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I know that we have had questions about numbers of Esperanto speakers in general, as well as if native speakers exist. Since we know that native speakers exist, and I've even found some recent scientific literature, I was wondering if the community could provide recent numbers specifically for native speakers. Here are two sources I found:

Corsetti, Pinto, & Tolomeo (2004) "Regularizing the regular: The phenomenon of overregularization in Esperanto-speaking children", Language Problems and Language Planning, 28:261–282 Jouko Lindstedt (January 2006). "Native Esperanto as a Test Case for Natural Language" (PDF). University of Helsinki – Department of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Literatures.

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As someone who has actively used Esperanto for 18 years and has regularly attended Esperanto meetings targeted at Esperanto families for eight years, I know about 100 native speakers personally. I am very confident that there are at the very least three times as many native speakers in the world (i.e. at the very least 300), but probably more like 10 to 20 times as many (i.e. between 1000 and 2000). Given that the phenomenon of native speakers is much less common outside Europe than in Europe and given that I know Europe's Esperantujo quite well, I doubt that there are significantly more than 2000 native Esperanto speakers in the world.

One needs to be careful about the difference in meaning between "native speaker of Esperanto" and "child that speaks Esperanto natively", as many native-speakers of Esperanto are already adults. My above numbers are about the total number of native speakers. The number from Corsetti, Pinto, & Tolomeo' paper that Wikipedia cites (2000 children speaking Esperanto natively in 2004) seems to me too high to be credible and is probably based on wishful thinking or the desire to impress the outside world rather than on sound evidence.

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  • That sounds like very sensible reasoning to me. – Charlotte SL Feb 24 '19 at 21:14
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I guess nobody will be able to give certain numbers about this, as Esperanto speakers (and their children, some of whom might grow up as native Esperanto speakers) are distributed all over the world and don't have to register as Esperanto speakers at any central authority. While there might be censuses in some countries, not all of them will ask about spoken languages, and especially not about languages that aren't expected to be spoken by a significant portion of the respective country's inhabitants, and by most of those only as a second language, as is probably the case with Esperanto in almost all countries.

So best we can offer is probably estimates of the order of magnitude.

According to the English Wikipedia (permadeeplink), there are estimates of "1000 to several thousand" as of 2016. (The Esperanta Vikipedio article on Esperanto states it similarly, based on the same two sources.)

The Wikipedia articles on native Esperanto speakers may have more sources, and the English one (permadeeplink) mentions that "[e]stimates from associations indicate that there were around 1,000 Esperanto-speaking families, involving perhaps 2,000 children in 2004".

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