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Literacy in India


  • Sandeep Kapur
  • Mamta Murthi

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)


Literacy refers to an individual’s ability to communicate through reading and writing. The literacy rate for any population measures the fraction of the population, above a certain cut-off age, that is literate. Based on the most recent statistics compiled by UNESCO, more than one in three Indians above the age of 15 years is unable to read and write. Further, the roughly 268 million adult illiterates in India constitute one-third of the global population of illiterates. International comparisons show that the Indian literacy rate is well below those for other populous countries like China and also below those for developing countries in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandeep Kapur & Mamta Murthi, 2009. "Literacy in India," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0907, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0907

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
    2. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Why Have Some Indian States Done Better Than Others at Reducing Rural Poverty?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 17-38, February.
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