Literacy and Life Chance: How Literacy Affects Health and Mortality
Literacy (or lack thereof) directly affects a person’s quality of life. In a simple sense, literacy is a person’s ability to read, write, and communicate. Almost every aspect of your life is dependent on literacy in the present and in the future. A study by the World Health Organization found that people with low literacy levels are more likely to be unemployed, have low incomes, and exhibit unhealthy habits.
The literacy and life expectancy study by the National Literacy Trust also found that people with low literacy levels earn at least 12% less than those who are highly literate. Literacy levels also have a direct effect on health. According to the World Health Organization, children from low-income homes have a 17-year lower lifespan than those from high-income families (62 years vs 79 years).
The Literacy Changes Lives report in 2008 also found that low literacy is associated with inequalities in crime, family life, civic engagement, economic well-being, and physical and mental health. It also found that socioeconomic well-being and health have a direct effect on a person’s longevity. In the UK, literacy and educational achievement has a significant effect on a person’s socioeconomic status.
Literacy and Life Chance: How Literacy Improves Quality of Life
Alleviate people from poverty
Literacy is a powerful weapon against poverty. One of the biggest influences of literacy on a person’s life is its ability to alleviate people and families from poverty. A person’s life is enriched by literacy, and it also gives them the chance to learn skills that will enable them to support their families and themselves. When a person is literate, he is more likely to find a decent and good-paying job.
Literacy reduces infant mortality rates and improves life expectancy
Literacy has a direct effect on a person’s health. Education on health is very important to control the population, prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, and promote vaccination, especially in poorer areas. When people are literate, common and curable diseases are easily eradicated!
Literacy promotes lifelong learning
Students who have trouble reading and lack basic literacy are more likely to leave school early and not finish their basic education. But, when a child is exposed to literacy at a young age, he/she is more likely to crave more knowledge as he/she grows.
Building a love for learning is very important. You start by building a reading habit in young children. Develop a bedtime routine where you and your child can enjoy a book together. Choose a book that they’d like, such as a personalised book where they are the hero of the story!
Literacy opens more job opportunities
Lack of fundamental literacy and numeracy abilities automatically disqualify many people from a large range of respectable careers. Moreover, people with lower levels of literacy are locked out of the job market and have a hard time looking for a job. When they do find a job, there’s a big chance that they’ll end up with lower-paying jobs.
Overall, literacy greatly impacts a nation’s economy. In the United Kingdom alone, 16% of adults are considered “functionally illiterate”, which means they lack the basic skills (such as reading and writing) to be able to manage daily living and employment roles.
The World Literacy Foundation reported that illiteracy cost the global economy at least $1.5 trillion a year. It also reported that the estimated number of people that are unemployed in the world today is around 192 million.
Literacy has a significant impact on the world, and that’s why it should be taken more seriously. It affects a person’s quality of life and it even impacts the world as a whole. The benefits of increased literacy extend beyond local and neighbourhood levels to the national level as well. Increased economic power fosters greater worker productivity.