American Indian languages * American Indian books * What's new on our site today!

Most Common Native American Languages
(by number of speakers today)

This chart lists the thirty Native American Indian languages with the most native speakers. We have included all Amerindian languages, from North America, Central America, and South America. If you are looking only for information about the Native American languages of the United States and Canada, that list can be found here: Most common Native languages of the US and Canada.

Note that in several of these cases, a "language" may actually include several related, but not identical, languages. For example, Quechua speakers in Ecuador and Bolivia really can not understand each other (although both of them may be able to understand an intermediate form of their language.) There are also dozens of different Mayan languages, which could be listed separately (we do list them separately on our website.) However, since these languages are not recorded separately on the census records of Central and South American countries, it becomes very difficult to compare the total estimated population of speakers at a finer level than "Quechua" or "Mayan." A good source for demographic information about individual languages, sublanguages and dialects is the Ethnologue of Languages.

Most Popular Native American Languages

Language name Country/region spoken Approximate number of speakers
1. Quechua Andean region of South America 8 million
2. Mayan languages Mexico and Guatemala 6 million
3. Guarani Paraguay and surrounding area 5 million
4. Aymara Peru and Bolivia 2.5 million
5. Nahuatl Mexico 2 million
6. Mapudungun Chile 500,000
7. Mixtec Mexico 475,000
8. Zapotec Mexico 450,000
9. Otomi Mexico 285,000
10. Totonac Mexico 240,000
11. Mazatec Mexico 220,000
12. Guajiro Venezuela and Colombia 200,000
13. Miskito Nicaragua 180,000
14. Navajo Southwestern US 150,000
15. Mazahua Mexico 150,000
16. Ngäbere Panama 150,000
17. Chinantec Mexico 135,000
18. Mixe Mexico 130,000
19. Purepecha Mexico 125,000
20. Garifuna Honduras and surrounding area 120,000
21. Tlapanec Mexico 120,000
22. Tarahumara Mexico 85,000
23. Embera Colombia and Panama 80,000
24. Cree Canada 70,000
25. Inuktitut Arctic region 65,000
26. Zoque Mexico 60,000
27. Paez Colombia 60,000
28. Ashaninka Peru and Brazil 50,000
29. Ojibwe Canada and the northern US 50,000
30. Kuna Panama and Colombia 50,000

Go on to the most spoken languages of the US and Canada
Go on to the most spoken languages of Latin America
Learn more about Native American cultures

Native American genealogy * Native American art * Algonquian tribes * Tribal tattoos

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page