Millennium Profiles Demographic & Social Energy Environment Industry National Accounts Trade. Social indicators. Introduction Statistics

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1 1 of 5 10/2/ :16 AM UN Home Department of Economic and Social Affairs Economic and Social Development Home UN logo Statistical Division Search Site map About us Contact us Millennium Profiles Demographic & Social Energy Environment Industry National Accounts Trade Indicators on illiteracy Social indicators Estimated adult (15+) illiteracy rate (%) Introduction Statistics Country or area Men Women Year Men Back Last update: 28 January 2005 Illiteracy rate (%) Ages Women Ages 25+ Women Men Albania b Algeria a Angola d Argentina a Armenia b Azerbaijan b Bahrain b Bangladesh a Barbados a Belarus a Belize b Benin a Bolivia b Bosnia and Herzegovina d Botswana a Brazil b Brunei Darussalam b Bulgaria a Burkina Faso b Burundi d Cambodia b Cameroon Cape Verde a

2 2 of 5 10/2/ :16 AM Central African Rep d Chad d Chile b China e b China, Macao SAR b Colombia a Comoros a Congo a Costa Rica a Côte d'ivoire d Croatia b Cuba a Cyprus b Dem. Rep. of the Congo d Dominican Republic d Ecuador b Egypt b El Salvador a Estonia b Ethiopia a Fiji b Ghana Guatemala a Haiti a Honduras b Hungary b Indonesia a Iran (Islamic Rep. of) Israel a Jamaica a Jordan a Kazakhstan b Kenya a Kuwait a Kyrgyzstan b Lao People's Dem. Rep c Latvia b Lesotho Liberia a Libyan Arab Jamahiriya a Lithuania b Madagascar d Malawi b Malaysia b Maldives a Mali b Malta a

3 3 of 5 10/2/ :16 AM Martinique a Mauritania a Mauritius b Mexico b Mongolia b Morocco a Mozambique a Myanmar d Namibia a Nepal b Netherlands Antilles a New Caledonia Nicaragua c Niger d Nigeria a Occupied Palestinian Ter b Oman a Pakistan b Panama b Paraguay /2001 c Peru c Philippines b Puerto Rico a Qatar b Republic of Moldova d Reunion a Romania b Russian Federation a Rwanda d Saint Lucia b Samoa a Saudi Arabia a Senegal d Serbia and Montenegro b Seychelles b Sierra Leone d Singapore b Slovakia b Slovenia a South Africa b Sri Lanka a Sudan d Swaziland d Syrian Arab Republic b Tajikistan b Thailand b The FYR of Macedonia b

4 4 of 5 10/2/ :16 AM Togo d Tonga b Trinidad and Tobago a Tunisia a Turkey b Turkmenistan b Uganda a Ukraine b United Arab Emirates a United Rep. of Tanzania a Uruguay a Uzbekistan a Venezuela b Viet Nam b f Yemen a Zimbabwe a Sources: Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Estimated adult illiteracy For estimated adult illiteracy, calculated from adult literacy rates published in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics web site accessed on January Illiteracy rate For illiteracy rate among persons aged and 25+, prepared by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Secretariat from United Nations Demographic Yearbook database (as of November 2004) and estimates of youth illiteracy published in accessed on January Footnotes: a Estimates prepared by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (July 2002 assessment). b Based on the population census of year shown. c Based on a survey. d Based on Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). e For statistical purposes the data for China do not include Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan province of China. f Data shown for ages and 30+. Back Technical notes: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines an illiterate person as

5 5 of 5 10/2/ :16 AM someone who can not, with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement on his or her everyday life. A person who can only read but not write, or can write but not read is considered to be illiterate. A person who can only write figures, his or her name or a memorized ritual phrase is also not considered literate. This definition of literacy is widely used in national population censuses and surveys but its interpretation and application may vary to some extent among countries, depending on national, social and cultural circumstances. Furthermore, this concept of literacy includes persons who, though familiar with the basics of reading and writing, might still be considered functionally illiterate. Literacy is a good measure of educational achievement in developing regions. For young people in developing regions, literacy may be a better measure of education than enrolment since it usually reflects a minimal level of successfully completed schooling. The first two columns present the latest estimates of adult (aged 15+) illiteracy prepared by UNESCO. The rates of illiteracy among persons aged and 25+ shown here are prepared from the United Nations Demographic Yearbook database and data published by UNESCO. For many countries or areas, illiteracy rates are not available from UNESCO for one or more of the following reasons: (a) illiteracy is believed to have been reduced to minimal levels through several decades of universal primary education, (b) it has not been possible to establish revised estimates following recent mass literacy campaigns, (c) not even a minimal database is available for making rough estimates, or (d) countries have preferred that no estimate be published. Back to top Statistics Division Home Contact us Search Site Map Copyright United Nations, 2005

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