Gaining and Losing Literacy Skills Over the Lifecourse (2007)

This study uses data from IALS and ALL to explore how Canada’s stock of literacy skill evolved over the nine year period from 1994 to 2003. It employs a synthetic cohort analysis to document net skill change for various demographic groups for Canada and the provinces and to explore the individual characteristics that influence whether a particular group has gained or lost skill on average over the nine year reference period.

The analysis reveals the presence of significant literacy skill loss in adulthood, loss that would seem to be concentrated in adults from lower socio- economic backgrounds. Given the influence that literacy skill appears to exert upon individual labour market success and the overall performance of the economy understanding what underlies the loss and what, if anything, should be done by individuals, institutions or governments to slow or reverse the process, should be a priority.

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APA citation
J. Douglas Willms and T. Scott Murray. Gaining and Losing Literacy Skills Over the Lifecourse 2007. Web. 15 Aug. 2022 <>
J. Douglas Willms & T. Scott Murray (2007). Gaining and Losing Literacy Skills Over the Lifecourse. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
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