Illiteracy was reported on the wane in Brazil. Among people aged 15 or older, the rate went from 7.2 percent in 2016 to 6.8 percent in 2018. Last year, 11.3 million people could not read or write.
The 0.1 percentage point slip from 2017 accounts for fewer than 121 thousand illiterate people in the two-year span. The figures come from the survey Pnad Educação, released in Rio de Janeiro today (Jun 19) by the government’s statistics agency IBGE.
The issue is believed to be strongly linked to age. The older the portion of the population, the higher the number of people who cannot read or write.
For 60-year-olds and older, the rate went from 20.4 to 18.6 percent—the highest proportion of all age groups. The value in 2018 corresponds to close to 6 million people.
The percentage is higher among women (19.1%) than men (18%), but when the comparison is drawn with people aged 15 and older, women show a lower rate (6.6%) than men (7%). Among older people, illiteracy is reported to stem from demographic issues, like aging population.
Despite the decline in the illiteracy rate, Brazil may not be able to meet the goal of eradicating the problem among people aged 15 and older by 2024. In the opinion of Mariana Aguas, analyst with IBGE’s Coordination for Labor and Revenue, the reduction seen for 2016–2018 is significant, but a lot can happen until 2024.