The High Cost of Illiteracy

Did you know that illiteracy costs the United States billions of dollars every single year? But the solution is so inexpensive!

Did you know that illiteracy costs the United States billions of dollars every single year?

Approximately 32 million adults in the United States can’t read, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that 50 percent of U.S. adults can’t read a book written at an eighth-grade level.

According to the Literacy Center, low literacy individuals struggle to find employment; they settle for low-paying jobs; they have to fight hard to increase their earning power and to support their families. They under-utilize the healthcare system out of fear, or over-utilize it because they are unable to follow written instructions on prescriptions or discharge papers.

Libraries build literate communities. Sign the pledge to support libraries.

If you think illiteracy doesn’t affect you, think again. The plight of low-literacy stretches beyond individual families and impacts us all. Here are some great tweetable facts that you can share to raise awareness about this important issue;

  • Low literacy costs American businesses and taxpayers more than $225 billion annually, through lost wages, unemployment, welfare and other government assistance. CLICK TO TWEET
  • Low literacy adds $230 billion to the annual cost of delivering healthcare in the United States. CLICK TO TWEET
  • There’s an undeniable link between low literacy, library funding, and crime. Seventy-five percent of adults incarcerated in state prisons lack a high school diploma or have low literacy skills. CLICK TO TWEET
  • Our national economy needs a prepared, educated, and literate workforce to create new businesses to keep pace with global technology. CLICK TO TWEET
  • Individuals with low literacy are less likely to vote or participate in civic activities. We need literate citizens to ensure the future of our Democracy. CLICK TO TWEET

Luckily, in America there is an easy solution to this problem. The data has repeatedly shown that we simply need to properly fund our libraries. That’s because there is an incredible link between access to reading materials, library programs, and a child’s ability to read later in life. Storytimes, lap-sit programs, and other services for young children are a major part of most public libraries’ missions and each of these helps ensure that our nation’s youth grow up to be literate and successful members of society.

You can help join our cause by signing and sharing the pledge for public libraries on Facebook and Twitter. You can also help us reach more Americans with this pledge by making a $10 donation today. We’ll put it to work by putting that pledge in front of 1,000 Americans for every $10 we raise.

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