U.S. Ranks Seventh in Literacy Says New Study

Posted on March 14, 2016

World Literacy by John W Miller, Michael C McKenna

Central Connecticut State University has released a study which analyzes literacy and literate behavior in more than 60 countries around the world. The study was conducted by John W. Miller, president of the university which is located in New Britain, Connecticut. The results are embarrassing: the U.S. came in seventh in the world for literacy, and 12th for test scores.

The study looked into how many public and private libraries each country had and how many books those libraries contain, how many newspapers they have, how much they spend on education, computer use and test scores of students on literacy. The most literate country on planet is Finland, followed by Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Rounding out the top ten are Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands.

The U.S. ranked 23rd in computers, 9th in education input, tied for 29th place with the U.K. in the libraries category and ranked 12th in the newspapers category. As for students' test scores on literacy, the U.S. ranked 12.5 out of 60.

John W. Miller and Michael C. McKenna has written a companion book to the study called World Literacy: How Countries Rank and Why It Matters in which they provide extensive analysis about the factors involved in the rankings and how they should be evaluated.

President Miller said in a statement, "The power of literacy and the value of being part of a literate world is often taken for granted. The factors we examined present a complex and nuanced portrait of a nation’s cultural vitality, and what the rankings strongly suggest and world literacy demonstrates is that these kinds of literate behaviors are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economics that define our global future.

World Literacy top ten rankings


Photo: Rutledge