World literacy statistics show that Africa has the largest number of countries with 60% of illiterate people. Purple color shows those countries, where 40-60% of the population is illiterate. Orange color shows those countries, where 20-40% of the population is illiterate.
Light Green color shows those areas where 5-20% of the population is illiterate. Most of North America, Europe and Australia fall into the category of less than 5% adult illiteracy . Third world literacy figures show that in the developing countries, most of the population is illiterate. Highest illiteracy rates are observed in developing countries such as South Asian, Arab and Sub-Saharan countries. In developed countries the illiteracy rate is low. For instance, illiteracy in America cannot be compared with the functional illiteracy rates of the third world. US illiteracy is a meager 2.8 million in a country of more than 300 million people. Several factors, the development of a region, economic status as well as urbanization affect the region's literacy rate, illiteracy statistics reveal.
World literacy rates as a whole presents a bleak picture. World statistics show that the education world in the developing countries is caught up in a vicious circle: in order to provide education for its populace, the governments of these countries need to allocate funds. But funds are available only if there is economic development in the country. Many international organizations like the UNESCO and non-governmental organizations on world literacy missions make arduous effort to eliminate this social handicap.