Read Most Spoken Languages (most-spoken-languages.sanstream.nl | SanStream Studio)
When we are young we first learn the language from the people around us. This helps us to communicate, share ideas and learn from them. Most of the time just this is just one, but it can be more than one. The last decades the network of people that human being know (due to globalisation) has shifted from knowing just the people in your local area to people all across the world. In order to effectively communicate with other people from across the world it is useful to speak a shared language.

Finding data 

You’re right about data here. I follow some research out of the MIT Media lab by Cesar Hidalgo who may have some interesting data resources if you poke around.

Some additional starting points:

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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