Proportion of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex


SDG Indicator 4.6.1: Percentage of youth (aged 15-24 years) and of adults (15 years and above) who have achieved or exceeded a given level of proficiency in (a) literacy and (b) numeracy.

Data source

This indicator is collected via skills' assessment surveys of the adult population (e.g. the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), the Skills Towards Employment and Productivity (STEP) Measurement programme, the Literacy Assessment Measurement Programme (LAMP) and national adult literacy and numeracy surveys. Only PIAAC measures both skills. Both PIAAC and STEP surveys can be put on a common scale as they are linked psychometrically by design.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Calculation method

Percentage of youth and adults who have achieved at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional literacy and numeracy in a population-based skills survey.

Data required

• The definition of the fixed levels of functional literacy and numeracy;
• The proportion of youth and adults by each of the levels of literacy and numeracy skills based on a population-based skills survey; and
• The total population of youth and adults.


The higher the percentage of youth and adults above PIAAC level 2, the larger is the proportion of youth and adults with a minimum contextually-relevant literacy and numeracy skills.


Functional literacy and numeracy are related to context thus survey programs need furhter development in order to frame questions in a way that are meaningful to different economic and social-settings and could be more efficient to reflect population level of skills.


The indicator is a direct measure of the level of skills of youth and adults in two areas: literacy and numeracy.

Quality standards

OECD is the data compiler for PIAAC and the World Bank Group is the compiler for STEP, both used the PIAAC framework and skills level descriptors.

Types of disaggregation

Disaggregation by age group, sex, socio-economic status, and immigration status, as available.