New report shows illiteracy costing the world $1.19 trillion
29 Mar 2012
A report released today has revealed that the hidden cost of functional illiteracy in the UK tops $127 billion each year, the highest in Europe. The new report from the World Literacy Foundation shows that nearly 800 million people across the world lack the basic reading and writing skills needed to accomplish simple tasks such as reading a medicine label or filling out a job application, costing the global economy more than $1.19 trillion a year.
'The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy' looks at the cost of illiteracy in emerging and developing countries, as well as the cost of functional illiteracy in the developed world. The report shows that across the globe more than one in five people can't read or write, and more than 100 million children don't go to school each day.
According to the report, the UK itself suffers significantly from the costs of poor literacy:
- 22% of the UK's population is estimated to be functionally illiterate, meaning they may have difficulty with basic tasks such as applying for a job, writing a letter to their MP or reading their child's school report.
- Illiteracy estimated to cost UK economy approximately $127 billion a year (£81 billion)
- This is the highest in Europe, ahead of Germany $61.70bn or France $44.28bn
- Of the $127 billion annual cost to the UK, $36.8bn goes on welfare, unemployment and social programmes.
- An additional $91.6bn is lost through lower personal incomes and business earnings.
Help us make a difference to literacy in the UK by supporting our work.
- Education Committee hears evidence on the importance of partnerships between education providers and businesses in Blogs by Lucy Kerrigan
- ‘Make NEETS history in 2014’ is the challenge from Impetus-Private Equity Foundation in its recent report in Blogs by Sally Melvin
- "Volunteering on Words for Work is a must" says Amanda Delaney, KPMG volunteer in Blogs by Guest blogger
- Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall supports campaign to tackle low literacy in Middlesbrough in Media centre
- Words for Work 2011-2012 Evaluation Summary Report in Research reports