There are more than 92,000 illiterate adults in Central Alabama.

County Functionally Illiterate Adults Functionally Illiterate Adults (%)
Blount 5,811 14%
Jefferson 64,901 13%
Shelby 6,215 12%
St. Clair 8,419 7%
Walker 7,632 14%
  • 75% of unemployed adults have reading or writing difficulties.
  • 75% of all food stamp recipients perform in the two lowest levels of literacy.
  • 24% of patients with low literacy skills do not know how to take medication four times a day.
  • According to the AMA, individuals with low health literacy incur medical expenses up to four times greater than patients with adequate literacy skills.
  • Children’s literacy levels are strongly linked to the educational levels of their parents, especially the mother.
  • Adults with lower literacy skills are less likely to read to their children. Children who have not already developed basic literacy practices when they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out of school.
  • Parents who improve their education, obtaining a GED or high school diploma, have children who show improvement in school and are more likely to stay in school.
  • Low literacy skills have a direct impact on crime, recidivism, poverty, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.
  • 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.
  • 7 to 10 prisoners perform in the lowest two literacy levels.
  • The greatest barrier to economic development and growth is the absence of a literate workforce.
  • More than 60% of front line workers in goods-producing industries have difficulty applying information from text to a required task.
  • The U.S. military spends (on average) $70 million annually for basic skills remediation for new recruits.

Sources:  National Center for Adult Literacy, ProLiteracy Worldwide, U.S. Department of Labor, National Institute for Literacy, National Bureau of Economics, American Medical Association, U.S. Census, National Assessment of Adult Literacy