Awend​aw Regional Outreach Center 

Adult Literacy Facts

Did You Know!

Adult literacy can change everything

Health. Gender equality. Poverty. Every important social issue is impacted by low literacy. When individuals learn how to read, write, do basic math, and use computers, they have the power to lift themselves out of poverty, lower health care costs, find and keep sustainable employment, and ultimately change their lives.

Family Literacy

A mother's reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children's future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income. Children of less-educated parents are much more likely to become low-skilled adults. U.S. adults with low levels of education who have parents with low levels of education are 10 times more likely to have low skills than are those who have higher-educated parents.

Earnings & Employment

Three times the earnings. Median weekly earnings in 2018 for those with the highest levels of educational attainment—doctoral and professional degrees—were more than triple those with the lowest level, less than a high school diploma. Workers age 25 and over who have less education than a high school diploma had the highest unemployment rate (5.4%) and lowest median weekly earnings ($592), three times less than the highest level of education.3

The 2020 recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic saw adults with less than a high school diploma suffer the highest employment rate compared to all other education levels. 4

Government Funding and Programs in Jeopardy

Adult education is in critical need for services. A decline in federal and state funding in the past 10 years has resulted in programs serving only a fraction of the adults in need. Currently, 50% of adult education programs are struggling with long student waiting lists due to demand exceeding program capacity.12 At the present levels of public funding, less than 10 percent of adults in need are receiving services.

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