We estimate that there are approximately 488 million native Spanish speakers (i.e. people who speak Spanish as their first language, or L1) worldwide in 2023. Here's how we came up with this number:
Our estimate differs slightly from other popular ones. Ethnologue's 2019 Languages of the World report , which estimated a total of 460 million first-language Spanish speakers worldwide, is outdated. Instituto Cervantes' 2022 report , which estimated a total of 496 million first-language Spanish speakers worldwide and also uses Moreno-Fernandez et al.'s estimates of the percentage of native speakers in each Hispanophone country, states that the population data for each Hispanophone country has been 'extracted from the statistical information available in each country', without elaborating. For these reasons, we believe our estimate is more accurate.
Here is the data.