An estimated 1.l million US adults is illiterate in English and lack the skills to perform everyday tasks as a result, according to a governmental literacy study published Thursday.
The study emerged from tests conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the results are based on a sample of more than 19,000 adults of 16 years' old and above, representing a population of 222 million adults.
The 11 million adults who are not literate in English include people who may be fluent in another language, such as Spanish, but are unable to comprehend text in English.
The study also found that between 1992 and 2003, the nation's adults made no progress in their ability to read a newspaper, a book or any other prose arranged in sentences and paragraphs.
They also showed no improvement in comprehending documents such as bus schedules and prescription labels.
However, the adult population did make gains in handling quantitative tasks, such as calculating numbers found on tax forms or bank statements.
But even in that area of literacy, the typical adult showed only basic skills, only enough to perform simple daily activities.
The study also indicated that black adults made gains on each type of the tests while Hispanics showed sharp declines in their ability to handle prose and documents.
White adults made no significant changes except when it came to computing numbers, where they got better.