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89   The literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 increased to 89 per cent in 2009, up from 83 per cent in 1990.

Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Target 2A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling


Indicator 2.3: Literacy rate of 15-24 year olds, women and men


Worldwide, the literacy rate of youth (aged 15 to 24) increased from 83 per cent to 89 per cent between 1990 and 2009. Southern Asia and Northern Africa chalked up the most progress, with increases of 20 percentage points and 19 percentage points, respectively.

Sub-Saharan Africa showed significant improvement as well—a rise of 7 percentage points. Still, it remains the region with the lowest youth literacy rate (72 per cent in 2009).

In spite of overall progress, 127 million young people lacked basic reading and writing skills in 2009. Nearly 90 per cent of all illiterate youth live in just two regions: Southern Asia (65 million) and Sub-Saharan Africa
(47 million).


Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011

Reference:, p. 19