Literacy Statistics

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy [NAAL] defines literacy as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential".

NAAL identifies four levels of adult literacy:

  • Below Basic
  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Proficient

Over 40% of the adult population of Henderson County falls into the Below Basic and Basic levels. The percentages in Henderson County are very similar to those nationwide.

To put context to these numbers and understand how limiting this can be, consider that individuals scoring at the top of the Below Basic category are only able to do tasks as simple as

  • signing their name
  • locating the expiration date on their driver's license
  • using a pie graph to locate type of vehicle having specific sales

Individuals scoring at the top of the Basic category cannot do tasks more difficult than

  • Locating an intersection on a street map
  • Locating eligibility from table of employee benefits
  • Identifying and entering information on a social security card application

Over 40,000 adults in Henderson County do not have the Literacy of English language proficiency to be able to read the newspaper, help their children with their homework, or read their safety manuals at work. Blue Ridge Literacy Council volunteers work every day to change this.