Map

Table

Illiteracy Rate by State

Illiteracy is the inability to read, write, or perform basic arithmetic functions. Illiteracy can range from extreme dyslexia to not knowing how to understand a simple sentence. It is a form of deprivation that affects adults and children alike and has a wide range of associated negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. It limits employment opportunities while also leading to poorer overall health due to limited access to accurate health information. It can also limit individuals from fully participating in their communities, accessing economic opportunities, assuming leadership roles, and gaining knowledge from books and other forms of media.

There are different types of illiteracy depending on the specific context in which it is measured. The most commonly recognized categories are functional illiteracy and digital illiteracy. Functional illiteracy refers to a person’s inability to use reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in everyday life situations. Digital literacy is the ability to use technology with confidence and competence; this includes being able to effectively utilize digital devices and access information found online. It also includes the ability to navigate the internet, evaluate sources of information critically, create content using digital tools, use appropriate etiquette when communicating online, etc.

#StateUS Illiteracy RateLiteracy RateNumeracy RatePopulation with a Bachelor's Degree
1New Mexico29.1%70.9%60.5%16%
2California28.4%71.6%64%22.1%
3Texas28.2%71.8%61.5%21.2%
4Mississippi28%72%56.6%15.4%
5Louisiana27.1%72.9%58.4%16.8%
6Nevada25.3%74.7%63.5%17.9%
7New York24.4%75.6%65.3%22.2%
8Alabama23.9%76.1%62.6%16.6%
9Florida23.7%76.3%65.2%20.6%
10Georgia23.6%76.4%63.4%20.9%
11Arizona23.4%76.6%66.8%19.8%
12Arkansas23.1%76.9%64.3%15.9%
13South Carolina22.4%77.6%65%19.6%
14District of Columbia22.3%77.7%66.1%25.2%
15Kentucky21.9%78.1%66.3%15.9%
16Tennessee21.7%78.3%66%19.2%
17North Carolina21.3%78.7%67.1%21.7%
18West Virginia20.9%79.1%67.2%14.2%
19New Jersey20.7%79.3%69.9%25.7%
20Illinois20.4%79.6%69.9%22.1%
21Rhode Island20.4%79.6%70.4%20.9%
22Delaware20.3%79.7%68.8%20.6%
23Oklahoma20.1%79.9%69%18.3%
24Maryland20%80%69.8%22.4%
25Missouri18.9%81.1%70.9%19.5%
26Virginia18.8%81.2%71.6%23.5%
27Indiana18.7%81.3%70.5%18.5%
28Pennsylvania18.1%81.9%71.3%20.6%
29Ohio17.7%82.3%71.2%18.9%
30Michigan17.6%82.4%72%19.2%
31Massachusetts17.3%82.7%74.9%25.3%
32Connecticut17.2%82.8%74%23.2%
33Kansas16.9%83.1%75%22%
34Oregon16.8%83.2%75.3%22.4%
35Colorado16.6%83.4%75.2%27.4%
36Idaho16.4%83.6%74.3%20.2%
37Nebraska16.4%83.6%75.7%22.2%
38Washington16.1%83.9%76.5%23.8%
39Hawaii15.9%84.1%76.6%22.2%
40Wisconsin15.3%84.7%75.8%21.5%
41Iowa14.9%85.1%77%20.7%
42South Dakota14.9%85.1%76.3%21.6%
43Utah14.5%85.5%77.7%24.1%
44Wyoming13.6%86.4%77.5%18.5%
45Maine13.4%86.6%77.1%22.2%
46North Dakota13.4%86.6%79%22.4%
47Minnesota13.1%86.9%79.6%25.5%
48Montana13.1%86.9%77.3%22.4%
49Vermont12.8%87.2%79%26%
50Alaska12.7%87.3%79.2%20.9%
51New Hampshire11.5%88.5%80.9%24.5%

Causes of Illiteracy

The root causes of such staggering illiteracy levels in the United States can be traced back to early childhood development, or rather, lack thereof. Inadequate funding for pre-K education programs has limited access to basic foundational reading skills for low-income families and communities who are unable to afford high-quality education systems. As a result, children from these environments often struggle academically throughout their school years and graduate with an inadequate foundation in reading comprehension and writing ability which affects their future prospects significantly. In addition, poverty also plays an integral role in adult literacy rates across America. It is estimated that nearly 38 million U.S. citizens live in poverty and experience difficulty meeting basic needs such as food and shelter; this leaves little time or resources available to pursue educational endeavors such as pursuing higher degrees or investing in literacy programs – furthering entrenching them into poverty cycles instead of breaking out from them.

Improving Literacy

There are many approaches being used to address illiteracy rates in America today. Governments at all levels are investing in programs ranging from preschool education initiatives to job training programs for out-of-work adults struggling with low literacy skills. Nonprofit organizations also offer tutoring services and other resources for those looking for help improving their reading and writing skills. Furthermore, several states have enacted legislation mandating instruction on financial literacy topics such as budgeting so that citizens can make more informed decisions about important life choices.

Illiteracy in America

In the United States, illiteracy is a serious issue that affects millions of individuals. According to a recent survey by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), 22% of American adults are functionally illiterate, meaning they possess literacy skills that are inadequate to meet the demands of everyday life. Illiteracy is significantly more prevalent among certain demographics in America. For example, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), adults who have not graduated high school demonstrate far lower rates of literacy than those who have completed college degree programs. Additionally, studies conducted by the NCES show that minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics are two-to-three times more likely to be functionally illiterate than Caucasians. Income level also plays a role in literacy levels; those living below the poverty line demonstrate far lower literacy rates than those with higher incomes. 

Functional Illiteracy

Functional illiteracy is a major issue in the United States, impacting millions of individuals. It is estimated that around 32 million adults in the United States are currently unable to read a basic book or fill out a job application due to their lack of literacy skills. In addition, nearly one-quarter of those aged 16-24 in the US have been identified as functionally illiterate, meaning they lack the ability to effectively read, write, comprehend and interpret information. This has serious implications for an individual’s quality of life, as functional illiteracy can lead to difficulty finding and keeping employment opportunities; limited access to education and training; poor financial decision making; and difficulty engaging with society or promoting political participation. Furthermore, this issue is compounded by poverty: low-income individuals are more likely to experience difficulties with reading comprehension, with those living in rural areas being particularly vulnerable due to fewer literacy resources available.

Digital Illiteracy

Digital illiteracy in the US is an increasingly pressing concern. As more and more of our lives move online, people without the necessary digital literacy skills are being left behind as they struggle to access vital services, including healthcare, education and employment. Studies have shown that low digital literacy is disproportionately linked to factors such as poverty, race and age, with those who belong to poorer and marginalized communities the most likely to lack these essential skills. Furthermore, the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities, with those who are not digitally literate facing even greater difficulties in accessing services or engaging with remote learning opportunities. It is important that we take steps to provide support for these individuals so they can gain a greater level of digital literacy in order to bridge divides and ensure equal opportunities for everyone. There are a number of initiatives already underway such as free public classes that teach basic computer skills or providing students with increased access to technology in their homes.

States With the Highest Illiteracy Rates

The three states with the highest illiteracy rate in the United States are New Mexico, California, and Texas. In New Mexico, the illiteracy rate is estimated to be around 29.1%, making it the state with the highest illiteracy rate in the country. This is followed by California and Texas, which have an illiteracy rate of 28.4% and 28.2%, respectively. Mississippi ranks fourth with an illiteracy rate of 28%. With an illiteracy rate of 27.1%, Louisiana ranks fifth in the country. Ranking sixth is Nevada with an illiteracy rate of 25.3%. New York has an illiteracy rate of 24.4% and ranks seventh. Coming in eighth place is Alabama with an illiteracy rate of 23.9%. Florida ranks ninth compared to other states in the country with an illiteracy rate of 23.7%. The tenth state with the highest illiteracy is Georgia at 23.6%.

The 10 states with the highest illiteracy rates are:

1. New Mexico – 29.1%
2. California – 28.4 %
3. Texas – 28.2%
4. Mississippi – 28%
5. Louisiana – 27.1%
6. Nevada – 25.3%
7. New York – 24.4%
8. Alabama – 23.9%
9. Florida – 23.7%
10. Georgia – 23.6%

US Illiteracy Rate by State

Alabama

See less

do_not_disturb_on

US Illiteracy Rate

help

23.9%

Ranked in the US

#8

Literacy Rate

help

76.1%

Ranked in the US

#44

Numeracy Rate

help

62.6%

Ranked in the US

#47

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

16.6%

Ranked in the US

#46

The illiteracy rate in Alabama is 23.9%, ranking the state eighth in the country. Research suggests that over half a million adults in Alabama are functionally illiterate, unable to read or write beyond a fifth-grade level. This lack of basic literacy skills can have far-reaching consequences on economic prosperity and social mobility, creating a cycle of poverty and deprivation for generations to come.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Alaska

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

12.7%

Ranked in the US

#50

Literacy Rate

help

87.3%

Ranked in the US

#2

Numeracy Rate

help

79.2%

Ranked in the US

#3

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.9%

Ranked in the US

#27

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Arizona

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

23.4%

Ranked in the US

#11

Literacy Rate

help

76.6%

Ranked in the US

#41

Numeracy Rate

help

66.8%

Ranked in the US

#36

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

19.8%

Ranked in the US

#35

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Arkansas

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

23.1%

Ranked in the US

#12

Literacy Rate

help

76.9%

Ranked in the US

#40

Numeracy Rate

help

64.3%

Ranked in the US

#43

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

15.9%

Ranked in the US

#48

The illiteracy rate in Arkansas is 23.1%, making it one of the highest among all US states, ranking twelfth in the nation. This means that almost one-fourth of the population in Arkansas is unable to read or write at a basic level, drastically hindering them from understanding and accessing vital information. The issue has been exacerbated by inadequate educational resources and facilities throughout the state, particularly affecting individuals living in rural areas and disadvantaged communities.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

California

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

28.4%

Ranked in the US

#2

Literacy Rate

help

71.6%

Ranked in the US

#50

Numeracy Rate

help

64%

Ranked in the US

#44

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.1%

Ranked in the US

#20

California has the second-highest illiteracy rate in the United State at 28.4%. The problem is particularly acute among disadvantaged groups such as minorities, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities who are more likely to lack basic literacy skills due to inadequate access to educational opportunities and language barriers.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Colorado

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.6%

Ranked in the US

#35

Literacy Rate

help

83.4%

Ranked in the US

#17

Numeracy Rate

help

75.2%

Ranked in the US

#17

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

27.4%

Ranked in the US

#1

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Connecticut

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

17.2%

Ranked in the US

#32

Literacy Rate

help

82.8%

Ranked in the US

#20

Numeracy Rate

help

74%

Ranked in the US

#21

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

23.2%

Ranked in the US

#11

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Delaware

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.3%

Ranked in the US

#22

Literacy Rate

help

79.7%

Ranked in the US

#30

Numeracy Rate

help

68.8%

Ranked in the US

#33

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.6%

Ranked in the US

#31

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

District of Columbia

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

22.3%

Ranked in the US

#14

Literacy Rate

help

77.7%

Ranked in the US

#38

Numeracy Rate

help

66.1%

Ranked in the US

#38

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

25.2%

Ranked in the US

#6

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Florida

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

23.7%

Ranked in the US

#9

Literacy Rate

help

76.3%

Ranked in the US

#43

Numeracy Rate

help

65.2%

Ranked in the US

#41

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.6%

Ranked in the US

#32

Florida’s illiteracy rate is 23.7%, ranking ninth in the nation. This is an issue that could have far-reaching implications for both individuals and the state as a whole. Studies have shown that high illiteracy rates can lead to higher unemployment, poverty, and even crime rates. Additionally, businesses may find it difficult to succeed in an environment where so many people are unable to develop basic literacy skills. The lack of literacy also leads to fewer opportunities for education, making advancement extremely difficult for those affected by low literacy levels.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Georgia

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

23.6%

Ranked in the US

#10

Literacy Rate

help

76.4%

Ranked in the US

#42

Numeracy Rate

help

63.4%

Ranked in the US

#46

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.9%

Ranked in the US

#28

Georgia has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the United States at 23.6%, ranking the state tenth. This means that close to one in four adults in Georgia are either functionally illiterate or have very limited reading and writing skills. It is even higher among certain demographics; specifically among African Americans. Georgia's literacy rate also affects other areas such as its economy, with employers lacking access to a well-educated potential workforce, leading to an overall weaker economic outlook.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Hawaii

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

15.9%

Ranked in the US

#39

Literacy Rate

help

84.1%

Ranked in the US

#13

Numeracy Rate

help

76.6%

Ranked in the US

#11

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.2%

Ranked in the US

#16

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Idaho

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.4%

Ranked in the US

#36

Literacy Rate

help

83.6%

Ranked in the US

#15

Numeracy Rate

help

74.3%

Ranked in the US

#20

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.2%

Ranked in the US

#34

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Illinois

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.4%

Ranked in the US

#20

Literacy Rate

help

79.6%

Ranked in the US

#31

Numeracy Rate

help

69.9%

Ranked in the US

#29

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.1%

Ranked in the US

#21

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Indiana

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

18.7%

Ranked in the US

#27

Literacy Rate

help

81.3%

Ranked in the US

#25

Numeracy Rate

help

70.5%

Ranked in the US

#27

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

18.5%

Ranked in the US

#41

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Iowa

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

14.9%

Ranked in the US

#41

Literacy Rate

help

85.1%

Ranked in the US

#10

Numeracy Rate

help

77%

Ranked in the US

#10

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.7%

Ranked in the US

#30

Iowa’s illiteracy rate is one of the lowest in the country with 14.9% of the population lacking reading and writing skills, ranking the state forty-first. This is due to efforts by the Iowa Department of Education which offers numerous literacy services, such as adult education and English language learning programs, to help citizens gain reading and writing skills. Additionally, over 100 local libraries statewide are supported with grants to increase access to materials and technology related to literacy development. These initiatives have resulted in steady reductions in illiteracy rates throughout the years and continue to provide educational opportunities for those who need them most.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Kansas

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.9%

Ranked in the US

#33

Literacy Rate

help

83.1%

Ranked in the US

#19

Numeracy Rate

help

75%

Ranked in the US

#18

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22%

Ranked in the US

#22

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Kentucky

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

21.9%

Ranked in the US

#15

Literacy Rate

help

78.1%

Ranked in the US

#37

Numeracy Rate

help

66.3%

Ranked in the US

#37

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

15.9%

Ranked in the US

#49

Kentucky ranks fifteenth in the nation with an illiteracy rate of 21.9%. In addition, Kentucky also faces a number of other literacy-related issues such as low educational attainment levels, high poverty rates, and a lack of quality schools and libraries within rural areas. The state has been working to reduce this figure by improving access to education and providing resources for those who need help in learning how to read.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Louisiana

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

27.1%

Ranked in the US

#5

Literacy Rate

help

72.9%

Ranked in the US

#47

Numeracy Rate

help

58.4%

Ranked in the US

#50

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

16.8%

Ranked in the US

#45

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Maine

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

13.4%

Ranked in the US

#45

Literacy Rate

help

86.6%

Ranked in the US

#6

Numeracy Rate

help

77.1%

Ranked in the US

#9

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.2%

Ranked in the US

#17

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Maryland

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20%

Ranked in the US

#24

Literacy Rate

help

80%

Ranked in the US

#28

Numeracy Rate

help

69.8%

Ranked in the US

#31

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.4%

Ranked in the US

#12

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Massachusetts

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

17.3%

Ranked in the US

#31

Literacy Rate

help

82.7%

Ranked in the US

#21

Numeracy Rate

help

74.9%

Ranked in the US

#19

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

25.3%

Ranked in the US

#5

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Michigan

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

17.6%

Ranked in the US

#30

Literacy Rate

help

82.4%

Ranked in the US

#22

Numeracy Rate

help

72%

Ranked in the US

#22

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

19.2%

Ranked in the US

#38

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Minnesota

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

13.1%

Ranked in the US

#47

Literacy Rate

help

86.9%

Ranked in the US

#4

Numeracy Rate

help

79.6%

Ranked in the US

#2

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

25.5%

Ranked in the US

#4

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Mississippi

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

28%

Ranked in the US

#4

Literacy Rate

help

72%

Ranked in the US

#48

Numeracy Rate

help

56.6%

Ranked in the US

#51

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

15.4%

Ranked in the US

#50

The illiteracy rate in Mississippi is 28%, ranking the state fourth in the United States. This lack of literacy often means that individuals are unable to find jobs that require basic writing skills or cannot comprehend medical instructions or fill out job applications. The high rate of illiteracy in Mississippi is an ongoing challenge for educators, employers, and policymakers alike.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Missouri

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

18.9%

Ranked in the US

#25

Literacy Rate

help

81.1%

Ranked in the US

#27

Numeracy Rate

help

70.9%

Ranked in the US

#26

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

19.5%

Ranked in the US

#37

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Montana

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

13.1%

Ranked in the US

#48

Literacy Rate

help

86.9%

Ranked in the US

#5

Numeracy Rate

help

77.3%

Ranked in the US

#8

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.4%

Ranked in the US

#13

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Nebraska

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.4%

Ranked in the US

#37

Literacy Rate

help

83.6%

Ranked in the US

#16

Numeracy Rate

help

75.7%

Ranked in the US

#15

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.2%

Ranked in the US

#18

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Nevada

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

25.3%

Ranked in the US

#6

Literacy Rate

help

74.7%

Ranked in the US

#46

Numeracy Rate

help

63.5%

Ranked in the US

#45

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

17.9%

Ranked in the US

#44

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

New Hampshire

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

11.5%

Ranked in the US

#51

Literacy Rate

help

88.5%

Ranked in the US

#1

Numeracy Rate

help

80.9%

Ranked in the US

#1

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

24.5%

Ranked in the US

#7

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

New Jersey

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.7%

Ranked in the US

#19

Literacy Rate

help

79.3%

Ranked in the US

#33

Numeracy Rate

help

69.9%

Ranked in the US

#30

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

25.7%

Ranked in the US

#3

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

New Mexico

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

29.1%

Ranked in the US

#1

Literacy Rate

help

70.9%

Ranked in the US

#51

Numeracy Rate

help

60.5%

Ranked in the US

#49

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

16%

Ranked in the US

#47

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

New York

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

24.4%

Ranked in the US

#7

Literacy Rate

help

75.6%

Ranked in the US

#45

Numeracy Rate

help

65.3%

Ranked in the US

#40

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.2%

Ranked in the US

#19

New York’s illiteracy rate is one of the highest in the nation at 24.4%, ranking the state seventh. While there are a variety of reasons for this high illiteracy rate, one main factor is the lack of resources and programs to help those who are struggling with reading and writing. Additionally, there are high rates of poverty in certain areas that make it difficult for people to get access to education and literacy services.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

North Carolina

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

21.3%

Ranked in the US

#17

Literacy Rate

help

78.7%

Ranked in the US

#35

Numeracy Rate

help

67.1%

Ranked in the US

#35

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

21.7%

Ranked in the US

#23

The illiteracy rate in North Carolina is 21.3%, ranking the state seventeenth. Approximately one out of every five North Carolinians lacks basic literacy skills, making them vulnerable to poverty and unemployment. Education initiatives in the state have been working to reduce this figure, but a lack of financial resources as well as societal challenges such as language barriers and limited access to learning opportunities are making progress difficult.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

North Dakota

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

13.4%

Ranked in the US

#46

Literacy Rate

help

86.6%

Ranked in the US

#7

Numeracy Rate

help

79%

Ranked in the US

#4

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.4%

Ranked in the US

#14

North Dakota has one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the nation at 13.4%, ranking the state forty-sixth. It is a testament to North Dakota's commitment to education, as well as its investment in initiatives that help increase access to educational resources for those who need them most. Additionally, literacy programs funded by the state government have had a considerable impact on decreasing illiteracy rates in North Dakota.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Ohio

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

17.7%

Ranked in the US

#29

Literacy Rate

help

82.3%

Ranked in the US

#23

Numeracy Rate

help

71.2%

Ranked in the US

#25

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

18.9%

Ranked in the US

#40

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Oklahoma

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.1%

Ranked in the US

#23

Literacy Rate

help

79.9%

Ranked in the US

#29

Numeracy Rate

help

69%

Ranked in the US

#32

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

18.3%

Ranked in the US

#43

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Oregon

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.8%

Ranked in the US

#34

Literacy Rate

help

83.2%

Ranked in the US

#18

Numeracy Rate

help

75.3%

Ranked in the US

#16

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

22.4%

Ranked in the US

#15

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Pennsylvania

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

18.1%

Ranked in the US

#28

Literacy Rate

help

81.9%

Ranked in the US

#24

Numeracy Rate

help

71.3%

Ranked in the US

#24

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.6%

Ranked in the US

#33

Pennsylvania’s illiteracy rate is 18.1%, ranking the state twenty-eighth compared to the rest of the country. This means that there are more than 1.5 million adults in the state who lack basic literacy skills and are unable to access information and resources. Additionally, literacy rates vary among gender, age group, and race. The data also shows that low-income households have a much higher illiteracy rate.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Rhode Island

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.4%

Ranked in the US

#21

Literacy Rate

help

79.6%

Ranked in the US

#32

Numeracy Rate

help

70.4%

Ranked in the US

#28

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

20.9%

Ranked in the US

#29

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

South Carolina

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

22.4%

Ranked in the US

#13

Literacy Rate

help

77.6%

Ranked in the US

#39

Numeracy Rate

help

65%

Ranked in the US

#42

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

19.6%

Ranked in the US

#36

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

South Dakota

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

14.9%

Ranked in the US

#42

Literacy Rate

help

85.1%

Ranked in the US

#11

Numeracy Rate

help

76.3%

Ranked in the US

#13

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

21.6%

Ranked in the US

#24

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Tennessee

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

21.7%

Ranked in the US

#16

Literacy Rate

help

78.3%

Ranked in the US

#36

Numeracy Rate

help

66%

Ranked in the US

#39

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

19.2%

Ranked in the US

#39

The illiteracy rate in Tennessee is 21.7% which ranks the state sixteenth in the United States. Despite a steady decline in the past years, low literacy skills are a major problem in Tennessee and can lead to decreased job opportunities and financial instability for those individuals who cannot access basic education resources.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Texas

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

28.2%

Ranked in the US

#3

Literacy Rate

help

71.8%

Ranked in the US

#49

Numeracy Rate

help

61.5%

Ranked in the US

#48

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

21.2%

Ranked in the US

#26

Texas has the third-highest illiteracy rate in the country at 28.2%. The problem is particularly severe among disadvantaged populations such as recent immigrants, refugees, and those living in poverty. With inadequate access to quality education opportunities, these individuals are at risk of facing long-term disadvantages due to their limited literacy abilities, including difficulties finding employment and participating fully in society. In order to combat this problem, initiatives have been created by state governments and organizations that focus on outreach programs, volunteer tutoring, and providing resources to those with low literacy levels.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Utah

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

14.5%

Ranked in the US

#43

Literacy Rate

help

85.5%

Ranked in the US

#9

Numeracy Rate

help

77.7%

Ranked in the US

#6

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

24.1%

Ranked in the US

#8

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Vermont

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

12.8%

Ranked in the US

#49

Literacy Rate

help

87.2%

Ranked in the US

#3

Numeracy Rate

help

79%

Ranked in the US

#5

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

26%

Ranked in the US

#2

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Virginia

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

18.8%

Ranked in the US

#26

Literacy Rate

help

81.2%

Ranked in the US

#26

Numeracy Rate

help

71.6%

Ranked in the US

#23

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

23.5%

Ranked in the US

#10

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Washington

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

16.1%

Ranked in the US

#38

Literacy Rate

help

83.9%

Ranked in the US

#14

Numeracy Rate

help

76.5%

Ranked in the US

#12

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

23.8%

Ranked in the US

#9

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

West Virginia

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

20.9%

Ranked in the US

#18

Literacy Rate

help

79.1%

Ranked in the US

#34

Numeracy Rate

help

67.2%

Ranked in the US

#34

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

14.2%

Ranked in the US

#51

The illiteracy rate in West Virginia is 20.9% which ranks the state eighteenth compared to the rest of the nation. This can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of educational resources in rural areas and a disproportionate number of individuals living below the poverty line. Additionally, West Virginia has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the entire United States.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Wisconsin

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

15.3%

Ranked in the US

#40

Literacy Rate

help

84.7%

Ranked in the US

#12

Numeracy Rate

help

75.8%

Ranked in the US

#14

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

21.5%

Ranked in the US

#25

Wisconsin has one of the lowest illiteracy rates at 15.3%, ranking the state fortieth. The state boasts numerous initiatives that encourage life-long learning for all ages including public libraries, strong public schools and universities, as well as a wide network of adult education centers that provide specialized classes, such as English language instruction for immigrants. Additionally, Wisconsin has implemented several programs aimed at improving access to educational resources and materials for families living in poverty or rural areas.

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

Wyoming

See more

add_circle

US Illiteracy Rate

help

13.6%

Ranked in the US

#44

Literacy Rate

help

86.4%

Ranked in the US

#8

Numeracy Rate

help

77.5%

Ranked in the US

#7

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

help

18.5%

Ranked in the US

#42

US Illiteracy Rate

Literacy Rate

Numeracy Rate

Population with a Bachelor's Degree

FAQs

Which state has the highest illiteracy rate?

The state with the highest illiteracy rate is New Mexico at 29.1%.

What is illiteracy?

Illiteracy is the inability to read or write, or both. It can also be defined as a lack of knowledge or understanding in reading, writing, and arithmetic. There are several different types of illiteracy that can be identified. Functional illiteracy is when an individual has basic skills but lacks the ability to comprehend more complex material. Digital literacy refers to an individual’s ability to use digital tools such as computers and smartphones for communication, entertainment, learning, and problem-solving.

What are the literacy rates par state?

1. New Hampshire – 88.50%
2. Alaska – 87.30%
3. Vermont – 87.20%
4. Minnesota – 86.90%
5. Montana – 86.90%
6. Maine – 86.60%
7. North Dakota – 86.60%
8. Wyoming – 86.40%
9. Utah – 85.50%
10. Iowa – 85.10%
11. South Dakota – 85.10%
12. Wisconsin – 84.70%
13. Hawaii – 84.10%
14. Washington – 83.90%
15. Idaho – 83.60%
16. Nebraska – 83.60%
17. Colorado – 83.40%
18. Oregon – 83.20%
19. Kansas – 83.10%
20. Connecticut – 82.80%
21. Massachusetts – 82.70%
22. Michigan – 82.40%
23. Ohio – 82.30%
24. Pennsylvania – 81.90%
25. Indiana – 81.30%
26. Virginia – 81.20%
27. Missouri – 81.10%
28. Maryland – 80%
29. Oklahoma – 79.90%
30. Delaware – 79.70%
31. Illinois – 79.60%
32. Rhode Island – 79.60%
33. New Jersey – 79.30%
34. West Virginia – 79.10%
35. North Carolina – 78.70%
36. Tennessee – 78.30%
37. Kentucky – 78.10%
38. District of Columbia – 77.70%
39. South Carolina – 77.60%
40. Arkansas – 76.90%
41. Arizona – 76.60%
42. Georgia – 76.40%
43. Florida – 76.30%
44. Alabama – 76.10%
45. New York – 75.60%
46. Nevada – 74.70%
47. Louisiana – 72.90%
48. Mississippi – 72%
49. Texas – 71.80%
50. California – 71.60%
51. New Mexico – 70.90%