Society

List of Countries By Literacy Rate

The rate of literacy refers to the ability to sufficiently read and write. Many factors, such as accessibility and quality of education, can contribute to these rates.

Over the past several decades, global literacy rates have significantly increased. The main reasons for such an upward trend stems from the evolution of the educational system of many developing countries, and an increased acknowledgement of the importance of education to these societies in their respective entireties. Still, many nations are struggling with the provision of educational resources to better their populaces, building the necessary infrastructure it requires and ensuring regular enrollment of students within their schools. Nonetheless, even those countries lagging well behind global norms realize how necessary it is to supply high quality education to the masses in order to compete and succeed in the global market.

According to the latest research on literacy and learning, we find many countries from all around the world with a literacy rate of more than 95 percent. To help readers learn more about the world leaders in this field, we have highlighted the countries with the highest literacy rates from across the globe.

Making 100% Literacy Rates Happen

High educational standards are seen in countries all around the world, but the literacy rate in some countries, like Andorra, Luxembourg, Norway, Liechtenstein and a few others can’t be ignored. Within these, literacy reaches virtually 100 percent.

Andorra is one such country with virtually 100% of its populace being literate. A part of Southwestern Europe, its government directs by law that every child between the ages of 6 and 16 is required to submit to compulsory attendance within its school systems. The Andorran government has managed to provide free schooling up to the secondary level of education. This, along with a percentage of its GDP being allotted for the education sector, has resulted in very high literacy rates in Andorra. Similar practices are observed in other countries, such as Finland, where around 7% of GDP is spent on education.

Other Nations with Near-Complete Literacy

A literacy rate that drops to a percentage just below 100% is seen in quite a few countries of the world, including Azerbaijan and Cuba, where the rates stand at around 99.8%. Countries such as Georgia, Tajikistan, Russia, Poland, and Slovenia all boost literacy rates of over 99.5%. Focusing on Russia, it is estimated that 53% of the population there receives some form of tertiary education. The government believes in free educational deliverance systems, and the fields greatly focused on therein are in “STEM” fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Turning towards countries like Slovakia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, they remain in the range between 99.6% and 99.2%. Slovakia, a country with a 99.6% literacy rate, has 20 publicly operated universities and 10 private universities. Indeed, citizens from many of the countries constituting the former Soviet Union and “Eastern Bloc” countries can lay claim to having some of the highest access to tertiary level educational opportunities in the world.

Should Other Countries Follow the Leaders?

The decrements seen as we move from the top of the list for countries with the highest literacy rates down to the bottom can be largely explained by the percentage of these countries’ respective GDPs that are apportioned to the education sector. A lack of educational infrastructure, as well as how important the population of a country considers attaining education, greatly influences literacy rates. From the countries where literacy rates are the highest, we see that proactive public instruction policies and the emphasizing of educational spending within government budgets can go a long way in increasing a population’s knowledge base.

Literacy Rate by Country

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RankCountry Literacy Rate (est.)
1Andorra100.0 %
2Finland100.0 %
3Vatican City100.0 %
4Liechtenstein100.0 %
5Luxembourg100.0 %
6Norway100.0 %
7Democratic People's Republic of Korea100.0 %
8Latvia99.9 %
9Estonia99.9 %
10Lithuania99.8 %
11Azerbaijan99.8 %
12Poland99.8 %
13Cuba99.8 %
14Tajikistan99.8 %
15Georgia99.7 %
16Armenia99.7 %
17Ukraine99.7 %
18Kazakhstan99.7 %
19Slovenia99.7 %
20Russian Federation99.7 %
21Turkmenistan99.7 %
22Belarus99.6 %
23Slovakia99.6 %
24Palau99.5 %
25Uzbekistan99.5 %
26Tonga99.4 %
27Kyrgyzstan99.2 %
28Republic of Moldova99.2 %
29Croatia99.1 %
30Italy99.1 %
31Hungary99.0 %
32Australia99.0 %
33Austria99.0 %
34Barbados99.0 %
35Belgium99.0 %
36Japan99.0 %
37Canada99.0 %
38Czech Republic99.0 %
39Denmark99.0 %
40France99.0 %
41Germany99.0 %
42Iceland99.0 %
43Ireland99.0 %
44Monaco99.0 %
45Netherlands99.0 %
46New Zealand99.0 %
47Sweden99.0 %
48Switzerland99.0 %
49Tuvalu99.0 %
50United Kingdom99.0 %
51United States99.0 %
52Samoa99.0 %
53Antigua and Barbuda99.0 %
54Trinidad and Tobago98.9 %
55Micronesia (Federated States of)98.8 %
56Cyprus98.7 %
57Romania98.6 %
58Montenegro98.4 %
59Maldives98.4 %
60Bulgaria98.4 %
61Marshall Islands98.3 %
62Bosnia and Herzegovina98.3 %
63Mongolia98.3 %
64Uruguay98.1 %
65Saint Kitts and Nevis98.0 %
66Argentina98.0 %
67Serbia98.0 %
68Republic of Korea97.9 %
69Grenada97.8 %
70Israel97.8 %
71Spain97.7 %
72The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia97.6 %
73Greece97.5 %
74Costa Rica97.4 %
75Albania96.8 %
76Chile96.7 %
77Thailand96.4 %
78Qatar96.3 %
79Brunei Darussalam96.1 %
80Saint Vincent and the Grenadines96.0 %
81San Marino96.0 %
82Singapore95.9 %
83Bahamas95.6 %
84Kuwait95.5 %
85Philippines95.4 %
86Nauru95.3 %
87China95.1 %
88Niue95.0 %
89State of Palestine94.9 %
90Equatorial Guinea94.8 %
91Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)94.8 %
92Suriname94.7 %
93Bahrain94.6 %
94Portugal94.5 %
95Saudi Arabia94.4 %
96Panama94.1 %
97Seychelles94.0 %
98Paraguay93.9 %
99Peru93.8 %
100Fiji93.7 %
101Viet Nam93.5 %
102Colombia93.4 %
103Malta93.3 %
104Malaysia93.1 %
105Mexico93.1 %
106South Africa92.9 %
107Indonesia92.8 %
108Myanmar92.8 %
109Turkey92.7 %
110Jordan92.6 %
111Bolivia (Plurinational State of)92.2 %
112Ecuador91.9 %
113Dominica91.8 %
114Sri Lanka91.2 %
115Brazil90.4 %
116Libya90.3 %
117Saint Lucia90.1 %
118United Arab Emirates90.0 %
119Lebanon89.6 %
120Dominican Republic89.5 %
121Mauritius89.2 %
122Jamaica87.9 %
123Botswana87.3 %
124Burundi86.9 %
125Oman86.9 %
126Syrian Arab Republic85.5 %
127Cabo Verde85.3 %
128Guyana85.0 %
129Honduras84.8 %
130El Salvador84.5 %
131Vanuatu84.0 %
132Iran (Islamic Republic of)83.6 %
133Zimbabwe83.6 %
134Swaziland83.1 %
135Belize82.7 %
136Gabon82.3 %
137Congo79.3 %
138Iraq79.3 %
139Tunisia79.1 %
140Guatemala78.3 %
141Nicaragua78.0 %
142Solomon Islands76.6 %
143Comoros76.6 %
144Namibia76.5 %
145Lesotho75.8 %
146Democratic Republic of the Congo75.0 %
147Sudan74.3 %
148Cambodia73.9 %
149Uganda73.2 %
150Lao People's Democratic Republic72.7 %
151Algeria72.6 %
152Kenya72.2 %
153Egypt72.0 %
154Eritrea71.6 %
155Ghana71.5 %
156Cameroon71.3 %
157Angola70.8 %
158Sao Tome and Principe69.5 %
159India69.3 %
160United Republic of Tanzania67.8 %
161Yemen67.6 %
162Morocco67.1 %
163Rwanda65.9 %
164Madagascar64.5 %
165Papua New Guinea63.3 %
166Zambia61.4 %
167Malawi61.3 %
168Togo60.4 %
169Bangladesh59.7 %
170Nepal59.6 %
171Timor-Leste58.3 %
172Guinea-Bissau57.8 %
173Pakistan55.4 %
174Gambia53.2 %
175Bhutan52.8 %
176Senegal52.1 %
177Nigeria51.1 %
178Mozambique50.6 %
179Haiti48.7 %
180Sierra Leone45.7 %
181Mauritania45.5 %
182Liberia42.9 %
183Côte d'Ivoire41.0 %
184Ethiopia39.0 %
185Chad38.2 %
186Somalia37.8 %
187Central African Republic36.8 %
188Afghanistan31.7 %
189Mali31.1 %
190Burkina Faso28.7 %
191Benin28.7 %
192South Sudan26.8 %
193Guinea25.3 %
194Niger15.5 %
195KiribatiN/A
196DjiboutiN/A

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