Performance of U.S. Adults by Sex and Race / Ethnicity

In ALL, prose literacy and document literacy scores are combined into a single literacy score measured on a scale of 0500 points. Numeracy scores also range from 0500.

  • In the United States, there was no measurable difference between men and women on the literacy scale; however, men scored 15 points higher than women on the numeracy scale.
  • There was also no measurable difference between men and women on the literacy scale in Bermuda, Canada, or Norway; however, in Italy and Switzerland, men outscored women (figure 1). Men outperformed women on the numeracy scale in every country, with a range from 11 points (Italy) to 16 points (Switzerland).
  • Racial and ethnic groups vary between countries, so it is not feasible to compare their performance across countries on international assessments. Findings are therefore reported here for the United States only.
    • White U.S. adults outscored Black, Hispanic, and Other adults in both literacy and numeracy (figure 2).
    • There was no measurable difference in the performance of Blacks and Hispanics in literacy or numeracy.