I came across a staggering statistic which shows that 47% of Detroit’s population is functionally illiterate according to the Detroit Literacy Coalition (found via @LiteracyNewsWeb). I had already posted on the state of functional illiteracy in France. According to a study performed by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 22% percent of adults were Below Basic in 2003 (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills) in quantitative literacy, compared with 14 percent in prose literacy and 12 percent in document literacy. Literacy is defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” If you go beyond the US, the UNICEF stated that “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women. And they will live, as now, in more desperate poverty and poorer health than those who can. They are the world’s functional illiterates—and their numbers are growing.”