Young adult literacy rate in Nigeria (State by State)

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This is the young adult literacy rate in Nigeria. The data presented here are based on figures made available to by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME). These figures represent the state of things regarding literacy of Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 24 by gender as at 2017.

According to the Digest of Education Statistics in Nigeria published by the FME, the national female young adult literacy rate is 59.3% while that of the male is 70.9%. The publication also puts the national literacy rate in Nigeria at 65.1%.

This data is very relevant in line with the importance of education in the advancement of women as stated in the Beijing Platform for Action as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

The Platform for Action, gathered, was instituted in 1995. It called for the elimination of gender-based discrimination in education at all levels, eradication of illiteracy among women and improving access to vocational training, science and technology education, and continuing education.

Like it, education is applicable to Goal 4 of the SDG while gender equality applies to Goal 5. The SDGs came into being in 2015 to consolidate on the gains of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Some other Global Goals, as the SDGs are also known would be achieved with adequate level of literacy across both gender.

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The map in the picture below shows that 17 states, mainly in Northern Nigeria have literacy rates below the national literacy rate in either both genders or mainly with the female gender. It also indicates that the remaining 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have a literacy for both genders above the national literacy rate in Nigeria.

Young adult literacy rate in Nigeria (age 15-24)

Defining literacy

We depend on the definition of literacy as given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) here.

UNESCO defines a literate person as one who can with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement on his/her everyday life, and an illiterate person as one who cannot with understanding both read and write a short simple statement in his/her daily life.

A much recent definition of literacy by UNESCO describes it as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.”

Female young adult literacy rate in Nigeria (State by State)

Female young adult literacy rate in Nigeria

As already stated, we have a 59.3% female literacy rate for Nigerians between 15 and 24 years old. Beyond this national average, we have the division by geopolitical zones, which puts the South East ahead of the rest with 95.4% literacy rate and the Northwest with the lowest at 38%.

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Following the Southeast are the South-South at 94.8%, the South West at 92.6%, the North Central at 62% and the North East at 41.9%.

On a state-by-state basis, Imo State leads with a 98.2% literacy rate, followed by Abia with 98.2% and Rivers with 98.1%.

Others in the top ten in that order are Anambra (98.1%), Enugu (97.9%), Ekiti (96.7%), Bayelsa (96.8%), Edo (94.9%), Osun (94.7%) and Akwa Ibom (94.6%).

In the least ten are Kano (46.1%), Niger (37.6%), Gombe (37.5%) Katsina (32.6%), Zamfara (31%), and Kebbi (30.9%). The rest are Yobe (28.3%), Bauchi (25.6%), Jigawa (24.8%) and Sokoto (20.1%).

While Imo has the highest female young adult literates, Sokoto has the lowest. From the above, 79.9% of females of Sokoto State origin between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterates while merely 1.8% of that age group are from Imo.

In all, fifteen states fall below the national literacy rate and the same number applies for national average literacy rate of females between age 15 and 24. Aside the aforementioned least 10, the rest are Borno, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, and Adamawa.

Male young adult literacy rate in Nigeria (State by State)

Male young adult literacy rate in Nigeria

We already told you that the national average literacy of males between age 15 and 24 is 70.9%. This means that a majority of male young adults in Nigeria are educated.

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On a regional basis, the South-South region leads 95% while the North East the least with 53.1%.

Following the South-South is the South East at 94.3%, the South West at 93.7%, the North Central at 76.4%, and the North West at 57.5%.

At the top on a state-by-state basis is Ekiti with 99% male young adult literacy rate. It is followed by Imo (98.9%), and Osun (98.8%).

Lagos, Edo and Bayelsa all have a young male adult literacy rate of 98.3%. Those of Enugu, Delta, Anambra, Cross River are put at 96.8%, 95.3%, 95.1% and 95% respectively.

The least ten state in young adult literacy are Katsina (62.6%), Borno (60.3%), Niger (58.9), Zamfara (53%), Gombe (47.5%) and Sokoto (47.4%). The rest are Yobe (42.7%), Kebbi (41.8%), Bauchi (39.8%) and Jigawa (32.3%). These states also fall below the national literacy rate.

Thirteen states have male literates between age 15 and 24 below the national average of 70.9%. Aside the least ten, the remaining are Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna states.

Generally, the data show that states in Northern Nigeria dominate the bottom of the indices of young adult literacy for both gender while states in Southern Nigeria are at the top.


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