How Illiteracy Hurts Us All

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, estimates that nearly 800 million people—one-fifth of the world’s adult population—do not know how to read or write; women make up two-thirds of this number. More than 67.4 million school-age children do not attend school. UNESCO founded International Literacy Day on September 8, 1967 to promote worldwide literacy, and it continues to be celebrated on September 8 every year.

Globally, literacy rates are on the rise: they are up 2.3 percent in the past 10 years and 10.6 percent in the past 20 years. While women still lag behind—representing 64 percent of all low-literate adults—they have made significant gains over time. Since 1985, the female adult literacy rate has risen 15 percent, which is about double the growth of the male literacy rate.

Building a more literate adult population is a vital step toward solving socioeconomic problems.

  • When we teach the world to read, we can lift millions out of poverty, decrease health care costs by billions, and put more people to work than ever before.
  • Educated mothers in developing countries are more likely to send their children to school than poorly educated mothers.
  • Every additional year of primary school boosts girls’ future wages by 10-20 percent.

Craven Literacy Council is dedicated to giving adults in Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties the literacy skills they need to succeed. Your time and support can help us make a difference!