World's Most Literate Nations


The World’s Most Literate Nations (WMLN) ranks nations on—not their populace’s ability to read but rather—their populace’s literate behaviors and their supporting resources. The rankings are based on five categories standing as indicators of the literate health of nations: libraries, newspapers, education inputs and outputs, and computer availability. This multidimensional approach to literacy speaks to the social, economic, and governmental powers of nations around the globe.

Information about the data resources consulted and the methodology used to determine the rankings is accessible via the navigation menu on the left.

World Literacy BookA companion book, World Literacy: How Countries Rank and Why It Matters (Routledge, 2016)  by John W. Miller and Michael C. McKenna provides an extended analysis of many of the factors involved in the WMLN study, and this source may be helpful in interpreting the results. (Click here for more information.)

The power and value of being literate in a literate society is played out every day around the world. Many individuals, and even whole societies, make considerable sacrifices to become literate just as others take it for granted. Societies that do not practice literate behavior are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal, and harsh.

In fact, what the WMLN rankings strongly suggest and World Literacy demonstrates is that these kinds of literate behaviors are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economies that define our global future.