Literacy term is applied to the capability to comprehend, write and utilize cognition to resolve numerical problems, depict your thoughts and notions, and decide on things and find solutions and more ideas that a person can do after studying. A person who can understand terms and definitions of things by just reading out from different sources is also regarded as a literate person. Since 1980, the philosophers and thinkers have started estimating the literacy capabilities of all nations in the world.

Although a literate person is not subjected to solve complex readings and perform unique writings, yet a person with simple writing and understanding context abilities are included in the list of literate persons. Scotland terms capabilities to read and write as literacy in a simple way.

Modern definitions of a literate nation

According to modern definitions, literacy is the assemblage of all social activities a person can perform, which changes as cultural, historical, and political contexts of a nation evolve with respect to time. UNESCO has given its own modern definition of literacy as the capabilities to read, understand, communicate, and deliver content comprises of various ideologies, thoughts, knowledge, and information.

Literacy rate calculation around the world

The calculation of the numbers of people in a population or nation who are literate enough to comprehend, study, and communicate is considered as literacy rate estimation.

Generally, the youngsters of above age 15 with the ability to read, write, and understand are included in calculating the literacy rate in a nation. Many nations around the world have designed robust policies to ensure that they have maximum literacy rates though most of them are struggling to achieve that feat for many reasons. The global average literacy rate is excellent, about 86% due to recent enforcement by several world organizations working to ensure maximum literacy rate around each corner of the world.

The percentage of females who are considered literate is 82% in the whole world, but the rate of literate men is quite high, about 92%.

In developed nations, you may find a higher literacy rate due to recent progress and sustainability in the education sector of the nation. Developed countries always place their literacy policies on top to be implemented in possible ways. Thus, these nations reap the fruits of having higher literacy and making their children literate. These countries have the privileged of getting a 99% literacy rate due to their resolution and determination of promotion of education in states as their supreme priority remains the education of the nation.

The nations with the least literacy rates in the world

Unfortunately, under-developing countries around the globe do not possess that much higher literacy rate as they are always found struggling with education there. There might be several reasons why developing countries cannot immediately increase their rate of literacy, such as lack of resources, funding, policies to provide efficient ways for swift progression in the education field of those countries. The countries belonging to South Asia, Africa, and West Asia are unfortunate to have minimum literacy rates in the world.

Niger is the country with the lowest percentage of the literate population, which is below 19%. Similarly, Sudan is also included in countries with a literacy rate below 20 %. Other underdeveloped countries, which are countries with less literacy rate, are Iraq, Liberia, Ethiopia, Guinea, Afghanistan, Chad, and many other nations with a literacy rate below 50%.

Multiple organizations and charity foundations are donating the surplus amount to these countries to invest in their population’s education so that they can overcome the usual problems they are facing, thereby lifting their literacy rates.

The award of the most literate nation as per 2020 world rankings

As a developed country, North Korea has achieved the great feat of having a maximum 100 % literacy rate per the world rankings of 2020. It was a bit surprising because, in 2016, Finland was awarded the highest literacy rate nation in the world. After that, Canada was also included in the last for one year.

But now North Korea is on the top and is a leading example for all nations in the world to follow up. It has designed stringent rules and practices to help education spread among the country, and the results are in front of everyone. These amazing stats can be maintained if North Korea keeps on focusing on education policies and having an eye on world education progress rate and the recent developments.

North Korea has set the instance of a nation that knows how exactly it can assemble all sources to put in the right direction for the welfare and prosperity of the populations. North Korean is said to have formalized strict strategies and policies to ensure education uplift in the country. Although it had never been on top before, yet it had always maintained its literacy ratio over 95 % since the last decade. The current population of the country is above 25 m, and it is fantastic to see how it has managed to retain the top position with a huge population. Many developed countries with huge populations are on the list of highest literacy rate; the example is Russia with a massive community.

All the developed countries are in a race to supersede the other on top to become the highest-ranked nation as the most literate.

The world ranking 2020 and literacy rates of the top 5 nations

These are the top 5 countries in the world designated as the most literate nations with highest literacy rates in the whole world.

Country (Nation)Rate of literacyTotal population
North Korea100%25 m
Poland99.8%37 m


Other nations with the highest literacy rates in the world

After North Korea, the countries with the highest literacy rates are Estonia 99.9 %, Lithuania, G Poland, Tajikistan, Ukraine. Other countries with maximum literacy rates above 99% are mentioned below:

  • Russia
  • Cuba
  • Belarus
  • Salvinia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Palau
  • Maldives
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • Hungary


Author Bio,

Amber, a digital marketing expert and a writer at assignment writing service and academic firm offers its professional assistance to the students of UK and overseas.





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