Estonia 14th most literate nation in the world; Finland first

According to the World’s Most Literate Nations rankings by Central Connecticut State University, Estonia ranks as the 14th most literate nation in the world; the country’s northern neighbour, Finland, ranks first.

The study, conducted by John W. Miller, president of the university, analyses trends in literate behaviour and literacy in more than 60 countries.

The study found that Nordic countries are among the most literate in the world – Norway comes second after Finland, Iceland places third, Denmark fourth and Sweden fifth.

Estonia’s 14th place is somewhat overshadowed by Latvia’s ninth position in the rankings. However, Lithuania only ranks 31st.

The World’s Most Literate Nations ranks nations on their populace’s literate behaviours and their supporting resources, rather than populace’s ability to read.

“The rankings are based on five categories standing as indicators of the literate health of nations: libraries, newspapers, education inputs and outputs and computer availability. This multidimensional approach to literacy speaks to the social, economic, and governmental powers of nations around the globe,” according to Central Connecticut State University.

“The power and value of being literate in a literate society is played out every day around the world. Many individuals, and even whole societies, make considerable sacrifices to become literate just as others take it for granted. Societies that do not practice literate behavior are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal, and harsh,” the university said, adding that the rankings strongly suggest that these kinds of literate behaviors are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economies that define our global future.


Cover: Pärnu Library (photo by Andreas Härm/courtesy of Pärnu Library)

Enjoyed this article?
Please consider becoming a supporter.

About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at