Worldwide, do most people use simplified or traditional Chinese writing? This can be either in the number that tend to use one over the other, or total number using each even though there will be overlaps of people who use both in different situations. If possible, does anyone have specific numbers? Are these numbers trending to exaggerate the difference or is the gap closing?

There are many resources which provide which countries/cities/areas tend to use which system. However, I'm having a surprising amount of difficult finding numbers, or even an authoritative answer on which one is more commonly used worldwide.

  • China use simplified, Taiwan and Hong Kong use traditional . The rest of the world many be half and half
    – Tang Ho
    Oct 4, 2017 at 22:36
  • 1
    Based on mainland alone, simplified wins hands down. Mainland population: 1.4 billion vs. overseas Chinese 50 million.
    – Mou某
    Oct 5, 2017 at 9:16
  • What do you mean by "worldwide"? Mainland China has the great number of population, so if you take the entire world as "worldwide" it must be true that Simplified Chinese is far more common. Or do you mean any world except the entire China (including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan)?
    – Blaszard
    Oct 6, 2017 at 8:46

2 Answers 2


China Mainland has 1.4 Billion population(and increasing), and the official language is Simplified Chinese.

According to the Washington Post, there are about 1.5 Billion Chinese native speakers, 50 Million non-native speakers. You can do the math.

Obviously, you can't find another 1.4 billion group of people use Tradition Chinese on the earth.

  • So just to clarify, nearly everyone in mainland China primarily uses simplified Chinese? I thought I had seen something stating a significant portion of schools still taught traditional Chinese. Sorry, I can't find the link and I realize I may be mis-remembering. But if a significant portion of schools still teach traditional Chinese despite the continued push for simplified Chinese, I would also expect that a significant portion of people still tend to use traditional Chinese. Does this contribute enough to make the numbers much closer? Thanks! Oct 6, 2017 at 3:04
  • Or, am I completely mis-remembering and it's there's only a very small number of people in mainland China that still use traditional Chinese? Oct 6, 2017 at 3:06
  • @ShianiaWhite I'm from mainland China and I've been there like 23 years. Tradition Chinese is not official anymore, you can learn it as a hobby. Some art still adapting tradition Chinese because that's history and art. And that's it.
    – Kevman
    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:48
  • @ShianiaWhite No school taught tradition Chinese as main course, but more like elective one. What's interesting to me it's that traditional Chinese is fairly easy to be recognized.(But it's hard to write it down, simplified Chinese is more writing-friendly than traditional Chinese no doubt).
    – Kevman
    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:51
  • @ShianiaWhite but yeah. In mainland Chinese people mainly use simplified Chinese. Just like people in American primarily use English. I thought it's common sense tho. You saw it on the news because it's rare. No new report a fairly ordinary thing.
    – Kevman
    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:57

here's a metaphor:

the wiki has a page water distribution on earth, which stated that seawater is 96.5% of all water on earth. factually, all people survive, depend on the 2.5% fresh water.

it shows that quantity means nothing, the quality is more important.

though, currently, there're more people know simplified chinese, but; all classical texts are in traditional chinese. if one cannot read traditional chinese, one cannot understand the history, culture, maybe all aspects of the writing records of the past.

traditional chinese is the key to understand the past; without it, how can one inherits "la culture chinoise"? 😼

  • So what is the remaining 1 % of water?
    – Philipp
    Oct 6, 2017 at 8:41
  • 1
    the graph of the mentioned page has it named as "other saline water 0.9%" :) Oct 6, 2017 at 9:07
  • Yeah. haha. But it also answers the original question indirectly - More people speak/use simplified Chinese now. I grew up in a mixed environment so simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese are native to me.
    – Kevman
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:12

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