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Literacy Statistics


Literacy Statistics


Literacy statistics and juvenile court

  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

  • More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

  • Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.

  • Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.


Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy. Just a few statistics:

  • Literacy is learned. Illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write.

  • One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.

  • 43% of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5

  • 3 out of 4 food stamp recipients perform in the lowest 2 literacy levels

  • 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts

  • 16 to 19 year old girls at the poverty level and below, with below average skills, are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their reading counterparts.

  • Low literary costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs. A recent study by Pfizer put the cost much higher.