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Literacy data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

In May 2008, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) added new literacy data for many countries to its database at the UIS Data Centre. In total, 208 countries and territories are covered by the database. The adult literacy rate - the share of the population aged 15 years and above that can read and write - is available for 145 countries. For 115 countries, the most recent literacy data is from 2007. Historical data is also provided, going back as far as 1975, to allow the analysis of national trends in literacy.

The previous UIS database from 2007 listed the adult literacy rates for 136 countries and territories for years between 1985 and 2005. For 10 countries, the most recent data was from 2005, for 30 countries from 2004, and for 5 countries from 2003.

The graph below describes the availability of data on adult literacy in the UIS database as of late May 2008.
  • The blue bars indicate the number of countries with data on adult literacy per year between 1975 and 2007. For each country, the adult literacy rate may be available in more than one year. The number of countries with data from a particular year is shown at the bottom of the bars, along the horizontal axis. For example, 115 countries have literacy data from 2007 and 36 countries have data from 2000.
  • The brown bars show the number of countries with adult literacy rates from the current year or the previous 4 years. For example, the bar for the year 2007 indicates that 117 countries have literacy data from any year between 2003 and 2007.
  • The beige bars show the cumulative number of countries with literacy data from any year since 1975. For example, in 2007, the adult literacy rate is available for a total of 145 countries and territories. The difference between the beige and brown bars in 2007 is the number of countries with the most recent literacy data from a year before 2003. The difference between the beige and blue bars in 2007 is the number of countries with the most recent data from a year before 2007.
Data on adult literacy from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 1975-2007
Bar chart showing availability of data on adult literacy from 1975 to 2007
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, May 2008

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External links
Friedrich Huebler, 1 June 2008, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/06/uis-literacy.html

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