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Literacy rate in South Africa 2015

As of 2015, South Africa's total literacy rate was around 94.37 percent, which means almost 95 percent of all South Africans could read and write.

There is literally no definition

The literacy rate measures the percentage of people aged 15 and above who can read and write. There is no common definition for what counts as being literate; individual countries use individual assessments and standards to define it. Despite this, the literacy rate is an important indicator of the standard of education and thus the standard of living in a country.

Sub-standard Sub-Sahara

Although its educational system does not have the best reputation, South Africa’s literacy rate is well above average among their geographical peers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Illiteracy is still a significant global problem, and Sub-Saharan Africa is not among the leading regions when it comes to literacy and education. In 2011, 32 million children of primary school age did not go to school in that region, but projections see enrollment figures increasing in the future – if true, this could not only improve the region’s literacy rates, but also its standard of living and human progress in general.

South Africa: Literacy rate from 2007 to 2015, total and by gender

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Release date

April 2019


South Africa

Survey time period

2007 to 2015

Supplementary notes

The source does not provide conclusive data for 2013.

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Statistics on "South Africa"

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