World's Most Literate Nations



The data source is World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision: http// All data are the United Nations’ estimates: “The 2015 Revision of World Population Prospects is the twenty-fourth round of official United Nations population estimates and projections that have been prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.”

Number of dailies and circulation data are from the 2014, 2012, and 2009 World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN), World Press Trends reports:

The source of online editions is 2009 WAN World Press Trends Report or estimates from the following websites:

Education Systems—Inputs
UNESCO is the data source for years of compulsory schooling: All data are from 2014. UNESCO ( is also the data source of education expenditure except for the following countries.
China, Greece,
Russia, Federation_EAG2013 Country Note.pdf

Education System—Outputs
The data source for younger students ( ) is the reading assessment from the PIRLS examination produced by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). This assessment is conducted at the fourth grade: “This world-wide assessment and research project is designed to measure trends in children’s reading literacy achievement and collect information about the policy and practices related to learning to read and reading instruction.” The years of reporting are 2006 and 2011.
PIRLS 2006:
PIRLS 2011:
In PIRLS 2006, Belgium gave separate tests for Flemish and French. In 2011 it was French only. In PIRLS 2006, Canada reported by providence.

The data source for older students is a triennial international survey which evaluates education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
PISA tests reading, math and science; however, only the reading scores were used for the purposes of this survey. The years of reporting are 2009 and 2011:
PISA 2009:
PISA 2012:

The UN is the data source (UNdata: In particular, relies on data from the International Telecommunications Union:
For the USA, the U.S. Census was the source:
Data are from 2012 for all countries except Albania, Chile, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the United States.

For most countries, The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Inc., is the data source:
The “OCLC is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large.”

In a few other instances, The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA),, was used, and in a few others national statistical databases were used. These included:
Czech Republic:

An academic library is defined as one that is attached to a higher education institution and that serves two complementary purposes: to support the school's curriculum and to support the research of the university faculty and students. The number of public libraries is the total number of publicly funded libraries open to all within a country. The number of school libraries is the total number of libraries attached to a school per country. The number of library volumes is the total number of volumes from all public libraries only.