Literacy: Quantitative Measures

A recent report from Barbara Alvarez published by The Every Library Institute states that 130 MILLION adults in the United States hold less than a sixth grade reading literacy level! Such a measure equals dire consequences for both individuals and society as a whole!  Of course, we know individuals with such reading levels suffer, all their life, from decreased earnings and the inability to adequately participate in civic discourse.  Yet, think of these impacts on a macro-scale.  As Forbes stated in 2020, low literacy levels cost trillions in lost tax revenue, create a loss in consumer spending, and stagnate businesses. 

Moreover, the National Council for Adult Learning states that low literacy levels lead to crime, a non-productive workforce, and unemployment – costing the economy $225 BILLION ANNUALLY!  A Gallup study in 2020, however, coordinated in association with the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, stated low literacy levels actually cost the U.S. TRILLIONS annually.  The Gallup study also stated that improving literacy levels in the U.S. could result in a 10% Gross Domestic Product increase, each year!

Are YOU hearing anything about this fiscal issue/crisis on the news?  Viewing it in your news feed?  We all can answer NO!  Instead, we only hear news bites on the “science of reading.”   Do we ask true professionals what that means?  Ask them to inform us as to the broad spectrum of research on the subject?

How will we raise the tax revenue necessary to fund infrastructure if our Treasury is losing billions (or possibly trillions) each year due to low literacy levels?  Are we putting the cart before the horse?  Are we at risk of slowing sinking into a third world status?

Think on these questions this coming month. Spread the word as to how we can potentially raise the standard of living in our country, funding not only the infrastructure bill, but also the American Families Act, and other quality legislation, because…well, we have lots of money in the TREASURY… because we worked at creating a society in which citizens are literate, work at good jobs, and contribute to the good of society and the perpetuation of democracy.

More next month on the qualitative value of high literacy levels!