Study Finds One-Third in D.C. Illiterate

AP, March 19, 2007

About one-third of the people living in the national’s capital are functionally illiterate, compared with about one-fifth nationally, according to a report on the District of Columbia.

Adults are considered functionally illiterate if they have trouble doing such things as comprehending bus schedules, reading maps and filling out job applications.

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The growing number of Hispanic and Ethiopian immigrants who aren’t proficient in English contributed to the city’s high functional illiteracy level, which translated to 170,000 people, said Connie Spinner, director of the State Education Agency. The report says the district’s functional illiteracy rate is 36 percent and the nation’s 21 percent.

Adults age 65 and older had the lowest literacy score of any group, the report found.

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