15 Facts about literacy rates in India

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For social and economic prosperity in India, literacy is essential. The 2011 census showed a 97.2% increase in literacy from 2001 to 2011, which is less than the rise of the preceding ten years. According to an old analytical 1990 research, if growth continued at the time, India wouldn’t reach universal literacy until 2060. The Census of India estimated that 73% of Indians were literate on average in 2011, whereas the National Statistical Commission estimated the number to be 77.7% in 2017–18. Urban areas had a literacy rate of 87.7%, which was greater than the 73.5% in rural regions. There is a significant gender gap in India’s literacy rates, with males having an effective literacy rate (age 7 and above) of 84.7% and women having a rate of 70.3%.

The census revealed a promising finding: development in female literacy rates (11.8%) was significantly quicker than growth in male literacy rates (6.9%) in the decadal period of 2001–2011, indicating that the gender gap appeared to be closing.

Following is the current definition of literacy used in the Indian census since 1991:

Literacy rate

The overall proportion of a community’s population, aged seven or older, who can write and read with understanding; is sometimes known as the “effective literacy rate.” The population who is seven years old or older is the denominator in this situation.

Nominal literacy rate

The overall proportion of residents in a region at a given moment who can write and read clearly, using the region’s whole population as the denominator (which includes children under the age of seven).

16 Facts about literacy rates in India

  1. The biggest adult illiteracy rate in the world, 287 million people, is found in India. 37% of the world’s total is represented by this.
  2. In India, girls make up 47.78% of school-age dropouts. In the upcoming census, they will be counted as illiterate mothers, which will influence how well their kids are educated.
  3. When it comes to the literacy rate of Dalits in India, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh are among the worst five states.
  4. Since the country’s independence, the literacy rate has climbed by six times. India has the biggest percentage of adult illiterates in the world, even though the literacy rate climbed from 12% in 2001 to 74% in 2011.
  5. In Bihar, the literacy rate for Dalit women was 38.5% in 2011. It lags behind India’s trend of advancement greatly. India’s national literacy rate, which was 43.7 in 1981, is still 30 years behind.
  6. India still has 60 lakh children who are not in school.
  7. RTE Act implementation has not yet been completed in 92% of government schools.
  8. In terms of female literacy rate, India comes in at position 123 out of 135 nations.
  9. India comes in at number four in South Asia, trailing only Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in terms of the female-to-male ratio, both of which is 0.85.
  10. From 29.3% in 1991 to 47.16% in 2013–14, women made up more of the total number of school instructors.
  11. According to a 2011 poll, India’s literacy rate has grown six times since its Independence.
  12. In India, there is just one instructor for every 50 students.
  13. Adult literacy in India is 63%.
  14. Adults who lack literacy are most prevalent in India.
  15. Only ten nations in the world have more than ten million adults who lack literacy, including India (286 million), China (54 million), Pakistan (52 million), Bangladesh (44 million), etc.


The adult literacy rate in India is currently 73.2 per cent, according to the latest data[a]. The number of illiterates in the country has decreased significantly over time, but there are still 313 million of them, with women making up 59 per cent of the total.

Illiteracy encompasses a wide range of interconnected causes and effects. Therefore, it would be simple to claim that a rise in literacy immediately correlates with good growth in the economy. Education wasn’t always necessary, but today it’s becoming clear that it’s important.

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