Adult literacy in China 1982-2015

Adult literacy rate in China from 1982 to 2015*

by Shu Han, last edited Sep 23, 2019
Adult literacy in China 1982-2015 The statistic shows the degree of adult literacy in China from 1982 to 2015. In 2015, the literacy rate, which is defined as people aged 15 and above who can read and write, had reached about 96.4 percent in China.
Literacy and education in China – additional information

By 2012, 84 percent of the world population aged 15 years and above had been able to read and write. While in developed regions this figure ranged a lot higher, only 60 percent of the African population was literate. Countries with the lowest literacy rates are also the most underdeveloped worldwide. According to UNESCO, literacy is a human right, especially in a fast-changing and technology-driven world. In China, the literacy rate has developed from 79 percent in 1982 to 97 percent in 2010, indicating that almost one million people per year have become literate over the past three decades. In India, the situation was entirely different. The second most populous country in the world displayed a literacy rate of merely 75 percent in 2006.

The dramatic increase in literacy in China has a lot to do with the efficacy of numerous political, economic and educational policies. In 1982, compulsory education was written into the Chinese constitution, postulating a nine-year compulsory education funded by the government. As is shown by the graph above, there was a large gender gap in literacy rate in China as of 1982. Though this gap still existed in 2010, it was narrowed down to 5.7 percent, starting from 28 percent in 1982. Since 1990, the national education policy was directed at females, especially from poor and/or minority families. Over the past years, China has achieved gender parity in primary schooling.

However, regional literacy disparities in China should not to be overlooked. Regions with a strong economic background tend to display illiteracy rates below national average. In contrast, economically underdeveloped regions have a much larger share of people who cannot read nor write. Tibet for instance, a region where 92 percent of the population belong to an ethnic minority, showed the highest illiterate rate nationwide, with almost 35 percent in 2012.
Show more

Adult literacy rate in China from 1982 to 2015*

You need to log in to download this statistic
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in
Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $588 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.

Premium Account
Your perfect start with Statista
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references

$49 / Month *

Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* All products require an annual contract.
   Prices do not include sales tax.
Leading companies trust Statista:
paypalgoogleadobepgsamsungtelekom
Statista is a great source of knowledge, and pretty helpful to manage the daily work.
Christof Baron

Christof Baron
CEO, MindShare Germany

Statistics on "Education in China"
  • General overview
The most important statistics
  • Education expenditure
  • Educational infrastructure
  • Student situation
  • Foreign students in China
  • Studying abroad
Discover Statista
Need help with using Statista for your research? Tutorials and first steps
Further Content: Statistics, Studies, and Topic Pages
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.
Do you have any questions about our business solutions?

We provide you with detailed information about our Corporate Account.