Literacy Rate By Country 2019

If you live in a developed country, you probably started school at a very young age, where you learned to read and write. Unfortunately, not all nations have this luxury. In some countries, the literacy rate – that is, the number of people that are at least 15 years old that can read and write – is very low.

As a whole, the global literacy rate is quite high. The literacy rate for all males and females that are at least 15 years old is 86.3%. Males aged 15 and over have a literacy rate of 90%, while females lag behind at just 82.7%. Developed nations as a whole have a literacy rate of 99.2%.

Most of the illiterate adults live in South Asia, West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Of all of the illiterate adults in the world, nearly two-thirds are female. In total, there are about 781 adults worldwide that can’t read or write.

One of the lowest literacy rates in the world is found in Niger, where just over 19% of adults can read and write. More than one-quarter of the males in this nation are literate, while just 11% of females are literate.

South Sudan is another nation with a very low literacy rate of just 26.8%. Nearly 35% of the male residents are literate, while just 19.2% of the nation’s female residents can read and write.

Guinea also has a low literacy rate of just 30.4%. Again, the gender discrepancy is observed, as over 38% of males are literate while less than 23% of females are literate.

Other nations with low literacy rates include:

The developed nations of the world have much higher literacy rates with smaller gaps – if any – between the genders. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the highest rate of literacy has been reported as 100%. There are several other nations that don’t fall far behind. Latvia is the second most literate nation with a literacy rate of 99.9%. Estonia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Poland, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Georgia have literacy rates of 99.8%. Other nations with literacy rates of 99% or higher include:

Country Literacy Rate Population 2019
North Korea100.00%25,666,161
Latvia99.90%1,906,743
Ukraine99.80%43,993,638
Tajikistan99.80%9,321,018
Poland99.80%37,887,768
Lithuania99.80%2,759,627
Kazakhstan99.80%18,551,427
Azerbaijan99.80%10,047,718
Georgia99.80%3,996,765
Estonia99.80%1,325,648
Cuba99.80%11,333,483
Turkmenistan99.70%5,942,089
Slovenia99.70%2,078,654
Russia99.70%145,872,256
Armenia99.70%2,957,731
Belarus99.70%9,452,411
Uzbekistan99.60%32,981,716
Palau99.50%18,008
Kyrgyzstan99.50%6,415,850
Tonga99.40%104,494
Moldova99.40%4,043,263
Maldives99.30%530,953
Croatia99.30%4,130,304
Italy99.20%60,550,075
Hungary99.10%9,684,679
Cyprus99.10%1,198,575
Samoa99.00%197,097
Trinidad And Tobago99.00%1,394,973
Antigua And Barbuda99.00%97,118
Czech Republic99.00%10,689,209
Cayman Islands98.90%64,948
Romania98.80%19,364,557
Montenegro98.70%627,987
Uruguay98.50%3,461,734
Bosnia And Herzegovina98.50%3,301,000
Taiwan98.50%23,773,876
Mongolia98.40%3,225,167
Bulgaria98.40%7,000,119
Spain98.10%46,736,776
Serbia98.10%8,772,235
Argentina98.10%44,780,677
Israel97.80%8,519,377
Costa Rica97.80%5,047,561
Greece97.70%10,473,455
Albania97.60%2,880,917
Aruba97.50%106,314
Chile97.50%18,952,038
Qatar97.30%2,832,067
New Caledonia96.90%282,750
Singapore96.80%5,804,337
Thailand96.70%69,625,582
Palestine96.50%4,981,420
China96.40%1,433,783,686
Venezuela96.30%28,515,829
Philippines96.30%108,116,615
Kuwait96.30%4,207,083
Macau96.20%640,445
Brunei96.00%433,285
Bolivia95.70%11,513,100
Portugal95.70%10,226,187
Bahrain95.70%1,641,172
Suriname95.60%581,372
Jordan95.40%10,101,694
Equatorial Guinea95.30%1,355,986
Mexico95.10%127,575,529
Turkey95.00%83,429,615
Panama95.00%4,246,439
Saudi Arabia94.70%34,268,528
Colombia94.70%50,339,443
Malaysia94.60%31,949,777
Vietnam94.50%96,462,106
Peru94.50%32,510,453
Ecuador94.50%17,373,662
Malta94.40%440,372
South Africa94.30%58,558,270
Paraguay93.90%7,044,636
Lebanon93.90%6,855,713
Indonesia93.90%270,625,568
United Arab Emirates93.80%9,770,529
Puerto Rico93.30%2,933,408
Myanmar93.10%54,045,420
Brazil92.60%211,049,527
Sri Lanka92.60%21,323,733
Seychelles91.80%97,739
Dominican Republic91.80%10,738,958
Oman91.10%4,974,986
Libya91.00%6,777,452
Mauritius90.60%1,269,668
Jamaica88.70%2,948,279
Botswana88.50%2,303,697
Honduras88.50%9,746,117
Guyana88.50%782,766
El Salvador88.00%6,453,553
Cape Verde87.60%549,935
Iran86.80%82,913,906
Zimbabwe86.50%14,645,468
Syria86.40%17,070,135
Burundi85.60%11,530,580
Vanuatu85.20%299,882
Solomon Islands84.10%669,823
Gabon83.20%2,172,579
Nicaragua82.80%6,545,502
Namibia81.90%2,494,530
Tunisia81.80%11,694,719
Guatemala81.50%17,581,472
Algeria80.20%43,053,054
Laos79.90%7,169,455
Iraq79.70%39,309,783
Lesotho79.40%2,125,268
Republic Of The Congo79.30%5,380,508
Uganda78.40%44,269,594
Kenya78.00%52,573,973
Comoros77.80%850,886
Cambodia77.20%16,486,542
Ghana76.60%30,417,856
Sudan75.90%42,813,238
Cameroon75.00%25,876,380
Egypt73.80%100,388,073
Eritrea73.80%3,497,117
India71.20%1,366,417,754
Angola71.10%31,825,295
Tanzania70.60%58,005,463
Rwanda70.50%12,626,950
Yemen70.10%29,161,922
Morocco68.50%36,471,769
Timor Leste67.50%1,293,119
Togo66.50%8,082,366
Malawi65.80%18,628,747
Bhutan64.90%763,092
Madagascar64.70%26,969,307
Papua New Guinea64.20%8,776,109
Nepal63.90%28,608,710
Dr Congo63.80%86,790,567
Zambia63.40%17,861,030
Bangladesh61.50%163,046,161
Haiti60.70%11,263,077
Guinea Bissau59.90%1,920,922
Nigeria59.60%200,963,599
Mozambique58.80%30,366,036
Pakistan57.90%216,565,318
Senegal57.70%16,296,364
Gambia55.50%2,347,706
Mauritania52.10%4,525,696
Ethiopia49.10%112,078,730
Sierra Leone48.10%7,813,215
Liberia47.60%4,937,374
Ivory Coast43.10%25,716,544
Chad40.20%15,946,876
Mali38.70%19,658,031
Benin38.40%11,801,151
Afghanistan38.20%38,041,754
Central African Republic36.80%4,745,185
Burkina Faso36.00%20,321,378
Guinea30.40%12,771,246
South Sudan27.00%11,062,113
Niger19.10%23,310,715