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education, poverty, racial inequality




Illiteracy affects a person's ability to fully participate in and contribute to the world around them. About 18% of the US adult population is functionally illiterate. Hispanics, older people, and incarcerated people are more likely to be low literate than other US adults. Major factors influencing literacy development include education, socioeconomic status, learning English as a second language, learning disabilities, and crime. Many of these causes and consequences of illiteracy are intersecting and cyclical. Additionally, illiteracy is perpetuated from parent to child and is likely to lead to higher chances of unemployment and poverty. Adult literacy programs with a developed curriculum and personalized instruction are the most effective ways to improve literacy. In order to prevent and treat illiteracy in the United States, collaboration between researchers, nonprofits, governments, and public schools will be necessary.