Finland is the world’s most literate nation, according to new research carried out by John Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
Instead of employing the common practice of measuring a country’s ability to read, the study ranked nations on literacy achievement tests and also what it called “literate behaviour characteristics”, which included everything from numbers of libraries and newspapers to years of schooling and computer availability in the countries.
The study set out to look at data from 200 countries, drawing from sources ranging from Unesco to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, only 61 made the final cut, “due to lack of relevant statistics”. Population was also considered to give per capita ratios.
The Nordic countries dominated the top of the charts, with Finland in first place and Norway in second, and Iceland, Denmark and Sweden rounding out the top five. Switzerland followed in sixth, with the US in seventh, Canada in 11th, France in 12th and the UK in 17th place. Botswana was last, in 61st place, behind Indonesia in 60th and Thailand in 59th.
The report discovered that if it only ranked nations on their reading assessment results, Singapore would top the list, followed by South Korea, Japan and China in second, fourth and fifth places respectively. Finland is the only non-Pacific Rim country to make the top five, in joint second place.
“When factors other than test scores are included, there is not a single Pacific Rim country among the top 25,” says the report.
According to Miller, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden took the five top slots in the study because “their monolithic culture values reading”.
Finnish author Aki Ollikainen, said, “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 use to keeping this obvious, but globally it is luxurious.”
Here is a list of the top 10 most literate countries:
Top five by educational investment:
Top five by test scores:
3. South Korea
5. Czech Republic
By households with computers:
This article originally appeared on Guardian.