Literacy in Columbia

Facts about Adult Literacy in South Carolina and the United States.

  • 828,804 adults in SC, aged 16 and over, do not have a high school diploma. This is 26.58% of the adult population
  • 31% of those without a diploma are age 60 or older
  • Equal numbers of men and women are without a diploma, with men constituting 49.4%, females 49.6%
  • 57% self-identify as white, and 29% self-identify as African-American
  • 38% are employed, 5% are unemployed, and 57% are “not in the labor force” (retired, homemakers, or are not seeking employment)
  • One third live below the poverty level
  • Half  survive on less than $12,000 a year
  • 6% use English as a second language or speak no English at all.

In Columbia:

  • About 1/3 of adults read below a 6th grade level
  • Many are older adults who attended segregated schools before 1970
  • Some lived in rural areas, worked on farms, and had poor school attendance, before attendance became mandatory

Sources: US Census Bureau, 2000; Associated Press

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