A study conducted by language school empire English First in their latest English Proficiency Index found that the Spanish rank number 33 out of 111 countries, but are way behind other nations in Europe, as they came in at number 25 out of 35.
In fact, Spaniards have the second lowest level of English in the whole of the EU, with only the French ranked worse.
This is in stark contrast to other EU countries such as the Netherlands (number 1 in the world), Austria (3rd), Belgium (4th) and Nordic countries Norway (4th), Denmark (5th) and Sweden (7th).
Spain even fell behind other southern European countries – Portugal came at number 9, Greece at number 14 and Italy at number 32.
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In terms of how the Iberian nation’s level compares on the global scale, Spain maintains a medium level of English proficiency, in the same range as Ukraine, South Korea and Costa Rica.
People with this mid-level English are able to carry out simple tasks in English such as understanding song lyrics and writing professional e-mails about subjects they’re familiar with, but may have problems with more complex conversations and understanding films that haven’t been dubbed.
“Despite making a little progress, the English level of Spaniards remains at the moderate levels where it has stayed for many years, without showing great improvements,” said the director General of EF Spain, Xavier Martí.
“The data confirms that the educational model presents deficiencies in language learning”.
Which regions in Spain have the best and worst levels of English?
The study revealed that Galicians have the best level of English among Spaniards, followed by Catalans, Basques and then those from Cantabria, which all had above-average levels of English compared with the rest of the country.
On the other end of the scale, those from Extremadura had the worst level of English. Only slightly better were people from La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, who all had levels below the national average.
When it comes to cities, people in the Galician city of Vigo had the best level of English, followed by regional neighbour A Coruña, Barcelona and then Bilbao. Madrid is in fifth place.
In terms of the cities with the worst levels of English, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria took top spot, only slightly above the cities of Murcia, Valladolid and the other Canary capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.