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Literacy Statistics 2022-2023

Literacy Data and its impact on the Nation

  • Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 130 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children

  • 21% of adults in the US are illiterate in 2022

  • 54% of adults have a literacy below 6th grade level

  • 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level

  • 44% of the American adults do not read a book in a year

  • The Top 3 states for highest child literacy rates were Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Hampshire, in that order (highest to lowest).

  • The Bottom 3 states for child literacy rates were Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico, (highest to lowest).

Literacy Data and its impact on the  Economy

  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read

  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage

  • 50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate

  • Between 46% and 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read

  • Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year

  • School dropouts cost our nation $240 billion in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues

Literacy Data and its impact on Society

  • 3 out of 5 people in American prisons can’t read

  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests

  • 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading

  • Approximately 50% of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading prescription drug labels

Literacy Data and its impact in the classroom

  • Approximately 40% of students across the nation cannot read at a basic level.

  • Almost 70% of low-income fourth grade students cannot read at a basic level.

  • 49% of 4th graders eligible for free and reduced-price meals finished below “Basic” on the NAEP reading test.

  • Teacher disposition changes drastically during reading instruction with  poor readers.

  • Student disposition changes when they are made to feel inadequate.

  • Students struggle in other academic areas.

  • 60% of the behavioral problems occur during reading assignments- group or independently.

  • Struggling readers suffer socially.

  • Struggling readers suffer emotionally.

  • The student's family feels the emotions and social effects.


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