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Global literacy report


775.000.000 adults or nearly 16 %
of the world’s population is illiterate.
Literacy is a human right, a tool for personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.

Adult illiteracy

20% of all female
adults are illiterate

11% of all male
adults are illiterate

“Every literate woman is a victory over poverty” Ban Ki-moon

Literacy is at the heart
of basic education for
all and essential for
poverty eradication,
gender equality,
maternal health,
child mortality reduction, sustainable development, peace and democracy.

Youth illiteracy

122 million or 10% of the entire youth population are illiterate

are female
are male

39% of all illiterate adults comes from India

India has the highest number of illiterate adults:

287 million
that is over
four times
the population
of France
“Literacy is a
development accelerator
and a force for peace”
Irina Bokova

Sub-Saharan Africa holds the most
illiterate youth & adults

29 % male adults
24 % male youth

47 % female adults
34 % female youth

The majority of people living on
less than $ 1,25 a day lives in
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia

Living in a conflict-affected area increases
the likelihood of not becoming literate or
of not gaining acces to education.

21 developing countries
spend more money
on arms than on
primary schools.

Cutting military
spending by 10 %
could put 9,5 million
children into school

42% of out-of-school
children worldwide live
in conflict-affected

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”
Nelson Mandela

Let's fight

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
Kofi Annan