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Title:  Adult Literacy in the United States
Description:

Using the data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), this Data Point summarizes the number of U.S. adults with low levels of English literacy and describes how they differ by nativity status and race/ethnicity.

PIAAC is a large-scale international study of working-age adults (ages 1665) that assesses adult skills in three domains (literacy, numeracy, and digital problem solving) and collects information on adults' education, work experience, and other background characteristics. In the United States, when the study was conducted in 201112 and 201314, respondents were first asked questions about their background, with an option to be interviewed in English or Spanish, followed by a skills assessment in English. Because the skills assessment was conducted only in English, all U.S. PIAAC literacy results are for English literacy.

This Data Point focuses on the following two questions:

  • What are the rates of literacy in the United States?
  • What is the make-up of adults with low English literacy skills by nativity status and race/ethnicity?
Online Availability:
Cover Date: July 2019
Web Release: July 2, 2019
Publication #: NCES 2019179
Center/Program: NCES
Associated Centers: IES
Authors:
Type of Product: Data Point
Survey/Program Areas: Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
Keywords:
Adult literacy
Literacy
Questions: For questions about the content of this Data Point, please contact:
Stephen Provasnik.