Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of 5.5 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, do something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
  2. 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
  3. Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school. Start a badass book club to keep your peers reading. Sign up for Banned Books Club.
  4. As of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where the current generation was less educated than the previous one.
  5. Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate.

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  1. 53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.
  2. 75% of Americans who receive food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy, and 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare.
  3. Teenage girls between the ages of 16 to 19 who live at or below the poverty line and have below average literacy skills are 6 times more likely to have children out of wedlock than girls their age who can read proficiently.
  4. Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
  5. In 2013, Washington, D.C. was ranked the most literate American city for the third year in a row, with Seattle and Minneapolis close behind.
  6. Long Beach, CA was ranked the country’s most illiterate city, followed by Mesa, AZ, and Aurora, CO.

Sources

  • 1

    Write Express Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin to Read. Accessed February 24, 2015. .

  • 2

    WriteExpress Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin to Read. Accessed April 16, 2014. .

  • 3

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation. "Students Who Don’t Read Well in Third Grade Are More Likely to Drop Out or Fail to Finish High School." The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2015. .

  • 4

    Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy. "Reach Higher, America Overcoming Crisis In The U.s. Workforce." National Commission on Adult Literacy. Accessed April 16, 2014. .

  • 5

    Blankenship, John. "Functional illiteracy continues to grow, but there is help." The Register-Herald. Accessed April 16, 2014. .

  • 6

    National Center for Educational Statistics. "The Condition of Education, 2009." U.S. Department of Education. Accessed February 24, 2015.

  • 7

    WriteExpress Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin To Read. Accessed February 24, 2015. .

  • 8

    WriteExpress Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin To Read. Accessed February 24, 2015. .

  • 9

    WriteExpress Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin To Read. Accessed February 24, 2015. .

  • 10

    Hess, Alexander E.M., Samuel Weigley, and Michael B. Sauter. "America’s Most (and Least) Literate Cities." 24/7 Wall St.com. Accessed April 16, 2014. .

  • 11

    Hess, Alexander E.M., Samuel Weigley, and Michael B. Sauter. "America’s Most (and Least) Literate Cities." 24/7 Wall St.com. Accessed April 16, 2014. .

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