Almost half of Detroit unable to read

Almost half of Detroit is unable to read.
A study by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund found that 47 percent of adults in the city are ‘functionally illiterate’.

‘Functionally illiterate’ means they struggle with day-to-day tasks, like reading job applications, following a bus schedule or understanding product labels.

Those deemed illiterate however have been educated. The report indicated that the same group found to be ‘functionally illiterate’ had completed element education, where reading is taught and half of the group had either a high school diploma or a GED.

Nearly half of the city’s population lacks the necessary skills to work in even the most entry level and remedial jobs.

Increasing adult educational attainment is critical to connecting the one in two city residents who are currently unemployed and underemployed to good jobs in our new economy,” said Karen Tyler-Ruiz, director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. “This is a critical opportunity for Detroit, where we know that access to services to improve basic skills like reading and math are extremely limited in and around the city.”

Detroit however is not Michigan’s only problem spot. Surrounding cities and suburbs also show many residents are unable to adequately read. With a number of areas showing 24 percent to 34 percent of the area’s population is ‘functionally illiterate’.

The city, already in shambles due to the recession, experienced a major decline in population according to the 2010 US Census. The population fell by 25 percent, the city’s lowest numbers since 1910. Around one third of the city sits vacant and deteriorating.