in-depth knowledge of the Korean language and culture, which makes them essential in various fields such as academia, translation, and interpretation.

Proficiency in the Korean language is crucial for those who wish to become Korean language experts. Gaining expertise in the language involves a deep understanding of its grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and nuances. Many institutions worldwide offer courses in Korean language proficiency, allowing students to gain mastery over the language.

Having a Korean language expert on a team can prove invaluable, especially in cross-cultural communication and business dealings. With the rise in popularity and influence of the Korean language, the demand for Korean language experts is on the rise.

Moreover, Korean language education is becoming more accessible globally, with many universities offering Korean language programs. In addition, some countries host cultural centers that provide Korean language courses, further facilitating language education outside of academic institutions.

Korean Language Popularity and Influence

In recent years, the Korean language has gained popularity and influence due to a variety of factors. One significant contributor has been the rise of K-pop and Korean dramas, which have attracted a global audience and sparked interest in learning the language. This has led to an increase in the number of Korean language speakers, both fluent and conversational.

As more people become interested in Korean culture and entertainment, the Korean language has also gained influence in international business and politics. Being proficient in Korean can open up new opportunities for travel, work, and cultural exchange.

The growth of the Korean language community and its global reach demonstrate the importance of language in fostering understanding and building connections between cultures. Conversational Korean speakers add to the diversity and richness of the language community and play a vital role in promoting cultural understanding and exchange.


In conclusion, the prevalence of people speaking Korean worldwide highlights the significance of the language in global communication. The Korean-speaking community is diverse, with varying levels of proficiency and contributions to the language community. The importance of acquiring Korean language skills cannot be overstated, given the advantages it offers in various fields, such as business and cultural exchange.

Korean language experts play a crucial role in academia, translation, and interpretation fields. The availability of Korean language education worldwide also contributes to the growing popularity and influence of the language. The rise of K-pop and Korean dramas in recent years has led to increased interest in learning the language, further emphasizing the importance of people speaking Korean.

Emphasizing Cultural Exchange

Overall, the Korean language serves as a gateway to understanding and appreciating Korean culture. The ability to communicate with native Korean speakers and understand the nuances of the language is invaluable in fostering cultural exchange and understanding. As such, we should continue to encourage and support people speaking Korean, as they play an essential role in bridging the gap between cultures and promoting global harmony.