A recent report from the OECD, an international economic development organization, shows that 36 million adults in the U.S. have low-literacy skills, and highlights the need for action to address the consequences of low-literacy skills in the United States. The report explains the overall inequities that exist, for example that one-third of adults with low skills are immigrants, or that 35% of blacks fall into this category compared to only 10% of whites. In addition, the OECD explains the negative impact low-literacy has on individuals and families in terms of social and physical well-being.

After describing the problem in depth, the authors offer seven policy recommendations. All seven focus on the urgent need for the U.S. government to invest in skill development, especially for adults already suffering from basic skill deficiencies.

This report is part of a larger OECD Skills Studies series, which aims to detail a strategic approach to creating skills policies across the world.