Literacy and Illiteracy Rates

Current research estimates that approximately 15 percent of the adult population worldwide is illiterate, with women lagging behind men in literacy rates in the majority of countries. Fortunately, today’s youth are faring much better with higher rates of literacy than seen in previous generations. Lack of reading skills can limit access and opportunities in the employment market and other resources, leaving nonreaders open to exploitation via contracts they cannot decipher, and creating confusion with written medical advice and other important text-based information. Illiteracy has often been linked with poverty, poor nutrition in childhood, and health concerns. Meanwhile, geographic areas and demographics with increasingly high levels of literacy tend to show positive trends in important social and economic aspects.

Simply defined, literacy is the ability to read ...

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