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Adult and youth literacy in 2009

8 September was International Literacy Day. On this occasion, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released a fact sheet with estimates of adult and youth literacy in 2009, the most recent year with data.

The global adult literacy rate, for the population 15 years and older, was 83.7% in 2009, compared to 83.4% in 2008. The adult illiterate population fell from 796.2 million in 2008 to 793.1 million in 2009. 64.1% of the adult illiterate population were women. Adult literacy rates are lowest in sub-Saharan African and in South and West Asia (see Figure 1). In 11 countries, less than half of the adult population were able to read and write: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Figure 1: Adult literacy rate, 2009
World map with adult literacy rates in 2009
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011

Youth literacy rates - for the population 15 to 24 years - are generally higher than adult literacy rates, due to increased school attendance rates among younger generations. The global youth literacy rate was 89.3% in 2009, compared to 89.0% in 2008. The youth illiterate population fell from 130.6 million in 2008 to 127.3 million in 2009. Youth literacy rates are lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (see Figure 2) and the five countries worldwide with youth literacy rates below 50% are from this region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and Niger.

Figure 2: Youth literacy rate, 2009
World map with youth literacy rates in 2009
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011

Reference

  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). 2011. Adult and youth literacy. UIS fact sheet no. 16, September. Montreal: UIS. (Download in PDF format, 350 KB)

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External links

Friedrich Huebler, 30 September 2011, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2011/09/literacy.html

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