scroll to top arrow or icon

{{ subpage.title }}

Graphic Truth: World literacy reaches new heights

It’s World Book Day! We’re big readers here at GZERO, and we suspect you might be as well. Alas, literature just doesn’t have the caché it once did, but in some ways we are living in a golden age of literacy. At no point ever in human history have so many people been able to read and write.

Some 87% of all people above age 15 were able to read as of 2022, up from 67% as recently as 1979. That’s a big bump, but wind the clock back a bit more to see just how far we’ve come. In 1820, the World Economic Forum estimates that just 12% of the world’s adults could read and write.

Have a look at recent progress in our chart, and don’t forget to crack open that book you’ve been meaning to get to today!

Ex-gangster makes bleak, violent literary debut

October 06, 2020 5:00 AM

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FICTIONWHO THEY WAS By Gabriel Krauze 4th Estate/Paperback/332 pages/ $28.35/Available at

Malaysian writers gain recognition in global literary scene

September 21, 2020 5:00 AM

"On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan."

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily