- In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
- An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
- Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
- The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
- Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States:
- More than 65 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can be classified as low literate.
- Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
- Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child's vaccination chart.
- Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.