The cost of illiteracy to society in the U.S. in social and economic terms is $300.8 billion in lost business productivity, lost earnings, welfare, crime, health and other social justice problems.

  • People with poor literacy skills are more than 2x as likely to be unemployed

  • Illiterate workers earn 30-42% less than their literate counterparts

  • 43% of Americans with low literacy skills live in poverty

  • Individuals with lower proficiency in literacy are more likely than those with better literacy skills to report poor health

  • Those who struggle with reading are more likely to drop out of high school, to end up in the criminal justice system and to live in poverty

  • Illiteracy affects every aspect of society – homelessness, unemployment, addiction, self-medication, health care costs and human trafficking   

  • Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity  

  • There are 7.9 million low-income children, birth through age 8 in the United States. If current trends hold true, 83%, or 6.6 million of these children, are at increased risk of dropping out of high school because they can't read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade

  • 85% of children in the juvenile court system are not literate

  • Private prison systems plan their future bed count needs based on 3rd grade reading scores   

  • 60-80% of those incarcerated in the U.S. are illiterate

Illiteracy is an everyone, everywhere problem.