ILLITERACY The inability to read or write, or the actual or perceived state of being uneducated or insufficiently educated. Social judgement is so powerfully built into the term ILLITERATE that scholars now generally use more neutral terms, such as non-literate (for societies and individuals for whom literacy is not a relevant issue) and pre-literate (for societies and conditions before LITERACY emerged or was encountered and adopted). Formerly, the term illiterate was used to describe someone without book learning or a liberal EDUCATION (especially in classical LATIN and GREEK), even though such a person could read in a vernacular language or handle accounts and correspondence. However, the word also carried the connotation of unpolished, ignorant, or inferior, as in the disadvantage of an illiterate education.
Statistics In recent years, the term has been used to describe the condition of people unable to cope with printed materials relevant to their needs (functional illiteracy) and people unacquainted with the canon and conventions of an educated populace (cultural illiteracy). Precise descriptions and accurate estimates of illiteracy of any kind in English-speaking countries are difficult to obtain.
Functional illiteracy is reading and writing skills that are inadequate "to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level. Functional illiteracy is contrasted with illiteracy in the strict sense, meaning the inability to read or write simple sentences in any language. Foreigners who cannot read and write in the native language where they live may also be considered functionally illiterate.
Today, global literacy statistics paint a gloomy picture. Illiteracy threatens over 785 million adults worldwide, translating into one in every five people on the planet, with either no or just basic reading skills. Two-thirds of the illiterate population is women. The slumping global literacy rate has detrimental effects on communities all over the world. Many people take literacy for granted, but for those that are denied this basic skill, some of lifes most essential necessities become far out of reach.
In developed countries, the level of functional literacy of an individual is proportional to income level and inversely proportional to the risk of committing crime. For example, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics in the United States: Over 60% of adults in the US prison system read at or below the fourth grade level 85% of US juvenile inmates are functionally illiterate 43% of adults at the lowest level of literacy lived below the poverty line, as opposed to 4% of those with the highest levels of literacy. According to begintoread.com: Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Three out of four individuals who receive food stamps read on the two lowest levels of literacy. 16-to-19-year-old girls at the poverty line and below with below-average reading skills are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their more literate counterparts.
The inability to read and write not only prevents people from functioning fully within their communities, but also exerts an influence on national priorities and the use of human and material resources. In conclusion