Essential Skills and Social & Economic Equality [Video – 10:07] (2012)

This video features Scott Murray, president of DataAngel Policy Research, discussing the links between literacy levels, and social and economic equality.

The roots of inequality start early, Murray points out. Children from relatively rich backgrounds arrive at school already knowing the letters of the alphabet and showing a disposition to succeed. Because they already have the basic tools, they learn at a more rapid rate and go on to accumulate further economic and social advantages.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds may arrive at school without those basic tools and, as a result, they take more time and have more trouble becoming fluent readers. Their lack of fluency limits how much they can learn and, in turn, leads to negative feelings about education.

Those with lower literacy skills are more likely to have poor health, Murray notes. At the simplest level, that is because they have more trouble reading health information. But in addition, low-skilled workers end up in the riskiest jobs and may be subject to stresses that hurt their immune systems.

Differences in average literacy levels explain over 55 percent of the differences in long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and productivity. Raising the literacy skills of those at the lowest levels increases productivity and helps individuals improve their quality of life.

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APA citation
T. Scott Murray. Essential Skills and Social & Economic Equality [Video – 10:07] 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2021 <>
T. Scott Murray (2012). Essential Skills and Social & Economic Equality [Video – 10:07]. Retrieved February 27, 2021, from
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