Literacy Facts


Employed population that have low literacy skills

1 in 6

Adults in the U.S. who lack basic reading skills

(COABE, 2017)
36 Million

Adults in the U.S. with limited English, reading, or math skills

(COABE, 2017)
1 in 3

Adults in the U.S. who can’t handle basic numbers, like working a cash register or understanding a transit schedule

(COABE, 2017)
23 Million

Foreign-born U.S. residents who have limited English proficiency

10 Points Higher

Standardized reading test scores of children with parents who participate in family literacy activities

(Senechal, 2006)

Did You Know?

Adult education serves adults aged 16 and above who are not in school, who lack basic reading and math skills, and who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent (COABE, 2017).
Functional Illiteracy is defined as having math, reading, or language skills below a 4th grade level. At this level, people may struggle to read a bus schedule, medicine bottle, or job application (Seeds of Literacy).
Education levels have more impact on lifetime earnings than any other demographic factor, including race, gender, or ethnic origin (COABE, 2017).
Individuals who participate in adult-education and literacy programs have higher future earnings as a result of participating, and their income premiums are large with more intensive participation (U.S. Department of Education, 2014).
Almost half of all children and young adults live in low-income households that are below 200 percent of the poverty line (CLASP, 2015).
The GED® test was created in 1942 as U.S. military veterans returned home after service in World War II, since many of them had left high school prior to graduation (GED Testing).

Even More Facts

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