Germany drops out of global top 10 for English language skills

Germany drops out of global top 10 for English language skills

This year’s EF English Proficiency Index has named Germany as the 11th best non-native English speaking country in the world, meaning the federal republic has dropped outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2015. 

The EF English Proficiency Index

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) analyses the proficiency of approximately 2 million youth and adult speakers of English as a second language from a total of 112 countries. The ranking also sorts the countries into their level of proficiency, ranking the countries as having either “very good knowledge”, “good knowledge”, “average knowledge”, “little knowledge” or “very little knowledge”. 

The number one country for English proficiency in 2021 has been named as the Netherlands, for the third year in a row, and the fifth time overall. The majority of the top 10 countries to make the list for 2021 are in Europe, with the exception of Singapore, coming in at fourth place. 

The success of the top countries has been put down to many factors, including the introduction of English language courses for young children in schools, and foregoing the dubbing of English-language films. 

Germany falls out of the top 10

While English proficiency is improving across much of Europe, Germany has struggled to continue making progress at the same rate as some of its neighbours in 2021, dropping from eighth place in 2020. Munich is the best German city for English proficiency this year, taking over from the German capital Berlin, which has dropped to fifth place in the country. The country still has the label of having “very good knowledge” of the English language.

2021 also saw men’s English skills surpass those of women's. In Germany, the trend has also been witnessed this year, with men in the country scoring 624 points in the EF EPI, while women lie just behind with 604 points. 

Top 10 countries by English proficiency 

Here is the EF EPI’s top 10 countries, and their scores for English proficiency in 2021:

  • 1. Netherlands
  • 2. Austria
  • 3. Denmark
  • 4. Singapore
  • 5. Norway
  • 6. Belgium
  • 7. Portugal
  • 8. Sweden
  • 9. Finland
  • 10. Croatia

For full rankings and more information about the EF English Proficiency Index, please visit the EF website.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

Read more



Leave a comment