Understanding Illiteracy

As education becomes more available throughout the U.S. and the world at large, illiteracy rates are steadily declining. Still, an inability to read is an incredibly widespread and common problem, even in the United States. Additionally, reading literacy is not the only issue. Many Americans can not perform mathematical tasks required be even the most basic job positions. It is clear that there are issues in the educational system that are allowing students to pass through without having adequately learned what should be required. The following infographic takes a look at literacy in the U.S. and around the world.



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Understanding Illiteracy World Reading Literacy Legend 0-49% 50-69% 70-79% 80-89% 90-94% 95-100% World Illiteracy 1970-2010 US Reading Literacy Percentage of the population of each state that has below a 5th grade level of literacy Legend 30% or greater 20% to 30% 15% to 20% 10% to 15% 42 million American adults can’t read 50 million American adults are unable to read above a 5th grade level. The number of American adults who are classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million each year. 20% Of high school seniors can be classified as being functionally illiterate at the time they graduate. 70% Of prisoners in state and federal systems can be classified as illiterate. 85% Of all juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate. 43% Of those with the lowest literacy skill live in poverty. U.S. Math Literacy According to the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy, U.S. adults are terrible at solving real-world math problems like calculating tips or comparing prices in grocery stores. Here are some dismal facts: 42 Of Americans are able to pick out two items on a menu, add them, and calculate a tip. 1 in 5 Americans can reliably calculate mortgage interest. The other 4 can’t. 1 in 5 Americans can’t calculate weekly salary when told an hourly pay rate. 13% Of Americans are “proficient” at math. Worse yet, only 1 in 10 women, 1 in 25 Hispanics and 1 in 50 African Americans made the grade. 20 Million Americans pay someone to file their 1040EZ, a one-page tax form with about 10 blanks to complete. 25th The U.S. ranks 25 among 30 industrialized nations in math scores, down near Serbia and Uruguay. However, one study showed U.S. students believed their scores would be the highest of any nation. Rejected Half of all 17 year olds do not have the math skills required to work in an auto plant, according to the President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

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