According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands this week, most people on Bonaire speak Papiamento. On St Eustatius and Saba most people have English as first language. Only a small number of people have Dutch as a first language.
On Bonaire Papiamento is the most-spoken language: two-thirds of the population indicate that it is their first language. On St Eustatius and Saba the first language is English for 85 and 93 percent of the populations respectively.
Dutch is the first language of 15 percent of the population on Bonaire and 6 percent of the inhabitants of St Eustatius. Hardly anyone on Saba speaks it as first language.
First languages on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, 2013
Many inhabitants on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba speak more than one language. Multilingualism is most common on Bonaire, where 90 percent of the population speak more than one language. On St Eustatius this was true for 68 percent of the population, and on Saba for 57 percent.
On all three islands multilingualism increases with the level of education: the higher the level of education, the more likely a person is to speak more than one language. It decreases with age, however: relatively more young people speak more than one language, and people aged 65 and older mostly speak one language only.
Multilingualism by age and education level