…found on the Health Literary listserv — submitted by Jaleh Behroozi Soroui
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the National Assessment of Adult Literacy: Indirect County and State Estimates of the Percentage of Adults at the Lowest Literacy Level for 1992 and 2003, which provides estimates on the percentage of adults – for all states and counties in the U.S. – who lack basic prose literacy skills. The study provides data for 2003 and 1992. This new data is currently the only available snapshot of adult literacy rates for individual states and counties.
To produce this study, NCES gathered data from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), a nationally representative sample of more than 19,000 Americans age 16 and older, and the 2000 Census, which provided “predictor variables” such as education and income.
NAAL data were correlated with the predictor variables to see if there was a pattern among them. From this information, a model was established. Using the model, estimates were predicted for areas where there were not sufficient assessment data. The same approach was also applied to the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), so changes from 1992 to 2003 can be examined.
The report is accompanied by an interactive web tool, which shows the percentage of adults lacking Basic Prose Literacy Skills for all states and counties. In addition to allowing users to view adult literacy percentages for any given state, the web tool also allows for comparisons to be made between two states, two counties in the same state, two counties in different states, across years for a state, and across years for a county.