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
Liechtenstein100.00%201138,387
Greenland100.00%200156,973
Andorra100.00%201177,463
Luxembourg100.00%2000642,371
Norway100.00%20115,511,370
Finland100.00%20005,554,960
Uzbekistan100.00%201534,382,084
Latvia99.89%20151,848,837
Estonia99.82%20151,321,910
Lithuania99.82%20152,661,708
Azerbaijan99.81%201510,300,205
Guam99.79%2015171,519
Kazakhstan99.79%201519,205,043
Poland99.79%201537,739,785
Tajikistan99.78%20159,957,464
Armenia99.77%20152,971,966
Ukraine99.76%201543,192,122
Georgia99.76%20153,968,738
Belarus99.72%20159,432,800
Russia99.72%2015145,805,947
Slovenia99.71%20152,078,034
Cuba99.71%201511,305,652
Barbados99.70%2002288,023
Turkmenistan99.69%20156,201,943
Slovakia99.60%20045,460,193
Palau99.52%201518,233
Kyrgyzstan99.50%20156,728,271
Tonga99.40%2015107,749
Hungary99.38%20159,606,259
Maldives99.32%2015540,985
Croatia99.27%20154,059,286
Moldova99.24%20154,013,171
Cyprus99.06%20151,223,387
Italy99.02%201560,262,770
Samoa99.02%2015202,239
Saint Pierre And Miquelon99.00%19825,759
Monaco99.00%200339,783
Iceland99.00%2003345,393
New Zealand99.00%20034,898,203
Ireland99.00%20035,020,199
Denmark99.00%20035,834,950
Switzerland99.00%20038,773,637
Sweden99.00%200310,218,971
Belgium99.00%200311,668,278
Netherlands99.00%200317,211,447
Australia99.00%200326,068,792
Canada99.00%200338,388,419
France99.00%200365,584,518
United Kingdom99.00%200368,497,907
Germany99.00%200383,883,596
Japan99.00%2002125,584,838
United States99.00%2003334,805,269
Trinidad And Tobago98.97%20151,406,585
Antigua And Barbuda98.95%201499,509
Cayman Islands98.87%200767,277
Romania98.76%201519,031,335
Montenegro98.72%2015627,950
Bosnia And Herzegovina98.49%20153,249,317
Uruguay98.44%20153,496,016
Bulgaria98.39%20156,844,597
Mongolia98.37%20153,378,078
Marshall Islands98.27%201560,057
Spain98.11%201546,719,142
Argentina98.09%201546,010,234
Jordan98.01%201510,300,869
Serbia98.00%20158,653,016
Turks And Caicos Islands98.00%197039,741
Bermuda98.00%200561,939
French Polynesia98.00%1977284,164
Austria98.00%20119,066,710
South Korea97.97%200851,329,899
North Macedonia97.84%20152,081,304
British Virgin Islands97.80%199130,596
Saint Kitts And Nevis97.80%200353,871
Qatar97.76%20152,979,915
Costa Rica97.65%20155,182,354
Albania97.55%20152,866,374
Aruba97.52%2015107,609
American Samoa97.34%198055,030
Israel97.10%20048,922,892
Montserrat97.00%19704,965
Northern Mariana Islands97.00%198058,269
New Caledonia96.94%2015290,915
Singapore96.77%20155,943,546
Palestine96.67%20155,345,541
Brunei96.66%2015445,431
Chile96.63%201519,250,195
Philippines96.62%2015112,508,994
China96.36%20151,448,471,400
Kuwait96.12%20154,380,326
Taiwan96.10%200323,888,595
San Marino96.00%201134,085
Grenada96.00%2003113,475
Bahrain95.72%20151,783,983
Turkey95.69%201585,561,976
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines95.63%1970111,551
Bahamas95.60%2003400,516
Suriname95.54%2015596,831
Paraguay95.54%20157,305,843
Indonesia95.44%2015279,134,505
Portugal95.43%201510,140,570
Venezuela95.40%201529,266,991
Seychelles95.32%201599,426
Greece95.29%201510,316,637
Equatorial Guinea95.20%20151,496,662
Bolivia95.14%201511,992,656
Panama95.04%20154,446,964
Niue95.00%20111,622
Anguilla95.00%198415,230
Cook Islands95.00%201117,571
Saudi Arabia94.84%201535,844,909
Malaysia94.64%201533,181,072
South Africa94.60%201560,756,135
Colombia94.58%201551,512,762
Mexico94.55%2015131,562,772
Ecuador94.52%201518,113,361
Vietnam94.51%201598,953,541
Peru94.37%201533,684,208
Malta94.07%2015444,033
Lebanon94.05%20156,684,849
Dominica94.00%200372,344
Thailand93.98%201570,078,203
Oman93.97%20155,323,993
Fiji93.70%2003909,466
Hong Kong93.50%20027,604,299
Puerto Rico93.33%20152,829,812
Myanmar93.09%201555,227,143
United Arab Emirates92.99%201510,081,785
Sri Lanka92.61%201521,575,842
Brazil92.59%2015215,353,593
Dominican Republic92.47%201511,056,370
Sao Tome And Principe91.75%2015227,679
Libya91.39%20157,040,745
Namibia90.82%20152,633,874
Mauritius90.62%20151,274,727
Saint Lucia90.10%2001185,113
Micronesia89.00%1980117,489
Jamaica88.50%20152,985,094
Cape Verde88.47%2015567,678
Honduras88.42%201510,221,247
Botswana88.22%20152,441,162
El Salvador87.65%20156,550,389
Guyana87.54%2015794,045
Eswatini87.47%20151,184,817
Iran87.17%201586,022,837
Zimbabwe86.87%201515,331,428
Syria86.30%201519,364,809
Burundi85.50%201512,624,840
Zambia85.12%201519,470,234
Vanuatu85.06%2015321,832
Solomon Islands84.10%2011721,159
Gabon83.24%20152,331,533
Belize82.78%2015412,190
Nicaragua82.47%20156,779,100
Tunisia81.05%201512,046,656
Tanzania80.36%201563,298,550
Gibraltar80.00%201133,704
Laos79.87%20157,481,023
Iraq79.72%201542,164,965
Algeria79.61%201545,350,148
Lesotho79.36%20152,175,699
Guatemala79.07%201518,584,039
Cambodia78.35%201517,168,639
Comoros78.14%2015907,419
Kenya78.02%201556,215,221
DR Congo77.22%201595,240,792
Ghana76.58%201532,395,450
Egypt75.84%2015106,156,692
Cameroon74.99%201527,911,548
Eritrea73.85%20153,662,244
Uganda73.81%201548,432,863
India72.23%20151,406,631,776
Morocco71.71%201537,772,756
Rwanda71.24%201513,600,464
Angola71.16%201535,027,343
Yemen69.96%201531,154,867
Djibouti67.90%20031,016,097
Togo66.54%20158,680,837
Malawi65.96%201520,180,839
Nepal64.66%201530,225,582
Madagascar64.66%201529,178,077
Bhutan63.91%2015787,941
Papua New Guinea63.43%20159,292,169
Bangladesh61.49%2015167,885,689
Haiti60.69%201511,680,283
Guinea Bissau59.77%20152,063,367
Nigeria59.57%2015216,746,934
Mozambique58.84%201533,089,461
Sudan58.60%201545,992,020
Pakistan56.44%2015229,488,994
Senegal55.62%201517,653,671
Gambia55.57%20152,558,482
Mauritania52.12%20154,901,981
Wallis And Futuna50.00%196910,982
Ethiopia49.03%2015120,812,698
Sierra Leone48.43%20158,306,436
Liberia47.60%20155,305,117
Ivory Coast43.27%201527,742,298
Chad40.02%201517,413,580
Benin38.45%201512,784,726
Afghanistan38.17%201540,754,388
Somalia37.80%200116,841,795
Burkina Faso37.75%201522,102,838
Central African Republic36.75%20155,016,678
Mali33.07%201521,473,764
South Sudan31.98%201511,618,511
Guinea30.47%201513,865,691
Niger19.10%201526,083,660

Literacy Rate by Country 2022

Sources