This entry includes a definition of literacy and UNESCO's percentage estimates for populations aged 15 years and over, including total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook. Information on literacy, while not a perfect measure of educational results, is probably the most easily available and valid for international comparisons. Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world.

  • Afghanistan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 43%

    male: 55.5%

    female: 29.8% (2018)

  • Albania

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.1%

    male: 98.5%

    female: 97.8% (2018)

  • Algeria

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 81.4%

    male: 87.4%

    female: 75.3% (2018)

  • Andorra

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 100%

    male: 100%

    female: 100% (2016)

  • Angola

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 71.1%

    male: 82%

    female: 60.7% (2015)

  • Antigua and Barbuda

    definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling

    total population: 99%

    male: 98.4%

    female: 99.4% (2015)

  • Argentina

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99%

    male: 98.9%

    female: 99.1% (2018)

  • Armenia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.7%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.7% (2017)

  • Aruba

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.8%

    male: 97.8%

    female: 97.8% (2018)

  • Azerbaijan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 99.7% (2017)

  • Bahrain

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.5%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 94.9% (2018)

  • Bangladesh

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 73.9%

    male: 76.7%

    female: 71.2% (2018)

  • Barbados

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.6%

    male: 99.6%

    female: 99.6% (2014)

  • Belarus

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.7% (2018)

  • Benin

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 42.4%

    male: 54%

    female: 31.1% (2018)

  • Bhutan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 66.6%

    male: 75%

    female: 57.1% (2017)

  • Bolivia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 92.5%

    male: 96.5%

    female: 88.6% (2015)

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.5%

    male: 99.5%

    female: 97.5% (2015)

  • Botswana

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 88.5%

    male: 88%

    female: 88.9% (2015)

  • Brazil

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 93.2%

    male: 93%

    female: 93.4% (2018)

  • Brunei

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.2%

    male: 98.1%

    female: 93.4% (2018)

  • Bulgaria

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.4%

    male: 98.7%

    female: 98.1% (2015)

  • Burkina Faso

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 41.2%

    male: 50.1%

    female: 32.7% (2018)

  • Burma

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 75.6%

    male: 80%

    female: 71.8% (2016)

  • Burundi

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 68.4%

    male: 76.3%

    female: 61.2% (2017)

  • Cabo Verde

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 86.8%

    male: 91.7%

    female: 82% (2015)

  • Cambodia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 80.5%

    male: 86.5%

    female: 75% (2015)

  • Cameroon

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 77.1%

    male: 82.6%

    female: 71.6% (2018)

  • Cayman Islands

    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

    total population: 98.9%

    male: 98.7%

    female: 99% (2007)

  • Central African Republic

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 37.4%

    male: 49.5%

    female: 25.8% (2018)

  • Chad

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write French or Arabic

    total population: 22.3%

    male: 31.3%

    female: 14% (2016)

  • Chile

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.4%

    male: 96.3%

    female: 96.3% (2017)

  • China

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.8%

    male: 98.5%

    female: 95.2% (2018)

  • Colombia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.1%

    male: 94.9%

    female: 95.3% (2018)

  • Comoros

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 58.8%

    male: 64.6%

    female: 53% (2018)

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba

    total population: 77%

    male: 88.5%

    female: 66.5% (2016)

  • Congo, Republic of the

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 80.3%

    male: 86.1%

    female: 74.6% (2018)

  • Costa Rica

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.9%

    male: 97.8%

    female: 97.9% (2018)

  • Cote d'Ivoire

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 47.2%

    male: 53.7%

    female: 40.5% (2018)

  • Croatia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.3%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 98.9% (2015)

  • Cuba

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 99.8% (2015)

  • Cyprus

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.1%

    male: 99.5%

    female: 98.7% (2015)

  • Czechia

    definition: NA

    total population: 99%

    male: 99%

    female: 99% (2011)

  • Dominican Republic

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 93.8%

    male: 93.8%

    female: 93.8% (2016)

  • Ecuador

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 92.8%

    male: 93.8%

    female: 92.1% (2017)

  • Egypt

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 71.2%

    male: 76.5%

    female: 65.5% (2017)

  • El Salvador

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 88.5%

    male: 90.6%

    female: 86.7% (2017)

  • Equatorial Guinea

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.3%

    male: 97.4%

    female: 93% (2015)

  • Eritrea

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 76.6%

    male: 84.4%

    female: 68.9% (2018)

  • Estonia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.8% (2015)

  • Eswatini

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 88.4%

    male: 88.3%

    female: 88.5% (2015)

  • Ethiopia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 51.8%

    male: 57.2%

    female: 44.4% (2017)

  • Fiji

    total population: 99.1%

    male: 99.1%

    female: 99.1% (2018)

  • Gabon

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 84.7%

    male: 85.9%

    female: 83.4% (2018)

  • Gambia, The

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 50.8%

    male: 61.8%

    female: 41.6% (2015)

  • Gaza Strip

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.2%

    male: 98.7%

    female: 95.7% (2018)

    note: estimates are for Gaza and the West Bank

  • Georgia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.4%

    male: 99.4%

    female: 99.3% (2017)

  • Ghana

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 76.6%

    male: 82%

    female: 71.4% (2015)

  • Greece

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.7%

    male: 98.5%

    female: 96.9% (2015)

  • Greenland

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 100%

    male: 100%

    female: 100% (2015)

  • Grenada

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.6%

    male: 98.6%

    female: 98.6% (2014 est.)

  • Guatemala

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 81.5%

    male: 87.4%

    female: 76.3% (2015)

  • Guinea

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 30.4%

    male: 38.1%

    female: 22.8% (2015)

  • Guinea-Bissau

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 59.9%

    male: 71.8%

    female: 48.3% (2015)

  • Guyana

    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

    total population: 88.5%

    male: 87.2%

    female: 89.8% (2015)

  • Haiti

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 61.7%

    male: 65.3%

    female: 58.3% (2016)

  • Honduras

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 87.2%

    male: 87.1%

    female: 87.3% (2016)

  • Hungary

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.1%

    male: 99.1%

    female: 99% (2015)

  • India

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 74.4%

    male: 82.4%

    female: 65.8% (2018)

  • Indonesia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.7%

    male: 97.3%

    female: 94% (2018)

  • Iran

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 85.5%

    male: 90.4%

    female: 80.8% (2016)

  • Iraq

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 50.1%

    male: 56.2%

    female: 44% (2018)

  • Israel

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.8%

    male: 98.7%

    female: 96.8% (2011)

  • Italy

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.2%

    male: 99.4%

    female: 99% (2018)

  • Jamaica

    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

    total population: 88.7%

    male: 84%

    female: 93.1% (2015)

  • Jordan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.2%

    male: 98.6%

    female: 97.8% (2018)

  • Kazakhstan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.8% (2015)

  • Kenya

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 81.5%

    male: 85%

    female: 78.2% (2018)

  • Korea, North

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 100%

    male: 100%

    female: 100% (2015)

  • Korea, South

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2019)

    total population: 98% (2019)

    male: 99.2%

    female: 96.6%

  • Kuwait

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.1%

    male: 96.7%

    female: 94.9% (2018)

  • Kyrgyzstan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.6%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 99.5% (2018)

  • Laos

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 84.7%

    male: 90%

    female: 79.4% (2015)

  • Latvia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.9%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 99.9% (2015)

  • Lebanon

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.1%

    male: 96.9%

    female: 93.3% (2018)

  • Lesotho

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 79.4%

    male: 70.1%

    female: 88.3% (2015)

  • Liberia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 48.3%

    male: 62.7%

    female: 34.1% (2017)

  • Libya

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 91%

    male: 96.7%

    female: 85.6% (2015)

  • Lithuania

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.8% (2015)

  • Macau

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.5%

    male: 98.2%

    female: 95% (2016)

  • Madagascar

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 74.8%

    male: 77.3%

    female: 72.4% (2018)

  • Malawi

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 62.1%

    male: 69.8%

    female: 55.2% (2015)

  • Malaysia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 93.7%

    male: 96.3%

    female: 91.1% (2016)

  • Maldives

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.7%

    male: 97.3%

    female: 98.1% (2016)

  • Mali

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 35.5%

    male: 46.2%

    female: 25.7% (2018)

  • Malta

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 94.5%

    male: 93%

    female: 96% (2018)

  • Marshall Islands

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.3%

    male: 98.3%

    female: 98.2% (2011)

  • Mauritania

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 53.5%

    male: 63.7%

    female: 43.4% (2017)

  • Mauritius

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 91.3%

    male: 93.4%

    female: 89.4% (2018)

  • Mexico

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.4%

    male: 95.8%

    female: 94.6% (2018)

  • Moldova

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.4%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 99.1% (2015)

  • Mongolia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.4%

    male: 98.2%

    female: 98.6% (2018)

  • Montenegro

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.8%

    male: 99.5%

    female: 98.3% (2018)

  • Morocco

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 73.8%

    male: 83.3%

    female: 64.6% (2018)

    note: does not include data from the former Western Sahara

  • Mozambique

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 60.7%

    male: 72.6%

    female: 50.3% (2017)

  • Namibia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 91.5%

    male: 91.6%

    female: 91.4% (2018)

  • Nepal

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 67.9%

    male: 78.6%

    female: 59.7% (2018)

  • New Caledonia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.9%

    male: 97.3%

    female: 96.5% (2015)

  • Nicaragua

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 82.6%

    male: 82.4%

    female: 82.8% (2015)

  • Niger

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 19.1%

    male: 27.3%

    female: 11% (2015)

  • Nigeria

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 62%

    male: 71.3%

    female: 52.7% (2018)

  • North Macedonia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.8%

    male: 98.8%

    female: 96.8% (2015)

  • Oman

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.7%

    male: 97%

    female: 92.7% (2018)

  • Pakistan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 59.1%

    male: 71.1%

    female: 46.5% (2015)

  • Palau

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.6%

    male: 96.8%

    female: 96.3% (2015)

  • Panama

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.4%

    male: 96%

    female: 94.9% (2018)

  • Papua New Guinea

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 64.2%

    male: 65.6%

    female: 62.8% (2015)

  • Paraguay

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 94%

    male: 94.5%

    female: 93.5% (2018)

  • Peru

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 94.4%

    male: 97.1%

    female: 91.7% (2018)

  • Philippines

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.2%

    male: 98.1%

    female: 98.2% (2015)

  • Poland

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 99.7% (2015)

  • Portugal

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.1%

    male: 97.4%

    female: 95.1% (2018)

  • Puerto Rico

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 92.4%

    male: 92.4%

    female: 92.4% (2017)

  • Qatar

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 93.5%

    male: 92.4%

    female: 94.7% (2017)

  • Romania

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.8%

    male: 99.1%

    female: 98.6% (2018)

  • Russia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.7%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 99.7% (2018)

  • Rwanda

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 73.2%

    male: 77.6%

    female: 69.4% (2018)

  • Samoa

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.1%

    male: 99%

    female: 99.2% (2018)

  • San Marino

    total population: 99.9%

    male: 99.9%

    female: 99.9% (2018)

  • Sao Tome and Principe

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 92.8%

    male: 96.2%

    female: 89.5% (2018)

  • Saudi Arabia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.3%

    male: 97.1%

    female: 92.7% (2017)

  • Senegal

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 51.9%

    male: 64.8%

    female: 39.8% (2017)

  • Serbia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.3%

    male: 99.1%

    female: 97.5% (2016)

  • Seychelles

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95.9%

    male: 95.4%

    female: 96.4% (2018)

  • Sierra Leone

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic

    total population: 43.2%

    male: 51.6%

    female: 39.8% (2018)

  • Singapore

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.3%

    male: 98.9%

    female: 95.9% (2018)

  • Slovenia

    definition: NA

    total population: 99.7%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 99.7% (2015)

  • South Africa

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 87%

    male: 87.7%

    female: 86.5% (2017)

  • South Sudan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 34.5%

    male: 40.3%

    female: 28.9% (2018)

  • Spain

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.4%

    male: 98.9%

    female: 98% (2018)

  • Sri Lanka

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 91.9%

    male: 93%

    female: 91% (2017)

  • Sudan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 60.7%

    male: 65.4%

    female: 56.1% (2018)

  • Suriname

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 94.4%

    male: 96.1%

    female: 92.7% (2018)

  • Syria

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 86.4%

    male: 91.7%

    female: 81% (2015)

  • Taiwan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.5%

    male: 99.7%

    female: 97.3% (2014)

  • Tajikistan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.7% (2015)

  • Tanzania

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write Kiswahili (Swahili), English, or Arabic

    total population: 77.9%

    male: 83.2%

    female: 73.1% (2015)

  • Thailand

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 92.9%

    male: 94.7%

    female: 91.2% (2015)

  • Timor-Leste

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 68.1%

    male: 71.9%

    female: 64.2% (2018)

  • Togo

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 63.7%

    male: 77.3%

    female: 51.2% (2015)

  • Tonga

    definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English

    total population: 99.4%

    male: 99.4%

    female: 99.5% (2015)

  • Trinidad and Tobago

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99%

    male: 99.2%

    female: 98.7% (2015)

  • Tunisia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 81.8%

    male: 89.6%

    female: 74.2% (2015)

  • Turkey

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 96.2%

    male: 98.8%

    female: 93.5% (2017)

  • Turkmenistan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.7%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.6% (2015)

  • Uganda

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 76.5%

    male: 82.7%

    female: 70.8% (2018)

  • Ukraine

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 99.8%

    male: 99.8%

    female: 99.7% (2015)

  • United Arab Emirates

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 93.8%

    male: 93.1%

    female: 95.8% (2015)

  • Uruguay

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 98.7%

    male: 98.4%

    female: 99% (2018)

  • Uzbekistan

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 100%

    male: 100%

    female: 100% (2016)

  • Vanuatu

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 87.5%

    male: 88.3%

    female: 86.7% (2018)

  • Venezuela

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.1%

    male: 97%

    female: 97.2% (2016)

  • Vietnam

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 95%

    male: 96.5%

    female: 93.6% (2018)

  • West Bank

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 97.2%

    male: 98.7%

    female: 95.7% (2018)

    note: estimates are for Gaza and the West Bank

  • World

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 86.3%

    male: 89.8%

    female: 82.8% (2018)

    note: more than three-quarters of the world's 750 million illiterate adults are found in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; of all the illiterate adults in the world, almost two-thirds are women (2016)

  • Yemen

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write

    total population: 70.1%

    male: 85.1%

    female: 55% (2015)

  • Zambia

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write English

    total population: 86.7%

    male: 90.6%

    female: 83.1% (2018)

  • Zimbabwe

    definition: age 15 and over can read and write English

    total population: 86.5%

    male: 88.5%

    female: 84.6% (2015)