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Finland is the Most Literate Nation

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A 2016 study conducted by John Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain found Finland to be the most literate nation. The study didn't just measure a country's ability to read, but ranked nations on their "literate behaviors and supporting resources." This includes everything from the number of libraries and newspapers to years of schooling and access to computers. Population was considered to give per capita ratios.

Finland came out on top, but its fellow Nordic countries closely follow. Norway was ranked second in literacy, followed by Iceland, Denmark and Sweden. Switzerland ranked sixth in literacy, with the US in seventh, Canada in 11th, France in 12th and the UK in 17th place. The nation with the lowest literacy rate was Botswana in 61st place, behind Indonesia in 60th and Thailand in 59th. Miller believes that Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden took the five top slots in the study because "their monolithic culture values reading."

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Acclaimed author Aki Ollikainen has his own theory why Finns are so literate. "The most important thing is that schooling is equal, reading and educating have been appreciated also by working class and that the profession of teaching and education is also appreciated." He added: "I have to say, that I'm very proud of the Finnish school system and also our libraries, which have very versatile collections available to all. Everybody has an equal opportunity to learn and to read. In Finland we are used to keeping this obvious, but globally it is luxurious." Finland is the birthplace of many other notable writers, including the creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson.

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Take a closer look at the rankings below:

Top 10 most literate countries
1 Finland
2 Norway
3 Iceland
4 Denmark
5 Sweden
6 Switzerland
7 US
8 Germany
9 Latvia
10 Netherlands

Top five by educational investment
1 Brazil
2 Israel
3 Mexico
4 Belgium
5 Argentina

Top five by test scores
1 Singapore
2 Finland
3 South Korea
4 Japan
5 China

By libraries
1 Estonia
2 Latvia
3 Norway
4 Iceland
5 Poland

By newspapers
1 Finland
2 Norway
3 Germany
4 Switzerland
5 Czech Republic

By households with computers
1 Netherlands
2 Iceland
3 Denmark
4 Luxembourg
5 Norway

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