Study Finds Rampant Illiteracy in L.A. County

Jean Merl, L. A. Times, Sep. 9

Irene Hernandez knows all too well what life is like for the estimated 3.8 million Los Angeles County adults who can barely read, write or speak English.

. . .

And on Wednesday, she joined civic, business and education leaders as they released an extensive report on literacy problems in the Los Angeles area and mapped out a five-year plan to address them.

The study was launched in June 2003 by Mayor James K. Hahn and conducted by United Way with more than 100 private and public organizations participating. It produced some grim findings:

—Fifty-three percent of working-age Los Angeles County residents have trouble reading street signs or bus schedules, filling out job applications in English or understanding a utility bill. The national average is 48%, according to the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey.

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