- Youth literacy rate: the share of the population aged 15 to 24 years that is literate.
- Adult literacy rate: the share of the population aged 15 years and older that is literate.
Adult literacy rates by country
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, June 2007.
Among countries with data, the highest literacy rates are observed in Eastern Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Virtually all countries in these regions have literacy rates above 80 percent. Some countries in Africa also report adult literacy rates at such a high level. In 57 countries worldwide, more than 90 percent of the adult population are literate. 31 countries have literacy rates between 80 and 90 percent.
The lowest literacy rates are observed in Africa and South Asia. In 6 countries, fewer than 3 out of 10 adults are literate: Burkina Faso (adult literacy rate 23.6 percent), Mali (24.0), Chad (24.7), Afghanistan (28.0), Niger (28.7), and Guinea (29.5). In 10 countries, the adult literacy rate is between 30 and 50 percent: Benin (34.7), Sierra Leone (34.8), Ethiopia (35.9), Mozambique (38.7), Senegal (39.3), Bangladesh (47.5), Central African Republic (48.6), Nepal (48.6), Cote d'Ivoire (48.7), and Pakistan (49.9).
In India, the second most populous country in the world, only 6 out of 10 adults are literate (literacy rate 61.0 percent). In China, the country with the largest population, many more people can read and write, with an adult literacy rate of 90.9 percent.
The complete set of literacy statistics is available at the UIS Data Centre.
- Disparity between adult and youth literacy
- Youth literacy rates
- Years of schooling and literacy: Can everyone with primary education read and write?
- Years of schooling and literacy, part 2
- UNESCO releases data from 2006 education survey
Friedrich Huebler, 8 July 2007 (edited 22 July 2007), Creative Commons License
Permanent link: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2007/07/adult-literacy-rates.html