Good Why Lack Of Literacy Is A Problem Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Literacy, Workplace, People, Social Issues, Crime, Illiterate, Prison, Illiteracy

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/10

Traditionally, literacy has often been described as inability to read and/or write. However, the meaning of the word is much broader. In order to understand the meaning of literacy properly, we have to put the meaning in context. The broader meaning would include the inability to read and write as well as the inability to understand images, symbols, gestures and other dominant ways of communicating in a culture. Therefore, a new branch has appeared which refers to cultural literacy. Despite the broad description, there are problems associate with illiteracy in every culture. There are links of lack of literacy with crime, integration problems, problems in employment and personal problems like lack of reading skills, and limited ways of self-expression.

Links of illiteracy with unemployment and crime in the United States

With the current markets, the demand for skilled workers is very high. These skilled workers are the people who qualify for the best paying jobs in the market. However, unskilled labor demands a large percentage of the workforce with these people involved in basic jobs that are not very well paying. After the economic crisis, the number of literate people or people with skills out of work has risen rapidly. Although the economic recovery has led to creation of many jobs, many of these are in the low skills category. Many people are overqualified for these jobs and they tend to get employed more easily (Guzzetti, Donna and Jerry, 312).
This pushes out the illiterate and semi-literate people further down the employment ladder. This has led to a situation where illiterate people have a small chance of getting a job. This in turn has led to high unemployment rates among the illiterate. According to data from the adult literacy survey of 1992, 34% of the American population was in; literacy level 1 and literacy level two, the bottom rankings for literacy. 14% of the sample size was in literacy level 1, the lowest ranking. Educational attainment matched with the literacy levels. 21% of the low wageworkers were in literacy level 1 while 28% were in literacy level 2. 60% of all the unemployed people in the country fell in the two lowest categories of literacy. This figure shows that there is a direct problem of unemployment associated with poor literacy (Kirsch, 12).
Subsequently, illiteracy and unemployment combine to create the problem of crime. Because these people cannot get formal employment but still need to make a living, they resort to illegal activities. These activities do not require specialized skills, such as robbery, drug peddling, prostitution, and similar vices. The connection between illiteracy and crime can be seen clearly using department of justice figures. Over sixty percent of all inmates in correctional facilities in the United States are illiterate. Further, 85% of all juveniles who come to the juvenile court system are also illiterate. There are more figures that indicate that educational completion rates were much lower within the criminal system than those of the general population were. 18% of the general population has not completed high school in contrast to 40% of state prison inmates, 27% of federal prison inmates, 47% in local jails, and 31% of those serving probation sentences. It is therefore clear that illiteracy among the population has a direct effect on employment and crime (Harlow, 2 – 7).

Works Cited

Guzzetti, Barbara J, Donna E. Alvermann, and Jerry L. Johns. Literacy in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Theory, and Practice. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2002. Internet resource.
Harlow, C. W. (2003). Education and Correctional Populations. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report.
Kirsch, Irwin S. Adult Literacy in America: A First Look at the Results of the National Adult Literacy Survey. US Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC 20402 (Stock No. 065-000-00588-3)., 1993.

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