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 is that the number of people at least 15 years old that can read and write is meager.
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 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 million adults worldwide that can’t read or write.
One of the lowest literacy rates in the world is Niger, where just over 19% of adults can read and write. More than one-quarter of the males in this nation are literate, while only 11% of females are literate. Chad followes, with a literacy rate of 22.3%
Other nations with low literacy rates include:
- Guinea-Bissau (30.4%)
- South Sudan (34.5%)
- Mali (35.5%)
- Central African Republic (37.4%)
- Burkina Faso (41.2%)
- Benin (42.4%)
- Afhganistan (43.0%)
The developed nations of the world have much higher literacy rates with smaller gaps – if any – between the genders. Thirty-one nations reported literacy rates of 99.0% or above. Four countries reported 100% literacy among their people:
Below is a table with each country's literacy rates. The United States is not listed, but the U.S. literacy rate is about 99%.