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The hidden costs of low literacy in Australia

SBS Source: SBS

Around 44 per cent of Australian adults lack the literacy skills required for everyday life, making daily tasks difficult.

The emotional, practical and financial toll of low literacy can be severe, particularly in a world that assumes almost everyone can read and write.

Being literate means more than just being able to write, read or count numbers.

Literacy generally refers to the ability to connect the things you hear and speak about with written and read text, and to think critically about them. While some people may have basic spelling abilities, it doesnt necessarily mean they can comprehend what the word means and how it would be used.

Numeracy likewise goes beyond being able to recognise a number; its about being able to practically apply maths and problem solving to everyday life.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the OECD, many adult Australians struggle with the literacy and numeracy skills required in daily life.

1 in 3 Australians have literacy skills low enough to make them vulnerable to unemployment and social exclusion.

 This week, Insight looks at why so many Australians have poor literacy skills, and what can be done to ameliorate the largely negative experiences of those who struggle with low literacy.

 

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