The following profile (Literacy in British Columbia, Literacy BC Fact Sheet) sheds some light on to the literacy profile of working-age British Colombians:
- 400,000 (14%) are at Level One – the lowest proficiency level
- 600,000 (21%) are at Level Two – still inadequate for full participation and success in modern society
- 44% of working age adults have low numeracy
- 45% of those at Level 1 and 28% of those at Level 2 have less than high school education
- 15% of those at Level 1 and 11% of those at Level 2 are unemployed
- 12% of young adults (16 – 25) have difficulty with even the most basic written materials
- 70% or more of seniors have low literacy
To really understand why it’s 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.
To learn more about Literacy in British Columbia, check out the Literacy in British Columbia fact sheet.