Illiteracy in America
July 13, 2008
Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society
It is a chronic crisis of huge proportions, one that keeps millions of Americans living in the shadows. Illiteracy is causing irreparable damage to our society. Just look at these disturbing illiteracy statistics.
In a study of 20 ‘high income’ countries, the US ranked 12th on literacy tests. Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their child. A few other shocking facts:
- 7 million Americans are illiterate.
- 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level.
- 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.
- 30 million Americans cannot read a simple sentence.
How Illiteracy Affects Job Prospects
- 3 out of 4 people on welfare cannot read.
- 75 percent of today’s jobs require at least a ninth-grade reading level.
- 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application.
- 20 percent of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.
- 50 percent of the unemployed people who fall between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate.
- Between 46 and 51 percent of American adults have an income well below the individual threshold poverty level because of their inability to read.
- Of the Gross National Product, only 5.3 percent is spent on public education.
How Illiteracy Affects Society
- 3 out of 5 people in an American prison cannot read.
- Low literacy is strongly related to crime. 70 percent of prisoners fall into the lowest two levels of reading proficiency.
- 85 percent of juvenile offenders have problems reading.
- Approximately 50 percent of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as balancing a checkbook and reading prescription drug labels.
- To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests.
How Illiteracy Costs Taxpayers
- Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year.
- Illiteracy has been proven to cause children to drop out of school. Dropouts cost our nation $240 billion in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues.
The Fight Against Illiteracy
The fight against illiteracy is a constant battle. Activists are working to strengthen education amongst young people and amongst adults. If you want to join the fight, there are numerous literacy organizations that accept volunteers and donations.
You can also help to prevent illiteracy by encouraging a young person in your life to read. The importance of reading to children cannot be over emphasized. In fact, reading children’s stories aloud is one of the most important activities we, as parents, grandparents, teachers, and care-givers, can do for our kids.
Trivani is supporting literacy efforts here in the United States. If you would like to make a difference in America by helping to end the cycle of family illiteracy, please consider changing your personal care products, and shop Trivani online today! Your decision to make one change is that simple, and it is that powerful!
In short, do your part. The fight against illiteracy is important. If we continue to ignore what is becoming a growing epidemic, we set our entire country up for failure.