Illiteracy is defined as the inability to read English at or above the fourth grade level.
America is losing its place as a world leader in education, and in fact is becoming less educated. By one set of measures, more than 88 million adults have at least one major educational barrier—no high school diploma, no college, or exhibit ESL language needs.
While we score as one of the highest countries in numbers of well educated people, we also score near the top in the largest number of people at the lowest education levels.
Source: National Commission on Adult Literacy