January 21, 2022

UNESCO Shares the Latest Global Literacy Data in New Factsheet

From the UNESCO Institute for Statistics:

Literacy rates continue to rise from one generation to the next. Yet according to new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, there are still 750 million illiterate adults, two-thirds of whom are women. These numbers are a stark reminder of the work ahead to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 5 and the Education 2030 targets.

The latest data, presented in a new fact sheet and illustrated in the UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy, show remarkable progress in youth literacy. 50 years ago, 22% of people between the ages of 15 and 24 lacked basic literacy skills compared to 9% today, and young people in Africa and Asia, in particular, are far more likely to be literate than they were half a century ago.


Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics  Fact Sheet No. 45; September 2017; FS/2017/LIT/45

For the first time, the UIS has produced annual regional-level literacy estimates based on national data and UIS projections from 1990 to 2016. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, and Northern Africa and Western Asia have made the greatest progress in improving adult literacy over the past 26 years. In Southern Asia, the adult literacy rate rose from 46% in 1990 to 72% in 2016. For the other regions, the change in adult literacy over the same period was as follows: Northern Africa and Western Asia from 64% to 81%, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia from 82% to 96%, sub-Saharan Africa from 52% to 65%, and Latin America and Caribbean from 85% to 94%.

Direct to Complete Blog Post + Two Maps

Direct to Full Text of Fact Sheet (via UIS)
Fact Sheet No. 45
September 2017 FS/2017/LIT/45

13 pages; PDF

Direct to UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.