Real Impacts of Low Literacy

The facts and statistics noted in the BC Literacy Profile page provide a quick peek at the literacy realities in our communities. However, to really understand why its important to improve literacy levels in our communities, it helps to access the impact of low literacy on our communities.  Consider the following realities as identified in the Literacy in BC Fact Sheet:

  • Individuals with low literacy rates tend are 30% less likely to rate themselves as being in excellent or good health;
  • Individuals with low literacy are 50% less likely to vote or participate in community groups;
  • The average household income of a working age individual with low literacy compared to those at the highest literacy levels is more than $30,000 per year;
  • Only 20% of BC adults with low literacy participate in adult education or training programs in any given year compared to 75% of those with high literacy levels;
  • 43% of working age Canadians at Level 1 literacy derive income from Employment Insurance or Social Assistance compared to 14% of those at the highest levels.

And one final economic fact… by raising literacy scores by 1% in Canada, Canada’s national economic productivity is expected to increase by 2.5% or $18 billion per year.

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