Literacy matters for many reasons

Programs that advance literacy have a tremendous positive effect on us all because literacy rates affect every segment of society.

Literacy Matters for the Economy

A one per cent increase in literacy levels would raise Canada’s productivity by 2.5 per cent, or an estimated $32 billion boost to our annual GDP.

Literacy Matters for Health

Thirty per cent of those with high literacy say they have excellent health, compared to 19 per cent of those with low literacy.

Researchers estimate that three to five per cent of total health care costs are due to limited understanding about health information. This translates into $680 million each year in B.C.

Literacy Matters for Seniors

Literacy skills may decline with age due to health problems and lack of use. Over 70 per cent of seniors have low literacy.

Seniors with low literacy may have problems filling out pension forms or understanding medical information.

Literacy Matters for Immigration

By 2030, immigration is expected to provide 100 per cent of new labour force growth.

60 per cent of immigrants with a first language other than English have literacy levels below a high-school graduate.

Over one quarter of B.C.’s population was born outside of Canada.

Literacy Matters for Aboriginal People

Aboriginal students make up 10 per cent or more of the school population in many school districts.

School completion rates for Aboriginal people remain below 50 per cent, compared with 79 per cent for the general student population.

Literacy Matters for Families

Reading to children before they start school helps develop their language skills and their interest in reading and learning in general.

The children of parents with higher education levels have higher literacy levels, and much of the benefit comes with high school graduation.

Literacy Matters for Children and Youth

In B.C., one in four children is “developmentally vulnerable” when beginning kindergarten and one student in five is not completing high school in the expected time.

Almost four in 10 youths aged 15 have insufficient reading skills.

In 2008, 20 per cent of Canadian teenagers aged 15 to 19 were no longer pursuing a formal education.

The Canadian government will spend more than $2,500 on employment insurance and $4,000 on social assistance annually for each high school dropout, for a total annual cost of $2.4 billion.

 

 

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