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The United States has more Spanish speakers than Spain or Colombia, report says

By 2050, the United States will have highest Spanish-speaking population in the world, the report predicts

CNN  — 

The United States is now the second largest Spanish-speaking country, second only to Mexico, according to a new report by the Spain-based nonprofit Instituto Cervantes.

Surpassing major Spanish-speaking nations such as Spain and Colombia, the United States is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers, with an additional 11.6 million who are bilingual, according to data collected from the U.S. census and other government sources.

Spain has a population of 47.7 million. Colombia has a population of 46.2 million. The United States has a population of 318.9 million.

By 2050, the United States will have the highest Spanish-speaking population in the world at 132.8 million, according to the report, citing figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The new report also found that Spanish is the third most used language on the Internet – following Chinese and English – and second after English on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The data is not surprising, given that 2014 saw a 2.2% increase in the Hispanic population in the United States, accounting for 17.4% of the total population, even as that growth has slowed, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

While the nation’s Hispanic population grew an average of 4.8% from 1995 to 2000, it has dropped an average of 2.2% annually from 2010 to 2014, according to the Pew report.

The decline is attributable in part to the slowdown in immigration from Latin America, particularly Mexico, the Pew center found, citing census figures.

The latest figures on the nation’s Hispanic population come as the issue of immigration, particularly from Mexico, takes a more prominent role in the upcoming presidential race.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, for instance, has come under fire after remarks he made about Mexican immigrants, calling them “rapists” and “killers,” among other things.

Then, on Sunday, in an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Trump appeared to dig himself in further.

“I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border that are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The Instituto Cervantes report found that, despite declining population growth among Hispanics, the United States outnumbered Colombia, which has 48 million Spanish speakers, as well as Spain, with 46 million.

Instituto Cervantes, a nonprofit established by the Spanish government in 1991 to promote Spanish culture and language, also reported that in 2015, 6.7% of the world’s population speaks Spanish – surpassing the 2.2% who speak Russian and the 1.1% fluent in French.

The Cervantes report, titled “El español, una lengua viva,” or “Spanish, a living language,” estimates there are 559 million Spanish speakers throughout the world.