Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) - Country Ranking

Definition: Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement about their everyday life.

Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 100.00 2008
2 Latvia 99.90 2011
3 Estonia 99.86 2011
4 Lithuania 99.82 2011
5 Azerbaijan 99.79 2014
6 Poland 99.76 2013
7 Cuba 99.75 2012
8 Tajikistan 99.75 2013
9 Georgia 99.75 2013
10 Armenia 99.74 2011
11 Ukraine 99.74 2013
12 Kazakhstan 99.73 2009
13 Slovenia 99.71 2013
14 Russia 99.68 2010
15 Turkmenistan 99.65 2013
16 Belarus 99.62 2009
17 Palau 99.52 2013
18 Uzbekistan 99.52 2013
19 Tonga 99.39 2011
20 Kyrgyz Republic 99.24 2009
21 Moldova 99.17 2013
22 Croatia 99.13 2011
23 Italy 99.07 2013
24 Hungary 99.05 2013
25 Samoa 98.97 2011
26 Antigua and Barbuda 98.95 2013
27 Cayman Islands 98.87 2007
28 Trinidad and Tobago 98.86 2013
29 Cyprus 98.68 2011
30 Romania 98.60 2011
31 Montenegro 98.44 2011
32 Uruguay 98.36 2013
33 Bulgaria 98.35 2011
34 Bosnia and Herzegovina 98.26 2013
35 Mongolia 98.26 2010
36 Spain 98.08 2013
37 Argentina 97.97 2013
38 Serbia 97.96 2011
39 Jordan 97.89 2012
40 Qatar 97.75 2014
41 Macedonia 97.63 2013
42 Greece 97.47 2013
43 Costa Rica 97.41 2011
44 Albania 97.25 2012
45 Chile 96.70 2011
46 New Caledonia 96.67 2013
47 Singapore 96.54 2013
48 Thailand 96.43 2010
49 Brunei 96.09 2011
50 Grenada 96.00 1970
51 Macao SAR, China 95.64 2011
52 Kuwait 95.59 2013
53 Philippines 95.42 2008
54 Turkey 95.26 2013
55 China 95.12 2010
56 Equatorial Guinea 94.77 2013
57 Venezuela 94.77 2011
58 Suriname 94.68 2010
59 Paraguay 94.62 2014
60 Bahrain 94.56 2010
61 Portugal 94.48 2011
62 Bolivia 94.46 2012
63 Saudi Arabia 94.43 2013
64 Panama 94.09 2010
65 Mexico 93.96 2013
66 Seychelles 93.95 2010
67 Peru 93.84 2012
68 South Africa 93.73 2012
69 Colombia 93.58 2011
70 Vietnam 93.52 2009
71 Malta 93.31 2011
72 Ecuador 93.29 2013
73 Malaysia 93.12 2010
74 Indonesia 92.81 2011
75 Myanmar 92.79 2013
76 Oman 91.98 2014
77 Puerto Rico 91.97 2010
78 Israel 91.75 1983
79 Brazil 91.48 2013
80 Sri Lanka 91.18 2010
81 Dominican Republic 90.86 2013
82 Libya 90.26 2013
83 United Arab Emirates 90.03 2005
84 Lebanon 89.61 2007
85 Mauritius 89.25 2011
86 Jamaica 87.90 2013
87 Botswana 87.32 2013
88 Honduras 87.20 2014
89 Burundi 86.95 2008
90 El Salvador 86.77 2013
91 Syrian Arab Republic 85.53 2013
92 Cabo Verde 85.33 2012
93 Guyana 84.99 2009
94 Vanuatu 84.01 2013
95 Iran 83.63 2012
96 Zimbabwe 83.58 2011
97 Swaziland 83.10 2010
98 Gabon 82.28 2012
99 Tunisia 79.65 2011
100 Congo 79.31 2011
101 Iraq 79.25 2013
102 Tanzania 78.98 2012
103 Nicaragua 78.00 2005
104 Guatemala 77.04 2013
105 Solomon Islands 76.60 1999
106 Comoros 76.55 2013
107 Namibia 76.49 2007
108 Lesotho 75.80 2009
109 Egypt 75.06 2013
110 Dem. Rep. Congo 75.02 2012
111 Sudan 74.27 2013
112 Cambodia 73.90 2009
113 Lao PDR 72.70 2005
114 Algeria 72.65 2006
115 Kenya 72.16 2007
116 Eritrea 71.60 2013
117 Ghana 71.50 2010
118 Cameroon 71.29 2010
119 Angola 70.78 2013
120 Belize 70.30 1991
121 Uganda 70.20 2012
122 São Tomé and Principe 69.54 2008
123 India 69.30 2011
124 Rwanda 68.33 2012
125 Yemen 67.65 2013
126 Morocco 67.08 2011
127 Madagascar 64.48 2009
128 Papua New Guinea 63.34 2013
129 Zambia 61.43 2007
130 Malawi 61.31 2010
131 Togo 60.41 2011
132 Bangladesh 59.72 2013
133 Nepal 59.63 2011
134 Timor-Leste 58.31 2010
135 Guinea-Bissau 57.80 2013
136 Pakistan 56.76 2012
137 The Gambia 53.19 2013
138 Bhutan 52.81 2005
139 Nigeria 51.08 2008
140 Mozambique 50.58 2009
141 Haiti 48.69 2006
142 Sierra Leone 45.65 2013
143 Mauritania 45.50 2007
144 Liberia 42.94 2007
145 Senegal 42.82 2013
146 Côte d'Ivoire 40.98 2012
147 Ethiopia 39.00 2007
148 Chad 38.23 2013
149 Central African Republic 36.75 2010
150 Mali 33.56 2011
151 Afghanistan 31.74 2011
152 Burkina Faso 28.73 2007
153 Benin 28.70 2006
154 Guinea 25.31 2010
155 Niger 15.46 2012

More rankings: Africa | Asia | Central America & the Caribbean | Europe | Middle East | North America | Oceania | South America | World |

Development Relevance: Literacy rate is an outcome indicator to evaluate educational attainment. This data can predict the quality of future labor force and can be used in ensuring policies for life skills for men and women. It can be also used as a proxy instrument to see the effectiveness of education system; a high literacy rate suggests the capacity of an education system to provide a large population with opportunities to acquire literacy skills. The accumulated achievement of education is fundamental for further intellectual growth and social and economic development, although it doesn't necessarily ensure the quality of education. Literate women implies that they can seek and use information for the betterment of the health, nutrition and education of their household members. Literate women are also empowered to play a meaningful role.

Limitations and Exceptions: In practice, literacy is difficult to measure. Estimating literacy rates requires census or survey measurements under controlled conditions. Many countries report the number of literate people from self-reported data. Some use educational attainment data as a proxy but apply different lengths of school attendance or levels of completion. Ant there is a trend among recent national and international surveys toward using a direct reading test of literacy skills. Because definitions and methods of data collection differ across countries, data should be used cautiously.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Literacy statistics for most countries cover the population ages 15 and older, but some include younger ages or are confined to age ranges that tend to inflate literacy rates. The youth literacy rate for ages 15-24 reflects recent progress in education. It measures the accumulated outcomes of primary education over the previous 10 years or so by indicating the proportion of the population who have passed through the primary education system and acquired basic literacy and numeracy skills. Generally, literacy also encompasses numeracy, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations. Data on literacy are compiled by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics based on national censuses and household surveys and, for countries without recent literacy data, using the Global Age-Specific Literacy Projection Model (GALP). For detailed information, see www.uis.unesco.org.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual