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: