Spanish is spoken by almost 410 million people worldwide, a number that is growing significantly every day. About half of the population in the Western Hemisphere speaks Spanish, making it the primary language for as many people as English in this region of the world. The entire continent of South America speaks primarily Spanish (aside from Brazil), as does just about all of Central America, Mexico and Latin America – over 20 countries in total.
In the United States, Spanish is the language most widely spoken besides English – by a very wide margin. There are areas, especially in large cities such as Miami, New York and Los Angeles where there are entire communities that speak primarily Spanish and often very little English. In fact, in the U.S., more and more, opportunities are increasing for those who are fluent in both Spanish and English due to the explosion in the Spanish-speaking population. Media and advertisers can no longer ignore this huge market, and Spanish-speaking television, newspapers, and advertisements have all proven hugely successful, especially in the large cities. This trend is only continuing to gain momentum, meaning that the ability to speak Spanish and English will continue to become more valuable both personally and professionally in the coming years.
Of course you can't talk about the Spanish language without going to where it originated – Spain. In addition to being a great travel destination, Spain is an integral part of the European Community. Knowing how to speak Spanish fluently will not only allow you to easily get around in Spain (or even live there), but it will also help you to be understood by and understand speakers of other European languages such as French and Italian to a certain point. And if you decide you want to learn those languages in the future, knowing Spanish will make learning either (especially Italian) much easier and less painful than learning your first new language – that is a proven fact.