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 hovers around 100% is seen in quite a few other countries of the world, including Azerbaijan and Cuba. Countries such as Georgia, Tajikistan, Russia, Poland, and Slovenia have also all achieved literacy rates on or near 100%. 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 near 100%. Slovakia 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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RankCountryLiteracy Rate (Rounded)
1Andorra100.0 %
2Finland100.0 %
3Holy See100.0 %
4Liechtenstein100.0 %
5Luxembourg100.0 %
6Norway100.0 %
7Democratic People's Republic of Korea100.0 %
8Latvia100.0 %
9Estonia100.0 %
10Lithuania100.0 %
11Azerbaijan100.0 %
12Poland100.0 %
13Cuba100.0 %
14Tajikistan100.0 %
15Georgia100.0 %
16Armenia100.0 %
17Ukraine100.0 %
18Kazakhstan100.0 %
19Slovenia100.0 %
20Barbados100.0 %
21Russian Federation100.0 %
22Turkmenistan100.0 %
23Belarus100.0 %
24Slovakia100.0 %
25Palau100.0 %
26Uzbekistan100.0 %
27Tonga99.0 %
28Kyrgyzstan99.0 %
29Republic of Moldova99.0 %
30Croatia99.0 %
31Italy99.0 %
32Hungary99.0 %
33Australia99.0 %
34Belgium99.0 %
35Canada99.0 %
36Czech Republic99.0 %
37Denmark99.0 %
38France99.0 %
39Germany99.0 %
40Iceland99.0 %
41Ireland99.0 %
42Japan99.0 %
43Monaco99.0 %
44Netherlands99.0 %
45New Zealand99.0 %
46Sweden99.0 %
47Switzerland99.0 %
48Tuvalu99.0 %
49United Kingdom99.0 %
50Samoa99.0 %
51Antigua and Barbuda99.0 %
52Trinidad and Tobago99.0 %
53Micronesia (Federated States of)99.0 %
54Cyprus99.0 %
55Romania99.0 %
56Montenegro98.0 %
57Maldives98.0 %
58Bulgaria98.0 %
59Marshall Islands98.0 %
60Bosnia and Herzegovina98.0 %
61Mongolia98.0 %
62Uruguay98.0 %
63Austria98.0 %
64Argentina98.0 %
65Serbia98.0 %
66Republic of Korea98.0 %
67Grenada98.0 %
68Israel98.0 %
69Spain98.0 %
70The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia98.0 %
71Greece97.0 %
72Costa Rica97.0 %
73Saint Kitts and Nevis97.0 %
74Albania97.0 %
75Chile97.0 %
76Thailand96.0 %
77Qatar96.0 %
78Brunei Darussalam96.0 %
79Saint Vincent and the Grenadines96.0 %
80San Marino96.0 %
81Singapore96.0 %
82Kuwait96.0 %
83Bahamas96.0 %
84Philippines95.0 %
85Nauru95.0 %
86China95.0 %
87Cook Islands95.0 %
88State of Palestine95.0 %
89Equatorial Guinea95.0 %
90Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)95.0 %
91Suriname95.0 %
92Bahrain95.0 %
93Portugal94.0 %
94Saudi Arabia94.0 %
95Panama94.0 %
96Seychelles94.0 %
97Paraguay94.0 %
98Peru94.0 %
99Fiji94.0 %
100Viet Nam94.0 %
101Colombia93.0 %
102Malta93.0 %
103Malaysia93.0 %
104Mexico93.0 %
105South Africa93.0 %
106Indonesia93.0 %
107Myanmar93.0 %
108Turkey93.0 %
109Jordan93.0 %
110Bolivia (Plurinational State of)92.0 %
111Ecuador92.0 %
112Dominica92.0 %
113Sri Lanka91.0 %
114Brazil90.0 %
115Libya90.0 %
116United Arab Emirates90.0 %
117Lebanon90.0 %
118Dominican Republic90.0 %
119Saint Lucia90.0 %
120Mauritius89.0 %
121Jamaica88.0 %
122Botswana87.0 %
123Burundi87.0 %
124Oman87.0 %
125United States86.0 %
126Syrian Arab Republic86.0 %
127Cabo Verde85.0 %
128Guyana85.0 %
129Honduras85.0 %
130El Salvador84.0 %
131Vanuatu84.0 %
132Iran (Islamic Republic of)84.0 %
133Zimbabwe84.0 %
134Swaziland83.0 %
135Belize83.0 %
136Gabon82.0 %
137Congo79.0 %
138Iraq79.0 %
139Tunisia79.0 %
140Guatemala78.0 %
141Nicaragua78.0 %
142Solomon Islands77.0 %
143Comoros77.0 %
144Namibia76.0 %
145Lesotho76.0 %
146Democratic Republic of the Congo75.0 %
147Sudan74.0 %
148Cambodia74.0 %
149Uganda73.0 %
150Lao People's Democratic Republic73.0 %
151Algeria73.0 %
152Kenya72.0 %
153Egypt72.0 %
154Eritrea72.0 %
155Ghana71.0 %
156Cameroon71.0 %
157Angola71.0 %
158Sao Tome and Principe70.0 %
159India69.0 %
160United Republic of Tanzania68.0 %
161Yemen68.0 %
162Morocco67.0 %
163Rwanda66.0 %
164Madagascar64.0 %
165Papua New Guinea63.0 %
166Zambia61.0 %
167Malawi61.0 %
168Togo60.0 %
169Bangladesh60.0 %
170Nepal60.0 %
171Timor-Leste58.0 %
172Guinea-Bissau58.0 %
173Pakistan55.0 %
174Gambia53.0 %
175Bhutan53.0 %
176Senegal52.0 %
177Nigeria51.0 %
178Mozambique51.0 %
179Haiti49.0 %
180Sierra Leone46.0 %
181Mauritania46.0 %
182Liberia43.0 %
183Côte d'Ivoire41.0 %
184Somalia39.0 %
185Ethiopia39.0 %
186Chad38.0 %
187Central African Republic37.0 %
188Afghanistan32.0 %
189Mali31.0 %
190Burkina Faso29.0 %
191Benin29.0 %
192South Sudan27.0 %
193Guinea25.0 %
194Niger15.0 %
195DjiboutiNA
196KiribatiNA
197NiueNA

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