World Literacy Rate 1976-2021

Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement about their everyday life.
  • World literacy rate for 2019 was 86.48%, a 0.23% increase from 2018.
  • World literacy rate for 2018 was 86.25%, a 0.03% increase from 2017.
  • World literacy rate for 2017 was 86.22%, a 0.23% increase from 2016.
  • World literacy rate for 2016 was 85.99%, a 0.44% increase from 2015.
Data Source: World Bank

MLA Citation:
Similar Country Ranking
Country Name Literacy Rate
East Asia & Pacific 95.77%
Latin America & Caribbean 94.29%
World 86.48%
South Asia 72.95%
Sub-Saharan Africa 65.47%
World Literacy Rate - Historical Data
Year Literacy Rate Annual Change
2019 86.48% 0.23%
2018 86.25% 0.03%
2017 86.22% 0.23%
2016 85.99% 0.44%
2015 85.54% 0.18%
2014 85.36% 0.43%
2013 84.93% 0.20%
2012 84.73% 0.45%
2011 84.28% 0.26%
2010 84.02% 0.40%
2009 83.62% 0.28%
2008 83.34% 0.52%
2007 82.82% 0.29%
2006 82.53% 0.27%
2005 82.26% -0.08%
2004 82.34% 0.42%
2003 81.92% 0.53%
2002 81.40% 0.40%
2001 80.99% 0.32%
2000 80.68% 0.13%
1999 80.55% 0.34%
1998 80.21% 1.18%
1997 79.03% 2.03%
1996 77.00% 0.41%
1995 76.58% 0.41%
1994 76.17% 0.42%
1993 75.75% 0.43%
1992 75.32% 0.45%
1991 74.88% 0.56%
1990 74.32% 0.22%
1989 74.10% 0.43%
1988 73.66% 1.70%
1987 71.96% 0.59%
1986 71.38% 0.44%
1985 70.93% 0.48%
1984 70.46% 0.53%
1983 69.92% 0.54%
1982 69.38% 0.51%
1981 68.88% 0.56%
1980 68.32% 0.29%
1979 68.03% 0.45%
1978 67.58% 0.47%
1977 67.11% 0.19%
1976 66.92% 0.19%