The ability to read and write.
Ability to read and write. The level at which functional literacy is set rises as society becomes more complex, and it becomes increasingly difficult for an illiterate person to find work and cope with the other demands of everyday life.
Nearly 1 billion adults in the world, most of them women, are unable to read or write. Africa has the world's highest illiteracy rate: 54% of the adult population. Asia has 666 million illiterates, 75% of the world total. Surveys in the US, the UK, and France in the 1980s found far greater levels of functional illiteracy than official figures suggest, as well as revealing a lack of basic general knowledge, but no standard of measurement has been agreed. For example, in a 1988 survey one in six Britons could not find their country on a map, and in the US 12% of 12-year-olds in 1991 could not find their country on a map; 25 million US adults could not decipher a road sign.