Almost half of the adults living in Detroit, Michigan — that's more than 200,000 people — are functionally illiterate, which means that they are unable to perform any reading, writing or computation beyond the most basic levels, such as filling out a check or writing their name. Of those 200,000 people, about half have a high school diploma.
More facts about literacy:
- Almost one-fourth of Americans perform at the lowest of five levels of literacy, which means that they can at most do simple tasks such as locating a time and date in a note or adding up a deposit slip, but not much else. Despite this, between 65-75 percent of those at level-one literacy said they can read and write English "well" or "very well."
- There is a strong correlation between illiteracy and crime and poverty. Of those at literacy level one, almost half live below the poverty line. Less than 5 percent of those at the highest level of literary live below the poverty line. Also, more than 60 percent of American inmates are functionally illiterate, and more than 70 percent cannot read above a fourth-grade level.
- Globally, almost 100 out of the 195 or so countries in the world have a literacy rate of at least 90 percent. The countries with the highest literacy rates include Georgia, Cuba, Estonia, Latvia and Barbados, each of which has a literacy rate of more than 99 percent.