37% of All the Illiterate Adults in the World Are Indian

Though literacy rates are improving, population growth keeps illiterate numbers high

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Scene from the Dharavi slum, Mumbai

India has 287 million illiterate adults, the largest population globally and 37% of the world total, says a report by U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO.

India’s literacy rate increased by 15% between 1991 and 2006, but subsequent population growth had meant the total number of illiterate people has remained roughly the same.

India devotes around 10.5% of its total government expenditure on education. But while rich states like Kerala spend around $685 per pupil per year, in poorer states like Bihar expenditure is only around $100.

[The Hindu]