The ability to read and write provides an opportunity to escape generational poverty and live a more enriched life. Quality education also plays a vital role in the growth of the social-economical standards of the country. According to the Census of India 2011 data, the average literacy rate in India is approximately 73 percent.The Indian government has been working consistently to increase literacy rates. The Right To Education Act 2009 was enacted to offer free and compulsory elementary education to kids between the age group of 6 years to 14 years. Education is a source of pride and confidence, the gateway to financial stability and prosperity.

What is Literacy Rate?

The literacy rate determines the percentage of the population capable of reading and writing. The literacy rate is further divided into adult literacy rate (ages 15 and above) and youth literacy rate (ages 15 to 24).

According to the National Literacy Mission Programme, a person must acquire the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic to be called literate. Basic comprehension skills to communicate effectively and solve day-to-day problems also determines literacy.

What Are The Main Causes of Illiteracy?


Poor financial conditions can often lead to Illiteracy and vice versa. Families with low income are unable to pay school fees and instead prefer that their children start working at a young age. Even after the launch of free elementary education and mid-day meal scheme in India, families who suffer from generational poverty reject the idea of educating their children. It is a never-ending cycle that can only break by creating awareness around the importance of education.

Uneducated Parents

Children brought up by parents who cannot read and write are more likely to stay uneducated. The 2011 census of India report also showcases a disparity in the literacy rate between the rural and urban areas. But parents who had some sort of formal education understand the importance of education for children and its role in creating a bright future. Therefore, educated families go beyond their capacity to educate their children.

Lack of Infrastructure

India still needs more schools in rural and remote areas. Parents hesitate to send their children to a school which is kilometres away from their home. Also, even if there are transportation facilities available, most families cannot afford the cost of private transportation, which results in more children staying at home.

Lack of Awareness

The lack of awareness regarding the importance of education can increase the illiteracy rate. In remote rural areas, where a larger number of people never had any formal education, illiteracy rates are going to be high.

Literacy Rate of States in India

State Average Literacy Rate Male Female
Andhra Pradesh 66.4 75.56 59.74
Arunachal Pradesh 66.95 73.69 59.57
Assam 73.18 78.81 67.27
Bihar 69.82 73.39 53.33
Chhattisgarh 71.04 81.45 60.59
Goa 87.4 92.81 81.84
Gujarat 79.31 87.23 70.73
Haryana 76.64 85.38 66.77
Himachal Pradesh 83.78 90.83 76.6
Jharkhand 66.4 78.45 56.21
Karnataka 75.6 82.85 68.13
Kerala 93.91 96.02 91.98
Madhya Pradesh 70.63 80.53 60.02
Maharashtra 82.91 89.82 75.48
Manipur 79.85 86.49 73.17
Meghalaya 75.48 77.17 73.78
Mizoram 91.58 93.72 89.4
Nagaland 80.11 83.29 76.69
Odisha 73.45 82.4 64.36
Punjab 76.68 81.48 71.34
Rajasthan 67.06 80.51 52.66
Sikkim 82.2 87.29 76.43
Tamil Nadu 80.33 86.81 73.86
Tripura 87.75 92.18 83.15
Uttarakhand 79.63 88.33 70.7
Uttar Pradesh 69.72 79.24 59.26
West Bengal 77.08 82.67 71.16

List of Union Territories By Literacy Rates

Union Territories of India Average Literacy Rate Male Female
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 86.27 90.11 81.84
Chandigarh 86.43 90.54 81.38
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 77.65 86.46 65.93
Daman & Diu 87.07 91.48 79.59
Delhi 86.34 91.03 80.93
Lakshadweep 92.28 96.11 88.25
Puducherry 86.55 92.12 81.22

Literacy Rate of Women in India

According to a report published by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the female literacy rate in India is approximately 70.3 per cent. Rajasthan has the lowest women’s literacy rate in India at 57.6 per cent. Kerala has the highest female literacy rate at 95.2 per cent.

State Female Literacy Rate



Andhra Pradesh




Uttar Pradesh




Why is the Literacy Rate Low Among the Females?

India is focusing on reducing the gap in literacy rates between the two genders. Even though the nation has witnessed significant progress, the literacy rate amongst females remains a concerning issue.

But with the implementation of various girl education initiatives, the gap between the male and female literacy rates is slowly narrowing over time. According to data, there are still over 186 million females in India who cannot read or write in any language.

Here are some of the reasons for low literacy rates in females:

  • The lack of proper sanitation for girls is a major challenge for schools in rural areas. A study was conducted on 188 government primary schools. As per the data published, nearly 89 per cent of schools did not have washroom facilities.
  • Discrimination against female students based on gender and caste.
  • Stereotypes based on gender roles result in a large number of girls abandoning their education.
  • Child marriage or early marriage is still prevalent in many parts of India, with Andhra Pradesh showing the highest number of child marriages. Families with poor socio-economic conditions and low education are more likely to give more importance to early marriage than education.

Facts About Literacy Rate In India

In India, the effective literacy rate is calculated by dividing the total number of literate persons aged 7 or above by the total population aged 7 and above and multiplying it by 100.

Kerala is the most literate state in India, with the highest literacy rate of 94 percent.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) survey, Andhra Pradesh has the lowest literacy rate at 66.4 per cent.