Twenty-five percent of adults who were out of the labor force were found to be at the two lowest levels on the literacy scale. Low skills costs the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in terms of workforce non-productivity, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Of adults with the lowest literacy levels, 43 percent live in poverty, and 70 percent of adult welfare recipients have low literacy levels.
Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. However, low-literate parents who improve their own skills and are qualified to hold down a job with family-sustaining wages are more likely to have a positive impact on their children’s education.