A map of the world’s literacy rates ought to help me plan my company’s expansion programme

A storage facility based on the notion of storing printed paper requires two things: an economy that prints lots of paper and a population that can read. Take away either, and the demand to store printed items declines.

The problem is, the moment one starts looking at literacy rates people seem to become rather agitated, arguing about the accuracy of the figures, the date of the figures, and all sorts of other things.

So let me say from the start that I can’t vouch for these figures – I just present them because I found them on the internet and they look interesting.

Now to get on with my theme, let me illustrate this notion that dubious and unchecked claims of literacy levels are interesting with a question:

Which countries claim to have 100% literacy?

And I will bet you that you don’t get them all right.


Not cheating by scrolling down the page are you?


The answer is…

North Korea
Norfolk Island

Now there are two territories here which I am surprised at not being in the 100% league (along with my feelings of doubt concerning the inclusion of North Korea!): Guernsey and Jersey. They are listed on my chart, but with no information. Given that the adult population of the States of Guernsey is just 65,000 I didn’t think it would be too hard to find out what the literacy rate is. But I was wrong.

Gibraltar, incidentally, with a population of 30,000 has a literacy level of under 80%, which I find inexplicable. Not only inexplicably low, but inexplicable that they can’t get a figure more accurate than under 80%.

But to go back at the top we have a near miss in Estonia, which records a literacy level of 99.8%
Down at the other end we have Afghanistan with a 28.1% literacy, Burkina Faso with 28.7% and Mali with 27.7%. In all these countries female literacy is way below that of male literacy.

So now I know where to avoid when the next expansion project of Admiral Storage comes up. Afghanistan, Burkina Faso and Mali are all off the list. Mind you, now I come to think of it, so is North Korea, so maybe using literacy rates as a mechanism for defining the company’s expansion programme wasn’t such a good idea anyway.

One final thought, Iceland, the country I wrote about a while back as having the biggest percentage of authors in its population of any country in the world, doesn’t feature in the 100% literacy list. It actually scores 99%, along with Ireland, Italy, the Maldives and quite a few others – including the UK and the USA.

The Maldives sounds nice though. They’ve probably got enough storage in America as it is.

Admiral Document Storage is based in the West Midlands. You can find more information about us on our website at www.archive-document-storage.co.uk.

Alternatively please do give us a call on 0800 783 9516.


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