About 91.6 percent Filipinos 10 to 64 years old were functional literate1 in 2019, according to the results of the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS). This translates to around 73.0 million out of 79.7 million in the same age group who are considered literate on a functional level.
Generally, functional literacy rates among the population 10 to 64 years old across sexes and age groups were higher in 2019 than in 2013. In 2019, females posted higher functional literacy rate (92.9%) than males (90.2%). Both posted significantly higher rates compared with the proportion of functional literate female (92.0%), and male (88.7%) Filipinos in 2013. Among age groups, 20 to 24-year-old (96.0%) Filipinos had the highest functional literacy rate in 2019, while those aged 60 to 64 years old (84.8%) had the lowest. (Figure 1, and Table 1)
Across regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) registered the highest (96.5%), and lowest (71.6%) functional literacy rate, respectively. (Figure 2, and Table 1)
Filipinos who are at least junior high school completers in the K-12 curriculum or equivalently high school graduates in the old curriculum were reported to have very high functional literacy rates (100.0%). 2 This also remained true across all regions. Meanwhile, persons who had no grade completed or received early childhood education were reported to have the lowest functional literacy rate of 2.7 percent. (Tables 2, and 3)
About half (53.4%) of Filipinos in the age group 10 to 64 years old had a literacy level 4, or had completed at least four years of secondary education (that is, at least junior high school completer/high school graduate), and most of them were from the 20 to 24 years old age group (76.7%). Moreover, around three-fifths (60.5%) of Filipinos in the age group 10 to 64 years old living in urban areas, and two-fifths (44.3%) of those living in rural areas were in literacy level 4. (Figure 3, and Table 4)
Also, about half (52.4%) of elementary graduates can read, write, compute, and comprehend. Additionally, 77.7 percent of Filipinos in the age group 10 to 64 years old had the minimum set of skills/competencies in functional literacy level 3. (Tables 5, and 6)
The FLEMMS 2019 is a nationwide household-based survey and one of the designated statistical activities of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) by virtue of Executive Order 352.
DENNIS S. MAPA, Ph.D.
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General