Low literacy - People who have trouble understanding information
In the Netherlands you come across text all day long: at work, on the street, in traffic, in a store, on the computer, in the pharmacy, reading children, sending a card, app or text message. People who have trouble with reading and writing therefore have trouble with a lot of things in their daily lives. With shopping, to find an address. This means that it is more difficult to participate in society. They are less self-sufficient and often have a poorer health than people who can read and write well.
People who have difficulty reading and writing, you call low-literate people. Often they also have trouble with arithmetic. For writing and reading, they easily reach the level that children should have when they leave primary school. Of all people aged between 16 and 65 in the Netherlands, almost 1.3 million are illiterate. That is about 1 in 9 people. Two thirds of these are people who have lived in the Netherlands all their lives. Some of the low-literate people are mentally retarded or have an intellectual disability. There are more low-literate among older people than among people up to 65 years of age. A third of the low-literate people come from a different country.
Low-literate people can read and write a little, but they have a lot of trouble with it. If someone is low literate, that does not mean that he is an illiterate. Low literacy is also something other than illiteracy. People who are illiterate can not read or write at all.
Many low-literate people have had little training and have a lower paid job. Socially, they have a low socio-economic position. This is also called a low socio-economic status or in short low SES. They often live in social rented housing and more often in disadvantaged neighborhoods.