Fair Warning Spokanites,


it might surprise you to hear of the need

for basic care of children

in our city…


Basic Care Statistics

We know there are global needs, but we often forget or are unaware of the basic needs being unmet in our own country. Spokane is no exception. There are approximately 700-800 children in the foster care system in Spokane.

In Washington, there are approximately 5,000 homes for 10,000 children.

Nationally, there are 600,000 kids in care and more cases of neglect than any other reasons combined.

All this means public schools in America routinely see children who arrive hungry, angry at every adult in their lives, or who prefer school to home because it is safe & predictable. The need is real.

Early literacy conversation presumes basic care is in place.

If you or someone you know needs help meeting basic needs, you can learn more here.


Literacy Statistics

Adult literacy statistics can give us a glimpse of need & growth at a community level. Adult literacy impacts early literacy & both can be hard to assess. We’ll look at literacy & early literacy data globally, nationally & locally.

Just Give Me A Quick Overview



According to the International Literacy Association, 781 million people around the world can’t read & write. These numbers are challenging to be precise about as UNESCO explains in detail here. UNICEF estimates 115 million illiterate youth.



A National Adult Literacy Survey by the US Department of Education in 2002 attempted to quantify literacy rates using 5 levels. Approximately 61 million Americans fell in the middle, 34-40 million in levels 4 & 5, and 90 million in levels 1-2.

The National Center for Adult Literacy has some visuals, divided into 4 levels instead of 5 and comparing 1992 to 2003. They also have some data on early literacy trends in U.S. homes.

According to Proliteracy, children whose parents have the lowest literacy skills have a 72% chance of having the same level.

The National Coalition for Literacy estimates 36 million adults have low skills, 1 in 6 (literacy) or 1 in 3 (numeracy).

Ferst Readers estimates 1 in 4 American children will not grow up knowing how to read. They also say 61% of low-income families have no books & some low-income neighborhoods have a ratio of 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.

Reading is Fundamental estimates 93 million adults to be at or below basic level in reading (compare to 90 million in 2002 above) and that 65% of 4th graders read at or below the basic level.


By State

Here are…

3 links to find information by state:

Perspectives from a few of our larger states…

2 resources specific to Washington…

… and an interesting article about the most literate cities in the U.S.


Spokane didn’t make the list! But we care about literacy too 🙂 Plus, if basic care is any indicator, we have room to improve.