WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ILLITERACY IN AMERICA
· As many as 23% of the adult American population (40-44 million) is functionally illiterate (Level 1 according to the National Adult Literacy Survey), lacking basic skills beyond a fourth-grade level.
· Illiteracy is widespread, a problem in every community, not limited to any race, region or socioeconomic class.
ILLITERACY AND ITS IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY
· Adult illiteracy costs society an estimated $240 billion each year in lost industrial productivity, unrealized tax revenues, welfare, crime, poverty, and related social ills.
ILLITERACY AND HEALTH
· Adults with low-level reading skills frequently suffer from health problems because the lack the ability to read medical directions, health-related literature or prescription labels. Chronic health conditions may go improperly monitored by patients who are functionally illiterate and the overall well-being of these individuals may worsen overtime causing frequent doctor or emergency room visits, hospitalization, or even death.
ILLITERACY AND THE WORKPLACE
· According to the NALS, 40% of the labor force in the United States has limited skills.
· American businesses lose more than $60 billion in productivity each year to employee’s lack of basic skills. (NALS)
ILITERACY AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
· The rate of illiteracy in America’s correctional systems is over 60% (National Institutes of Health)
ILLITERACY AND AMERICA’S YOUTH
· The saddest casualty of the illiteracy in America are the children who are affected by intergenerational illiteracy.
· Children of disadvantaged parents begin their school life behind their peers. Parents with minimal or no reading skills often cannot provide the kind of support their children need to do well in school.
· Analysis has shown a direct correlation between young people’s test scores and the grade level attained by their parents.
INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF ADULT LITERACY
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR LITERACY