Login / Register (0)

Spread of the Italian Language

Map No.


Italian is spoken by roughly 62 million people in at least 30 territories. Due to a harsh economic climate, many Italians migrated to the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, resulting in large Italian-speaking populations in the United States, Canada, and much of South America, notably Argentina and Brazil.

Within Italy, a large number of dialects continue to thrive. Friulian and Sardinian are generally recognised as distinct languages, with large numbers of speakers .


Purchase map use license. Includes high-resolution map.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

Territory size shows the proportion of all people who speak Italian as a first language that live in that territory. This map removes the countries where Italian is dominant. This map therefore only shows 11.7% of all speakers of Italian. The territories omitted are Italy, Holy See and San Marino.

The maps in the 2005 language data series are made from data on the number of people speaking a language as their first-language, that is the language they would use at home.

Data sources
This map uses data several sources, the main one being Ethnologue (15th Edition, 2005). Estimating the number of speakers of a language is fraught with difficulty on several levels (last accessed January 2009). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. The language numbers we use and publish are rough estimates, and should not be taken as definitive. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

All modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets. Data for this map will soon be available as a download.

Download data file

Explore More

Back to top

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Your email will only be used for the newsletter and not be passed on to any third parties. Read our privacy statement for more info.