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Source: Our World in Data
Published: September 2018

Literate and Illiterate World Population

Circulated: August 6, 2019

Literacy rate of growth climbed in the middle of the 20th century, when the expansion of basic education became a global priority. The population for the estimate is 15 years and older.

           
Year Literate world population Illiterate world population
1820 12% 88%
1880 20% 80%
1900 21% 79%
1920 32% 68%
1940 42% 58%
1960 61% 39%
1980 70% 30%
2000 82% 18%
2015 86% 14%

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