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Illiteracy Statistics


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U.S. Illiteracy StatisticsData
Percent of U.S. adults who can’t read (below a basic level)14 %
Number of U.S. adults who can’t read32,000,000
Percent of prison inmates who can’t read70 %
Percent of high school graduates who can’t read19 %
Reading Level of U.S. AdultsPercent
Proficient13 %
Intermediate44 %
Basic29 %
Below Basic14 %
Demographics of Adults Who Read Below a Basic LevelPercent of Population
Hispanic41 %
Black24 %
White9 %
Other13 %
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Global Illiteracy StatisticsData
Number of people worldwide who can't read775,000,000
Percent of the worlds illiterate who are female66 %
Countries With the Highest Illiteracy RatesIlliteracy Rate
South Sudan73 %
Mali72.3 %
Afghanistan71.9 %
Niger71.3 %
Burkina Faso71.3 %
Sierra Leone64.9 %
Chad64.6 %
Ethiopia61 %
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Statistic Sources & References
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy
Content Author: Statistic Brain

Date research was conducted: July 22, 2017

Illiteracy Statistics

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