National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week – Facts & Stats about Adult Literacy in the US

September 22 – 28, 2014 is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

The National Coalition for Literacy has many resources available on this page.

ProLiteracy provides an International Literacy Day and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Toolkit.  It has a lot of helpful information to help you get the message out the need for literacy in the US and around the world.


Here are some facts about Adult Literacy from the ProLiteracy Toolkit:


Adult Literacy in the United States

 

More than 36 million American adults struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third grade level. The recent Program for the International Assessment of Adult Literacy (PIAAC) examined the United States and 23 other industrialized countries and found:

� The U.S. mean literacy score was below the international average�ranking 16th out of 24 countries.

� Only twelve percent of adults in the U.S. performed at the highest proficiency level on the literacy scale.

� Only nine percent of adults in the U.S. performed at the highest proficiency level on the numeracy scale.

� Only six percent of adults in the U.S. and 8 percent of adults under 35 in the U.S. performed at the highest proficiency level on the problem-solving/technology scale.
 

 

More Facts about Adult Literacy in the US
 

*  Current federal appropriations for adult basic education in the U.S. total just over $600 million, which provides funding to serve just three million individuals.

*  There is a correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck.

� Just 35 percent of individuals with below basic skills are employed full time, while 64 percent in the proficient category have full-time jobs.

� The salaries of adults with below-basic literacy skills are, on average, $28,000 less than salaries of adults with proficient skills.

� Single mothers who lack a high school degree are much more likely to be on welfare than women who have a high school degree.

� Women with low literacy are twice as likely as men to be in the lowest earnings category of $300 a week or less.

� Minimum wage workers increased wages by 18 to 25 percent within 18 months of exiting an adult education program.



Health

� People with low skills are four times more likely to have poor health (two times the national average).



Employment
 

� The percentage of employed adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency level was lower than the international average of employed adults who performed at the highest proficiency level.


� The U.S. has the highest levels of income inequality and literacy skills inequality.

Education

� Americans with a high school diploma or less scored lower in literacy, on average, than their counterparts in the other 23 countries.

� People who come from low educated families are 10 times more likely to have low literacy skills.

� The difference in literacy proficiency between people with the lowest and highest education

levels was greater in the U.S. than in any of the other 23 countries.

Demographics

� The percentage of black and Hispanic adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency level on the literacy scale was lower than the percentage of white adults.

� Literacy differences between native-born and foreign-born Americans were greater than the average internationally.

� The difference in average literacy scores between the youngest and oldest Americans was

smaller than in any other country.

Civic Engagement


� Low-literacy Americans are far more likely than high-literacy Americans to express low political engagement and understanding.
 
 

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ADULT LITERACY IN THE UNITED STATES



Current federal appropriations for adult basic education in the U.S. total just over $600 million,

which provides funding to serve just three million individuals.

There is a correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck.

� Just 35 percent of individuals with below basic skills are employed full time, while 64 percent in

the proficient category have full-time jobs.

� The salaries of adults with below-basic literacy skills are, on average, $28,000 less than salaries

of adults with proficient skills.

� Single mothers who lack a high school degree are much more likely to be on welfare than women

who have a high school degree.

� Women with low literacy are twice as likely as men to be in the lowest earnings category of $300

a week or less.

� Minimum wage workers increased wages by 18 to 25 percent within 18 months of exiting an adult

education program.


Health


� People with low skills are four times more likely to have poor health (two times the national average).


Employment


� The percentage of employed adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency level

was lower than the international average of employed adults who performed at the highest

proficiency level.

� The U.S. has the highest levels of income inequality and literacy skills inequality.


Education


� Americans with a high school diploma or less scored lower in literacy, on average, than their

counterparts in the other 23 countries.

� People who come from low educated families are 10 times more likely to have low literacy skills.

� The difference in literacy proficiency between people with the lowest and highest education

levels was greater in the U.S. than in any of the other 23 countries.


Demographics


� The percentage of black and Hispanic adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency

level on the literacy scale was lower than the percentage of white adults.

� Literacy differences between native-born and foreign-born Americans were greater than the

average internationally.

� The difference in average literacy scores between the youngest and oldest Americans was

smaller than in any other country.


Civic Engagement


� Low-literacy Americans are far more likely than high-literacy Americans to express low political

engagement and understanding.


5

ADULT LITERACY IN THE UNITED STATES



Current federal appropriations for adult basic education in the U.S. total just over $600 million,

which provides funding to serve just three million individuals.

There is a correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck.

� Just 35 percent of individuals with below basic skills are employed full time, while 64 percent in

the proficient category have full-time jobs.

� The salaries of adults with below-basic literacy skills are, on average, $28,000 less than salaries

of adults with proficient skills.

� Single mothers who lack a high school degree are much more likely to be on welfare than women

who have a high school degree.

� Women with low literacy are twice as likely as men to be in the lowest earnings category of $300

a week or less.

� Minimum wage workers increased wages by 18 to 25 percent within 18 months of exiting an adult

education program.


Health


� People with low skills are four times more likely to have poor health (two times the national average).


Employment


� The percentage of employed adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency level

was lower than the international average of employed adults who performed at the highest

proficiency level.

� The U.S. has the highest levels of income inequality and literacy skills inequality.


Education


� Americans with a high school diploma or less scored lower in literacy, on average, than their

counterparts in the other 23 countries.

� People who come from low educated families are 10 times more likely to have low literacy skills.

� The difference in literacy proficiency between people with the lowest and highest education

levels was greater in the U.S. than in any of the other 23 countries.


Demographics


� The percentage of black and Hispanic adults in the U.S. who performed at the highest proficiency

level on the literacy scale was lower than the percentage of white adults.

� Literacy differences between native-born and foreign-born Americans were greater than the

average internationally.

� The difference in average literacy scores between the youngest and oldest Americans was

smaller than in any other country.


Civic Engagement


� Low-literacy Americans are far more likely than high-literacy Americans to express low political

engagement and understanding.


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