The percentage of literacy in America is dependent upon which of the several definitions of literacy is quoted.  Governments may consider people as being educated those who can read a couple of thousand simple words they learned and memorized in the first four years in school. Other people may term such people as being practically illiterate if they do not possess the capability to use basic sources of written information like warning labels and driving instructions. It is practically impracticable to give firm rates of literacy as this is not completely measurable. However, the quoted 15% figure for full literacy is the same as that of a university undergraduate level, which means that the American reads at a 7th or 8th-grade level which is also dependable upon suggestions.

The guidelines, and norms of readability for medication directions, product information, and popular fiction by the  U.S. Department of Education has conducted an extensive evaluation of adult expertise in using a common method from which trends could be measured. The study gauged Prose, Document, and Quantitative skills. Around 19,000 subjects participated in the survey of which roughly 50% were at either basic or below basic levels of proficiency in all three categories. The study identified some adults who, although not meeting criteria for illiteracy, face lesser job opportunities and life prospects due to incompetent literacy know how according to the requirements of contemporary requirements.

A second  study by the same group of researchers using a less significant information base  was released which reported  some progressive movement of low end basic and below to intermediate in U.S. adult literacy levels and a wine in the full proficiency group Thus, if this lower end  of the study is measured against  the practically  illiterate people, and these are then removed from those classified as literate, then the resultant literacy rate for the United States would be at most 65-85% depending on where in the basic, minimal competence where one sets the cutoff..

The study, the most extensive study of literacy ever carried out by the U.S. government, was released in April 2002 and then again in 2003 giving statistical data. It involved drawn out meetings of over 90,700 adults making allowances for age, gender, ethnicity, education level, and location urban, suburban, or rural in 12 states across the U.S. and was designed to represent the U.S. population as a whole. This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not “able to locate information in text”, could not simple conclusion using printed materials”, and were unable to identify easily recognizable bits of information.” Further, this study showed that 41% to 44% of U.S. adults in the lowest level of the literacy scale literacy rate of 35 or below were living in abject poverty because of their inability to read and write.

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