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Literacy Rate By State

Literacy Rate By State
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In the United States, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy has established three types of literacy skills: prose, document, and quantitative, and has emphasized their importance in today's workforce. Nevertheless, not every region in the U.S. has equal access to the resources shaping these skills and supporting literacy development, leading to varying literacy rates state by state.

Our report delves into the literacy rates by state, highlighting their ranking based on the percentage of the population identified as literate.

  • The states enjoying the highest literacy rates are mainly in the northeast and midwest regions. New Hampshire comes out on top with a literacy rate of 94.2%, followed by Minnesota at 94.0%, and North Dakota at 93.7%.
  • There's a clear regional disparity in terms of literacy rates. The bottom five states are all from the south and west regions, with California having the lowest rate of 76.9%.
  • There's a noticeable gap between the highest literacy rate (New Hampshire, 94.2%) and the lowest one (California, 76.9%), signaling a significant literacy divide among U.S. states.

States with the Highest Literacy Rates

Educational strongholds mostly lie in the northeast and midwest regions of the United States, with New Hampshire leading the pack. The state possesses the highest literacy rate of 94.2%, indicating a strong emphasis on education and literacy within the community. With a close second, Minnesota boasts a literacy rate of 94.0% in line with its long-standing commitment to education.

Following behind, we see North Dakota, another midwestern state, with a literacy rate of 93.7%. The Northeast makes its presence felt again, with Vermont securing the fourth place at 93.4% literacy. South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin are not far behind, marking literacy rates of 93.0%, 92.7% and 92.7% respectively.

Meanwhile, Maine stands out with a literacy rate of 92.6%, demonstrating a persistent commitment to improving educational outcomes in the state. Missouri and Iowa complete the top ten, each registering a literacy rate of 92.5%.

States with the Highest Literacy Rates

  1. New Hampshire - 94.2%
  2. Minnesota - 94.0%
  3. North Dakota - 93.7%
  4. Vermont - 93.4%
  5. South Dakota - 93.0%
  6. Nebraska - 92.7%
  7. Wisconsin - 92.7%
  8. Maine - 92.6%
  9. Missouri - 92.5%
  10. Iowa - 92.5%

States with the Lowest Literacy Rates

In the last position is California, where the literacy rate is only 76.9%. This suggests that nearly a quarter of California's population struggle with reading and comprehending documents, significantly undermining those citizen's abilities to fully participate in modern society and the economy. 

Not far ahead is New York with a literacy rate of 77.9%, followed by Florida at 80.3%. Texas is the next in line with a literacy rate of 81.0%, indicating that almost one in five adult Texans likely encounter challenges when required to use written or printed information in their day-to- day lives.

New Jersey and Georgia are slightly better off, demonstrating literacy rates of 83.1% and 83.3% respectively. New Mexico (83.5%), Nevada (83.9%), Louisiana (84.0%) and Mississippi (84.0%) round off the list, the latter two displaying identical literacy rates.

States with Lowest Literacy Rates:

  1. California - 76.9%
  2. New York - 77.9%
  3. Florida - 80.3%
  4. Texas - 81.0%
  5. New Jersey - 83.1%
  6. Georgia - 83.3%
  7. New Mexico - 83.5%
  8. Nevada - 83.9%
  9. Louisiana - 84.0%
  10. Mississippi - 84.0%

Full Data Set

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