Literacy Rate by Country 2022

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Literacy—the ability to read and write—is arguably the single most important factor in determining a person's career arc. For those who can read and write, the range of possible vocations is vast—even highly skilled, high-paying careers are within reach. For those who cannot, the options are extremely limited—even unskilled minimum-wage jobs can be difficult to obtain.

As a whole, the global literacy rate is 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 only slightly behind at 82.7%. However, massive country-to-country differences exist. Developed nations almost always have an adult literacy rate of 96% or better. In contrast, the least developed nations manage an average literacy rate of only 65%. Direct country-to-country comparisons of literacy tend to be inexact. This is due mainly to two confounding factors: Many countries do not report their literacy every year, and many countries have mismatched definitions as to what qualifies as literacy.

Top 10 Most Literate Countries in the World:

  1. Uzbekistan - 2018 - 99.99%
  2. Ukraine - 2012 - 99.97%
  3. San Marino - 2018 - 99.92%
  4. Latvia - 2018 - 99.89%
  5. Estonia - 2011 - 99.89%
  6. Czech Republic - 2016 - 99.83%
  7. Lithuania - 2011 - 99.82%
  8. Tajikstan - 2014 - 99.80%
  9. Azerbaijan - 2017 - 99.79%
  10. Kazakhstan - 2018 - 99.78%

Top 10 Least Literate Countries in the World:

  1. Chad - 2016 - 22.31%
  2. Guinea - 2014 - 32.00%
  3. South Sudan - 2018 - 34.52%
  4. Niger - 2018 - 35.05%
  5. Mali - 2018 - 35.47%
  6. Central African Republic - 37.40%
  7. Burkina Faso - 2018 - 41.22%
  8. Benin - 2018 - 42.36%
  9. Afghanistan - 2018 - 43.02%
  10. Sierra Leone - 2018 - 43.21%

The relationship between literacy and poverty

Poverty and illiteracy tend to go hand-in-hand. Education is often less available in poverty-stricken areas. Moreover, even when education is available, a struggling family might need their children to work and earn money instead of going to school. Most of the countries with the lowest literacy are located in South Asia, West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa—regions which also include most of the poorest countries in the world.

There is also a gender gap in literacy: Of the roughly 781 million adults worldwide who cannot read or write, nearly two-thirds are female. This disparity is particularly noticeable in less-developed countries, in which women are often expected to stay at home and care for the house and children while the men go off to work. The developed nations of the world have much higher literacy rates with smaller gaps—if any—between the genders. For a full list of the best available information on literacy rates around the world, see the table below.

Literacy Rate by Country 2022

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Literacy Rate by Country 2022

Country Latest Rate Rate Year 2022 Population
Finland100.00%20005,540,745
Norway100.00%20115,434,319
Luxembourg100.00%2000647,599
Andorra100.00%201179,824
Greenland100.00%200156,466
Liechtenstein100.00%201139,327
Uzbekistan100.00%201534,627,652
Latvia99.89%20151,850,651
Estonia99.82%20151,326,062
Lithuania99.82%20152,750,055
Azerbaijan99.81%201510,358,074
Guam99.79%2015171,774
Kazakhstan99.79%201519,397,998
Poland99.79%201539,857,145
Tajikistan99.78%20159,952,787
Armenia99.77%20152,780,469
Ukraine99.76%201539,701,739
Georgia99.76%20153,744,385
Belarus99.72%20159,534,954
Russia99.72%2015144,713,314
Slovenia99.71%20152,119,844
Cuba99.71%201511,212,191
Barbados99.70%2002281,635
Turkmenistan99.69%20156,430,770
Slovakia99.60%20045,643,453
Palau99.52%201518,055
Kyrgyzstan99.50%20156,630,623
Tonga99.40%2015106,858
Hungary99.38%20159,967,308
Maldives99.32%2015523,787
Croatia99.27%20154,030,358
Moldova99.24%20153,272,996
Cyprus99.06%20151,251,488
Italy99.02%201559,037,474
Samoa99.02%2015222,382
United States99.00%2003338,289,857
Japan99.00%2002123,951,692
Germany99.00%200383,369,843
United Kingdom99.00%200367,508,936
France99.00%200364,626,628
Canada99.00%200338,454,327
Australia99.00%200326,177,413
Netherlands99.00%200317,564,014
Belgium99.00%200311,655,930
Sweden99.00%200310,549,347
Switzerland99.00%20038,740,472
Denmark99.00%20035,882,261
New Zealand99.00%20035,185,288
Ireland99.00%20035,023,109
Iceland99.00%2003372,899
Monaco99.00%200336,469
Saint Pierre and Miquelon99.00%19825,862
Trinidad and Tobago98.97%20151,531,044
Antigua and Barbuda98.95%201493,763
Cayman Islands98.87%200768,706
Romania98.76%201519,659,267
Montenegro98.72%2015627,082
Bosnia and Herzegovina98.49%20153,233,526
Uruguay98.44%20153,422,794
Bulgaria98.39%20156,781,953
Mongolia98.37%20153,398,366
Marshall Islands98.27%201541,569
Spain98.11%201547,558,630
Argentina98.09%201545,510,318
Jordan98.01%201511,285,869
Serbia98.00%20157,221,365
Austria98.00%20118,939,617
French Polynesia98.00%1977306,279
Bermuda98.00%200564,184
Turks and Caicos Islands98.00%197045,703
South Korea97.97%200851,815,810
North Macedonia97.84%20152,093,599
Saint Kitts and Nevis97.80%200347,657
British Virgin Islands97.80%199131,305
Qatar97.76%20152,695,122
Costa Rica97.65%20155,180,829
Albania97.55%20152,842,321
Aruba97.52%2015106,445
American Samoa97.34%198044,273
Israel97.10%20049,038,309
Northern Mariana Islands97.00%198049,551
Montserrat97.00%19704,390
New Caledonia96.94%2015289,950
Singapore96.77%20155,975,689
Palestine96.67%20155,250,072
Brunei96.66%2015449,002
Chile96.63%201519,603,733
Philippines96.62%2015115,559,009
China96.36%20151,425,887,337
Kuwait96.12%20154,268,873
Taiwan96.10%200323,893,394
Grenada96.00%2003125,438
San Marino96.00%201133,660
Bahrain95.72%20151,472,233
Turkey95.69%201585,341,241
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines95.63%1970103,948
Bahamas95.60%2003409,984
Suriname95.54%2015618,040
Paraguay95.54%20156,780,744
Indonesia95.44%2015275,501,339
Portugal95.43%201510,270,865
Venezuela95.40%201528,301,696
Seychelles95.32%2015107,118
Greece95.29%201510,384,971
Equatorial Guinea95.20%20151,674,908
Bolivia95.14%201512,224,110
Panama95.04%20154,408,581
Cook Islands95.00%201117,011
Anguilla95.00%198415,857
Niue95.00%20111,934
Saudi Arabia94.84%201536,408,820
Malaysia94.64%201533,938,221
South Africa94.60%201559,893,885
Colombia94.58%201551,874,024
Mexico94.55%2015127,504,125
Ecuador94.52%201518,001,000
Vietnam94.51%201598,186,856
Peru94.37%201534,049,588
Malta94.07%2015533,286
Lebanon94.05%20155,489,739
Dominica94.00%200372,737
Thailand93.98%201571,697,030
Oman93.97%20154,576,298
Fiji93.70%2003929,766
Hong Kong93.50%20027,488,865
Puerto Rico93.33%20153,252,407
Myanmar93.09%201554,179,306
United Arab Emirates92.99%20159,441,129
Sri Lanka92.61%201521,832,143
Brazil92.59%2015215,313,498
Dominican Republic92.47%201511,228,821
Sao Tome and Principe91.75%2015227,380
Libya91.39%20156,812,341
Namibia90.82%20152,567,012
Mauritius90.62%20151,299,469
Saint Lucia90.10%2001179,857
Micronesia89.00%1980114,164
Jamaica88.50%20152,827,377
Cape Verde88.47%2015593,149
Honduras88.42%201510,432,860
Botswana88.22%20152,630,296
El Salvador87.65%20156,336,392
Guyana87.54%2015808,726
Eswatini87.47%20151,201,670
Iran87.17%201588,550,570
Zimbabwe86.87%201516,320,537
Syria86.30%201522,125,249
Burundi85.50%201512,889,576
Zambia85.12%201520,017,675
Vanuatu85.06%2015326,740
Solomon Islands84.10%2011724,273
Gabon83.24%20152,388,992
Belize82.78%2015405,272
Nicaragua82.47%20156,948,392
Tunisia81.05%201512,356,117
Tanzania80.36%201565,497,748
Gibraltar80.00%201132,649
Laos79.87%20157,529,475
Iraq79.72%201544,496,122
Algeria79.61%201544,903,225
Lesotho79.36%20152,305,825
Guatemala79.07%201517,843,908
Cambodia78.35%201516,767,842
Comoros78.14%2015836,774
Kenya78.02%201554,027,487
DR Congo77.22%201599,010,212
Ghana76.58%201533,475,870
Egypt75.84%2015110,990,103
Cameroon74.99%201527,914,536
Eritrea73.85%20153,684,032
Uganda73.81%201547,249,585
India72.23%20151,417,173,173
Morocco71.71%201537,457,971
Rwanda71.24%201513,776,698
Angola71.16%201535,588,987
Yemen69.96%201533,696,614
Djibouti67.90%20031,120,849
Togo66.54%20158,848,699
Malawi65.96%201520,405,317
Nepal64.66%201530,547,580
Madagascar64.66%201529,611,714
Bhutan63.91%2015782,455
Papua New Guinea63.43%201510,142,619
Bangladesh61.49%2015171,186,372
Haiti60.69%201511,584,996
Guinea Bissau59.77%20152,105,566
Nigeria59.57%2015218,541,212
Mozambique58.84%201532,969,518
Sudan58.60%201546,874,204
Pakistan56.44%2015235,824,862
Senegal55.62%201517,316,449
Gambia55.57%20152,705,992
Mauritania52.12%20154,736,139
Wallis and Futuna50.00%196911,572
Ethiopia49.03%2015123,379,924
Sierra Leone48.43%20158,605,718
Liberia47.60%20155,302,681
Ivory Coast43.27%201528,160,542
Chad40.02%201517,723,315
Benin38.45%201513,352,864
Afghanistan38.17%201541,128,771
Somalia37.80%200117,597,511
Burkina Faso37.75%201522,673,762
Central African Republic36.75%20155,579,144
Mali33.07%201522,593,590
South Sudan31.98%201510,913,164
Guinea30.47%201513,859,341
Niger19.10%201526,207,977

Literacy Rate by Country 2022

Sources