Top 25 illiteracy rates in the world

The global literacy rate for people aged 15 and up is 86.3%. The global literacy rate for all men is 90.0%, while the global literacy rate for all females is 82.7%. The rate varies by geography, with affluent nations achieving 99.2% (2013), South and West Asia achieving 70.2% (2015), and Sub-Saharan Africa achieving 64.0% (2015). More over 75% of the world’s 781 million illiterate individuals live in South Asia, West Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, with women accounting for around two-thirds of all illiterate adults. Several countries spanning various continents, from South Sudan to Nepal, have poor literacy rates. Though literacy has not always been significant on a national or global scale, we today consider literacy as a basic human right, and organisations all over the world are aiming to enhance the literacy rate of all countries worldwide. Reading and writing not only empowers a person, but it also opens up a whole new world of possibilities that are required to eradicate poverty, eliminate hunger, and see any progress in the human species as a whole. The following are the world’s top illiteracy countries.

illiteracy rates in the world
illiteracy rates in the world

The Geography of Illiteracy

According to a 2013 infographic released by the Unesco Institute for Statistics, West and South Asia account for 52% of the 774 million illiterate people aged 15 and up. Literacy rates in these areas were 70.2% in 2015, compared to 64% in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Sudan has the lowest literacy rate of any country, at 27%, followed by Afghanistan (28.1%), Burkina Faso (28.7%), Niger (28.7%), Mali (33.4%), Chad (35.4%), Somalia (37.8%), Ethiopia (39%), Guinea (41%), and Benin (42.4%). According to Unesco data, of the 774 million illiterate individuals discovered in 2013, two-thirds, or around 493 million, are women who are incapable or have difficulty reading text messages, filling out paperwork, and reading their doctor’s prescription. Furthermore, 123 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterate. Women account for 76 million of the illiterate youth, with 54 million concentrated in only nine countries: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, Egypt, and Burkina Faso.

Poverty Remains the Primary Cause

Many of the countries with the lowest literacy rates are also among the world’s poorest. The great majority of people in these countries cannot even eat three square meals a day, let alone go to school or learn to read and write. The shockingly high illiteracy rate among women in India, Pakistan, and Nigeria, on the other hand, is due to societal injustice. Women in these countries frequently receive less education, and their jobs are still primarily secondary. Recent improvements, however, are changing this norm as families see the value of education not just in their economic lives, but also in their independence.It is more crucial than ever for everyone to recognise that education is a fundamental human right that must be freely available to everyone, particularly women and children. No amount of progress will ever replace the freedom of being able to empower oneself and have the same opportunities as people in more advanced nations.

READ MORE: Largest Cities in the World by Population

Which Countries Have the Lowest Literacy Rates?

South Sudan has the world’s lowest literacy rate, at 27%.

Countries With the Lowest iLLiteracy Rates in The World

RankCountryLiteracy Rate (%)
1South Sudan27.0 %
2Afghanistan28.1 %
3Burkina Faso28.7 %
4Niger28.7 %
5Mali33.4 %
6Chad35.4 %
7Somalia37.8 %
8Ethiopia39.0 %
9Guinea41.0 %
10Benin42.4 %
11Sierra Leone43.3 %
12Haiti48.7 %
13Senegal49.7 %
14Gambia, The51.1 %
15Bhutan52.8 %
16Pakistan54.9 %
17Guinea-Bissau55.3 %
18Mozambique56.1 %
19Central African Republic56.6 %
20Cote d’Ivoire56.9 %
21Nepal57.4 %
22Bangladesh57.7 %
23Timor-Leste58.3 %
24Mauritania58.6 %
25Togo60.4 %

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