Literacy and the Standard of
Living in Latin America
What is Literacy Rate?
• A literate person is one who can read and write.
• Major factor in whether a person can get a job
and be successful in the workplace.
• A country’s literacy rate is the percentage of
the population over age 15 that can read and
• The standard of living (“economic level”
achieved by a person, family, or country) is
often higher in countries where the literacy rate
• If a country has a low literacy rate, do you think
it will have a high or low standard of living?
High Literacy Rate
High Standard of Living
Cycle of Poverty
• Having basic reading & writing skills is very
▫ Without skills, workers are stuck in the lowest-paying
• A cycle of poverty can develop when people cannot
get an education…
▫ Uneducated are forced to get low-paying jobs, so they
cannot get enough money to pay for their children’s
education…cycle continues for generations
• The standard of living remains low for these
families because their education level is low
Literacy in Latin America
• The countries of Latin America have improved
the literacy rates of their people in the past
• On average, 89% of Latin Americans are literate.
▫ Unfortunately, this means that the illiteracy
rate is 11%.
• The goal of every country is to have 100%
literacy rates among its people.
• One reason that many people cannot
read/write is that their communities
cannot afford to pay for teachers or
• Many governments, missionaries, & aid
groups come to the poorest countries in
Latin America & are assisting the people in
educating their children.
Boys Vs. Girls
• In some Latin American cultures, it’s more
important for boys to have an education than
▫ They believe that it is not as important for girls to
learn to read/write as it is for boys.
• Literacy Rates in the Region:
▫ Girls: 88% Boys: 91%
• In some countries, the difference between boys
& girls is much larger.