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: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (http://uis.unesco.org/)

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 100.00 2008
2 Uzbekistan 99.99 2016
3 Ukraine 99.97 2012
4 San Marino 99.92 2018
5 Latvia 99.90 2011
6 Estonia 99.89 2011
7 Lithuania 99.82 2011
8 Tajikistan 99.80 2014
9 Azerbaijan 99.79 2017
10 Kazakhstan 99.78 2010
11 Belarus 99.76 2018
12 Cuba 99.75 2012
13 Armenia 99.74 2017
14 Russia 99.73 2018
15 Turkmenistan 99.70 2014
15 Slovenia 99.70 2014
17 Barbados 99.60 2014
18 Kyrgyz Republic 99.59 2018
19 Tonga 99.41 2018
20 Georgia 99.36 2017
21 Moldova 99.36 2014
22 Italy 99.16 2018
23 Croatia 99.13 2011
24 Hungary 99.10 2014
25 Samoa 99.10 2018
26 Fiji 99.08 2017
27 Argentina 99.00 2018
28 Antigua and Barbuda 98.95 2015
29 Cayman Islands 98.87 2007
30 Montenegro 98.85 2018
31 Romania 98.84 2018
32 Poland 98.74 2008
33 Uruguay 98.70 2018
34 Trinidad and Tobago 98.70 2010
35 Cyprus 98.68 2011
36 Grenada 98.60 2014
37 Spain 98.44 2018
38 Mongolia 98.42 2018
39 Bulgaria 98.35 2011
40 Serbia 98.29 2018
41 Jordan 98.23 2018
42 Philippines 98.18 2015
43 Albania 98.14 2018
44 Costa Rica 97.86 2018
45 New Caledonia 97.80 2014
45 North Macedonia 97.80 2014
47 Bahrain 97.46 2018
48 Greece 97.37 2011
49 Singapore 97.34 2018
50 Brunei 97.21 2018
51 Venezuela 97.13 2016
52 Bosnia and Herzegovina 96.99 2013
53 China 96.84 2018
54 Palau 96.59 2015
55 Macao SAR, China 96.54 2016
56 Chile 96.40 2017
57 Turkey 96.15 2017
58 Portugal 96.14 2018
59 Kuwait 96.06 2018
60 Seychelles 95.87 2018
61 Indonesia 95.66 2018
62 Oman 95.65 2018
63 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 95.63 1970
64 Panama 95.41 2018
65 Mexico 95.38 2018
66 Saudi Arabia 95.33 2017
67 Colombia 95.09 2018
68 Lebanon 95.07 2018
69 Vietnam 95.00 2018
70 Equatorial Guinea 95.00 2014
71 Malta 94.50 2018
72 Peru 94.41 2018
73 Suriname 94.38 2018
74 Paraguay 94.02 2018
75 Dominican Republic 93.78 2016
76 Malaysia 93.73 2016
77 Qatar 93.46 2017
78 Brazil 93.23 2018
79 Thailand 92.87 2015
80 Ecuador 92.83 2017
81 São Tomé and Principe 92.82 2018
82 Bolivia 92.46 2015
83 Puerto Rico 92.39 2017
84 Sri Lanka 91.90 2017
85 Israel 91.75 1983
86 Mauritius 91.33 2018
87 United Arab Emirates 90.03 2005
88 Zimbabwe 88.69 2014
89 El Salvador 88.48 2017
90 Eswatini 88.42 2018
91 Jamaica 88.10 2014
92 Botswana 87.70 2014
93 Vanuatu 87.51 2018
94 Honduras 87.21 2018
95 South Africa 87.05 2017
96 Cabo Verde 86.79 2015
97 Zambia 86.75 2018
98 Libya 86.10 2004
99 Guyana 85.64 2014
100 Iran 85.54 2016
101 Gabon 84.67 2018
102 Lao PDR 84.66 2015
103 Nicaragua 82.61 2015
104 Kenya 81.53 2018
105 Algeria 81.41 2018
106 Guatemala 81.29 2014
107 Syrian Arab Republic 80.84 2004
108 Cambodia 80.53 2015
109 Congo 80.30 2018
110 Ghana 79.04 2018
111 Tunisia 79.04 2014
112 Tanzania 77.89 2015
113 Cameroon 77.07 2018
114 Dem. Rep. Congo 77.04 2016
115 Lesotho 76.64 2014
116 Solomon Islands 76.60 2009
117 Eritrea 76.57 2018
118 Uganda 76.53 2018
119 Myanmar 75.55 2016
120 Madagascar 74.80 2018
121 India 74.37 2018
122 Bangladesh 73.91 2018
123 Morocco 73.75 2018
124 Rwanda 73.22 2018
125 Egypt 71.17 2017
126 Belize 70.30 1991
127 Burundi 68.38 2017
128 Timor-Leste 68.07 2018
129 Nepal 67.91 2018
130 Bhutan 66.56 2017
131 Angola 66.03 2014
132 Togo 63.75 2015
133 Malawi 62.14 2015
134 Nigeria 62.02 2018
135 Haiti 61.69 2016
136 Papua New Guinea 61.60 2010
137 Sudan 60.70 2018
138 Mozambique 60.66 2017
139 Pakistan 59.13 2017
140 Comoros 58.82 2018
141 Yemen 54.10 2004
142 Mauritania 53.50 2017
143 Senegal 51.90 2017
144 Ethiopia 51.77 2017
145 The Gambia 50.78 2015
146 Iraq 50.14 2018
147 Liberia 48.30 2017
148 Côte d'Ivoire 47.17 2018
149 Guinea-Bissau 45.58 2014
150 Sierra Leone 43.21 2018
151 Afghanistan 43.02 2018
152 Benin 42.36 2018
153 Burkina Faso 41.22 2018
154 Central African Republic 37.40 2018
155 Mali 35.47 2018
156 Guinea 32.00 2014
157 Niger 30.56 2012
158 Chad 22.31 2016
159 Somalia 5.40 1972

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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.

Other Notes: Data retrieved via API in March 2019. For detailed information on the observation level (e.g. National Estimation, UIS Estimation, or Category not applicable), please visit UIS.Stat (http://data.uis.unesco.org/).

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