In Europe, German is the second most widely spoken mother tongue (after Russian) and the second biggest language in terms of overall speakers (after English). The area in central Europe where the majority of the population speaks German as a first language and has German as a (co-)official language is called the "German Sprachraum". It comprises an estimated 88 million native speakers and 10 million who speak German as a second language (e.g. immigrants). Excluding regional minority languages, German is the only official language of
- Germany (de facto, not specified in the constitution),
- Austria (de jure),
- 17 cantons of Switzerland (de jure), and
- Liechtenstein (de jure).
- Italian Autonomous Province of South Tyrol (also majority language),
- Belgium (as majority language only in the German-speaking Community),
- four cantons of Switzerland, and