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Illiterate Young Women Surplus

Map No.


This map shows the number of young women that would need to be educated to reach the same literacy rates as young men in each territory.

The biggest gaps between male and female literacy are in Southern Asia, Northern Africa and Southwestern Africa. In India, when the number of illiterate boys is subtracted from illiterate girls, the result is more than 4.2 million ‘extra’ girls who cannot read or write; in Nigeria it is more than 2 million, which is almost 15%of women aged 15-24 there.

The most ‘extra’ female illiteracy in the Middle East is in Yemen; in Eastern Europe it is in Turkey; in South America it is in Guatemala; and in North America it is in the United States.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

Territory size is proportional to the number of illiterate females aged 15 to 24 years, minus the number of illiterate males that age in the same territory in 2015. Only territories with greater female illiteracy have an area.

Data sources
This map uses data from the 2016 United Nations Human Development Report and population estimates from the 2017 World Population Prospects (last accessed March 2018). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

Further notes on the data, as well as all modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets. Data for this map will soon be available as a download.

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