Unlike most languages, Esperanto isn’t spoken in a particular country. Instead, it’s spoken across the world by an estimated 1-2 million speakers.
There hasn’t been a worldwide language census, so the number of speakers in each country isn’t known. However, we do know that a significant amount of Esperanto speakers can be found in the USA, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and East Asia (particularly China and Japan).
Which Countries Have the Most Esperanto Speakers
Esperanto Associations around the world. Source.
The amount of Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) members in each country is a good, although not exact, indication of which countries have the most Esperanto speakers. The UEA has over 5500 members in over 120 countries, so keep in mind most speakers haven’t joined.
By using this method (as indicated in the image above), we can conclude that the USA, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan have the most Esperanto speakers. However, it could simply be that other countries, such as China, have a large amount of speakers but they haven’t joined the UEA.
A common place where Esperanto is the primary language is at Esperanto events which are hosted in countries all over the world. There are events of all sizes; large international ones hosted yearly and smaller local ones hosted more frequently.
World Esperanto Congress
The World Esperanto Congress is a large Esperanto event organized by the World Esperanto Association. Every year the event takes place in a different country and has been going since 1905 (except during the World Wars). The event attracts an average of 2,000 participants and at its peak about 6,000 when it was in Warsaw, Poland.
International Youth Congress of Esperanto
The International Youth Congress of Esperanto is the largest youth Esperanto congress. The event attracts an average of 300 Esperantists with a peak of just over 1,000 during a year when it was held in Krakov, Poland.
Local Esperanto Meetings
Local Esperanto events happen regularly in cities and towns throughout the world. For example, the London Esperanto Club meets-up regularly on Fridays to speak in the international language. These local meetups involve varied activities such as talking about current events, quizzes and playing board games. Did you know there is an Esperanto version of Scrabble?
Pasporta Servo hosts (2015). Source.
Pasporta Servo is a free service that allows speakers of Esperanto to stay at the home of another Esperantist who has signed-up to be a host. Think of it as being a bit like a free version of Airbnb, but exclusively for Esperanto speakers. As there is no financial reward, hosts do it to help a fellow Esperantist out of the kindness of their heart.
The service has been running since 1974 and now has over 1000 hosts in 90 countries all over the world. As the map above clearly indicates, the majority of Pasporta Servo hosts are found in Europe. This would seem to indicate that a large number of Esperanto speakers can be found in Central and Eastern Europe. Or at least, Esperantists in that part of the world are more willing to open their homes to others.
Due to Esperanto speakers being spread across the world, the internet has allowed other Esperantists to be easily found even if there aren’t any in the local area. Popular websites for Esperanto discussion include Reddit, Facebook and Lernu.