Literacy is the stream that flows through all the fields.
-- Barbara Tornholm
When compared to five other industrialized nations in the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (2003), the U.S., ranked fifth in prose and numeracy literacy behind Bermuda, Canada, Norway, and Switzerland, but ahead of Italy.
The United Nations estimated that in 2005, there were 785 million illiterate adults in the world (UNESCO Institute for Statistics).
Women account for two out of three illiterate adults. In 2000 there were 236 million more illiterate women than men.
From 1980 – 1995, the illiterate population of men fell from 327 million to 318 million, while the numbers of illiterate women grew from 551 million to 565 million (Aksornkool, 2001).
In 2000, about 70% of the world’s illiterate adults lived in three regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia, and the Arab States and North Africa.
75% of the world’s illiterate adults live in just 12 countries.