Photo: Gülfer ERGİN
Low income attributed to lack of literacy among underrepresented communities and communities of color. Photo: Gülfer ERGİN

Importance of literacy for underrepresented communities

21% of U.S adults have low literacy skills, with 54% of adults having a literacy below 6th grade level; annual income being strongly related to this outcome.


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In today’s world literacy, the ability to read and write, continues to be a pressing issue. According to a study conducted this year, 21% of U.S adults have low literacy skills , with 54% of adults having a literacy below 6th grade level.  Also, 34% of adults who lack proficiency in literacy were born outside of the U.S.

54% of adults are approximately 130 million American who read below 6th grade level, according to a recent study from the Department of Education— with income being strongly related to literacy. A 2020 estimate found adults making nearly $63,000 a year had a minimum level of proficiency in literacy with $48,000 a year or less being below proficiency or completely illiterate. 

However, the estimate provides information on how eradicating illiteracy could have enormous economic benefits—$2.2 trillion in annual income for the country. 

The Census reports that Hispanics households had a median income of $57,981 and Black households had $48, 297. “The 2021 real median incomes of householders with no high school diploma and those with a high school diploma but no college were not statistically different from their respective 2020 median incomes,” Census further reports. 

Underrepresented communities and communities of color lack the resources to excel beyond the poverty level.

For those interested in finding educational alternatives, here we share with you some of the organizations in Philadelphia that might help you 

  1. Coded by Kids, a tech education nonprofit dedicated to providing software development to underrepresented groups ages 8-18. 
  2. Reach Out and Read, is a national nonprofit that promotes reading to children.
  3. Children’s Literacy Initiative, is a national nonprofit working to advance equity in public education.
  4. Congreso de Latinos Unidos, is a nonprofit working to improve individuals and families in predominantly Latino neighborhoods by providing supportive services in health, housing, education, and employment. 
  5. EducationWorks, focuses on providing high quality education to children and young people. 
  6. Musicopia, aids Pre-K to 12th grade students to explore and develop their musical interests. 

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