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 Andorra 100.00 2016
1 Greenland 100.00 2015
3 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 100.00 2008
4 Uzbekistan 99.98 2015
5 Ukraine 99.97 2012
6 Latvia 99.90 2011
7 Estonia 99.89 2011
8 Lithuania 99.82 2011
9 Azerbaijan 99.79 2016
10 Kazakhstan 99.78 2010
11 Cuba 99.75 2012
12 Armenia 99.74 2011
13 Russia 99.68 2010
14 Belarus 99.62 2009
15 Georgia 99.59 2014
16 Slovenia 99.52 1991
17 Tajikistan 99.45 2000
18 Tonga 99.39 2011
19 Barbados 99.27 1970
20 Kyrgyz Republic 99.24 2009
21 Moldova 99.14 2012
22 Croatia 99.13 2011
23 Samoa 98.97 2011
24 Antigua and Barbuda 98.95 2001
25 Cayman Islands 98.87 2007
26 Hungary 98.86 1980
27 Italy 98.85 2011
28 Serbia 98.84 2016
29 Turkmenistan 98.78 1995
30 Poland 98.74 1978
31 Cyprus 98.68 2011
32 Romania 98.60 2011
33 Uruguay 98.52 2015
34 Montenegro 98.44 2011
35 Bulgaria 98.35 2011
36 Mongolia 98.26 2010
37 Spain 98.25 2016
38 Argentina 98.09 2015
39 Jordan 97.89 2012
40 Grenada 97.79 1970
41 Qatar 97.75 2014
42 Costa Rica 97.41 2011
43 Albania 97.25 2012
44 Greece 97.13 2011
45 Venezuela 97.13 2016
46 Singapore 97.05 2016
47 Bosnia and Herzegovina 96.99 2013
48 Trinidad and Tobago 96.94 1990
49 Palau 96.59 2015
50 Macao SAR, China 96.54 2016
51 Philippines 96.40 2013
52 Chile 96.27 2013
53 Macedonia 96.13 2002
54 Brunei 96.09 2011
55 Kuwait 95.69 2015
56 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 95.63 1970
57 Turkey 95.60 2015
58 Indonesia 95.38 2016
59 China 95.12 2010
60 Paraguay 95.07 2015
61 Bahrain 94.56 2010
62 Portugal 94.48 2011
63 Mexico 94.47 2015
64 Saudi Arabia 94.43 2013
65 South Africa 94.37 2015
66 Ecuador 94.35 2016
67 Colombia 94.25 2015
68 Peru 94.17 2016
69 Panama 94.09 2010
70 Seychelles 93.95 2010
71 Vietnam 93.52 2009
72 Malta 93.31 2011
73 Malaysia 93.12 2010
74 Oman 93.04 2015
75 Suriname 92.87 2012
76 Thailand 92.87 2015
77 Mauritius 92.71 2015
78 Bolivia 92.46 2015
79 Dominican Republic 91.99 2015
80 Puerto Rico 91.97 2010
81 Israel 91.75 1983
82 Brazil 91.73 2014
83 Lebanon 91.18 2009
84 Sri Lanka 91.18 2010
85 São Tomé and Principe 90.14 2012
86 United Arab Emirates 90.03 2005
87 Honduras 88.99 2016
88 Zimbabwe 88.69 2014
89 Equatorial Guinea 88.31 2000
90 Namibia 88.27 2011
91 El Salvador 87.97 2015
92 Cabo Verde 86.79 2015
93 Guyana 85.64 2014
94 Iran 84.71 2014
95 Swaziland 83.10 2010
96 Zambia 83.01 2010
97 Gabon 82.28 2012
98 Guatemala 81.29 2014
99 Botswana 81.19 2003
100 Syrian Arab Republic 80.84 2004
101 Jamaica 79.92 1999
102 Congo 79.31 2011
103 Tunisia 79.04 2014
104 Kenya 78.73 2014
105 Nicaragua 78.00 2005
106 Tanzania 77.89 2015
107 Dem. Rep. Congo 77.04 2016
108 Lesotho 76.64 2014
109 Solomon Islands 76.60 1999
110 Myanmar 75.55 2016
111 Algeria 75.14 2008
112 Egypt 75.06 2013
113 Vanuatu 74.00 1999
114 Cambodia 73.90 2009
115 Bangladesh 72.76 2016
116 Madagascar 71.57 2012
117 Ghana 71.50 2010
118 Cameroon 71.29 2010
119 Belize 70.30 1991
120 Uganda 70.20 2012
121 Morocco 69.43 2012
122 India 69.30 2011
123 Rwanda 68.33 2012
124 Angola 66.03 2014
125 Eritrea 64.66 2008
126 Togo 63.75 2015
127 Malawi 62.14 2015
128 Burundi 61.57 2014
129 Libya 60.16 1984
130 Nepal 59.63 2011
131 Timor-Leste 58.31 2010
132 Lao PDR 58.29 2011
133 Papua New Guinea 57.34 2000
134 Bhutan 57.03 2012
135 Pakistan 56.98 2014
136 Sudan 53.52 2008
137 Nigeria 51.08 2008
138 Mozambique 50.58 2009
139 Comoros 49.20 2012
140 Haiti 48.69 2006
141 Guinea-Bissau 45.58 2014
142 Mauritania 45.50 2007
143 Côte d'Ivoire 43.91 2014
144 Iraq 43.68 2013
145 Liberia 42.94 2007
146 Senegal 42.82 2013
147 The Gambia 41.95 2013
148 Ethiopia 39.00 2007
149 Yemen 37.09 1994
150 Central African Republic 36.75 2010
151 Burkina Faso 34.60 2014
152 Mali 33.07 2015
153 Benin 32.95 2012
154 Sierra Leone 32.43 2013
155 Guinea 32.00 2014
156 Afghanistan 31.74 2011
157 Chad 22.31 2016
158 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.

Other Notes: Each economy is classified based on the classification of World Bank Group's fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017).

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