25 Countries With The Highest Literacy Rates

Due to quality educational systems, these countries boast literacy rates at or near 100%.

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, Greenland, 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%. Slightly lower on the literacy curve we see that rates of around 99.7 % seem to dominate much of the developed first- and second-tier societies of our planet. Georgia, Tajikistan, Russia, Barbados, Poland, and Slovenia all proudly stand in front of the world with such literacy rates. 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” can lay claim to having some of the highest access to tertiary level educational opportunities in the world.

Should Others 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.

The Highest Literacy Rates In The World

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RankCountryLiteracy Rate (% of Population)
1Andorra100.0 %
2Finland100.0 %
3Greenland100.0 %
4Liechtenstein100.0 %
5Luxembourg100.0 %
6Norway100.0 %
7Azerbaijan99.8 %
8Latvia99.8 %
9Cuba99.8 %
10Estonia99.8 %
11Georgia99.7 %
12Tajikistan99.7 %
13Ukraine99.7 %
14Russia99.7 %
15Poland99.7 %
16Slovenia99.7 %
17Kazakhstan99.7 %
18Lithuania99.7 %
19Barbados99.7 %
20Armenia99.6 %
21Slovakia99.6 %
22Turkmenistan99.6 %
23Belarus99.6 %
24Uzbekistan99.4 %
25Kyrgyzstan99.2 %

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