Guess Which Country is the Most Literate? Hint: It’s Not the U.S.

Photo via Visualhunt.

Finland is the most literate country in the world, followed by Norway and Iceland, according to an infographic by Global English Editing. The United States is ranked seventh.

“Literacy” refers to several characteristics, including number of libraries and newspapers, years of schooling, and availability of computers in a country. Global English Editing used 2016 statistics for its infographic.

Although the U.S. accounted for 30 percent of book sales, it wasn’t the most well-read country in the world. That honor belongs to India, followed by Thailand and China. Below are the highlights of the figures compiled by Global English Editing, which provides proofreading services.

Top 10 Most Literate Countries

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Iceland
  4. Denmark
  5. Sweden
  6. Switzerland
  7. United States
  8. Germany
  9. Latvia
  10. The Netherlands

Biggest Publishing Markets

  1. Unites States, 30 percent
  2. China, 10 percent
  3. Germany, 9 percent
  4. Japan, 7 percent
  5. France, 4 percent; United Kingdom, 4 percent

Top 10 Most Well-Read Countries

  1. India
  2. Thailand
  3. China
  4. Philippines
  5. Egypt
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Russia
  8. Sweden
  9. France
  10. Hungary

View Global English Editing’s infographic:  

Which Country Reads the Most? A Guide to Global Reading Habits

Read other stories about reading habits:

11 Things Only Bookworms Will Understand

Study: Reading Completion Rate for Books Correlates with Reader’s Age

Why Do We Buy Books? Let Me Count 8 Reasons


Leave a comment


  1. This hits my hot spot. And the U.S. doesn’t make the top ten in well read? Well, it all starts early, and I don’t mean teaching how to read. I mean reading aloud to children. If all teachers and parents did that, we’d be developing eager readers and learners. Jim Trelease talks about Finland and much more in his million copy bestseller, The Read Aloud Handbook. It’s a classic. Thank you for this terrific post!

  2. Hi Jennie. It’s indeed sad that Americans are reading less and less. I’ve never heard of Jim Trelease before; thanks for mentioning his book!

  3. Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this website daily, this website
    is truly fastidious and the people are actually sharing fastidious thoughts.


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