Sweden, which finished fourth last year, moved up to first place in the study, carried out by education company Education First.
“We are extremely proud that Swedes are the best in the world at English,” said Mats Ulenius, the head of Sweden’s branch of Education first.
“One of the factors of our success is that we begin with English education already in lower school. Another is that we are exposed to a lot of English as we travel a lot, our TV programmes aren’t dubbed and we use the internet a lot.”
Scandinavian companies performed well in the study, with Denmark in second place, Finland in fourth and Norway in fifth. The leading country from 2011’s study, the Netherlands, finished third this year.
“For an export-driven country like Sweden, good English is extremely important. The report has also shown that English is a key factor for economic welfare. A better handle on English goes hand in hand with higher income, more export, a good innovation climate, and better business,” Ulenius said.
Furthermore, the study revealed that women spoke better English than men due to more women studying humanities and attending university in general. The best age range for English proficiency was 26-35 years old.
The language test was made up of 100 online questions about grammar, reading and hearing comprehension, as well as vocabulary.
Education First is a language company that was founded in Lund, southern Sweden, in 1965 in the hope of bridging language, cultural and geographical barriers.