Against the background of the reduced supply and high demand for labor, every potential worker is important for the development of the Bulgarian economy. Proficiency in the Bulgarian language - at least at the most basic level - is among the main requirements for the activation of the remaining people outside the labor market, and their literacy should be an important political goal. In order to achieve it, however, it is first necessary to be clear where the efforts should be directed. The data collected with the population census allow the assessment of the distribution of the illiterate both by municipality and in the different age groups.

Expectedly, given the rapid improvements in the scope of the education system, the share of illiterates among the population under the age of 14 is relatively low - 1.26%, but it reaches 11% in the municipality of Tvarditsa, and 10% each in Krushari and Maglizh. There are several visible clusters of high illiteracy among school-age children - in the Sliven and Yambol region, as well as near Kardjali, Dobrich and Silistra. In these places, school education still clearly has problems with reaching all children, as well as with the quality of education. As for the 15-24 year olds, another cluster is forming in the Lovech region, as well as several municipalities around Plovdiv. There is also the municipality with the most illiterate among this group - Peruštitsa, with as many as 28%.

Among the 25-34-year-olds, this geographical distribution is preserved, but with a significant one

a higher share of illiterates in the small municipalities around Plovdiv and Stara Zagora, as well as individual municipalities along the border with Serbia.

The 35-44-year-old group has the highest average share for the country - 1.61%, and it is significantly higher practically in the entire South-Eastern and North-Eastern part of the country, as well as in significant parts of the North-Central region, but and here there is a significant clustering of municipalities with over 10% illiterate in the regions of Sliven, Yambol and Stara Zagora. The distribution is similar for the 45-54-year-olds, where the average value is again high – 1.51%.

Among older people, the shares of illiterates decrease significantly,

to below 1% for the 55-64 and 65 and over age groups, and they also follow a similar geographic distribution.

As can be seen from the distributions, solving the problem of illiteracy needs a multi-layered approach in which most societal systems are involved. While for young people this is mainly the responsibility of school, getting older people back to mastering fundamental skills such as reading and writing falls more to job boards and employers. Given the distinct territorial concentration, success will also be closely linked to the Roma integration policy. However, it is more than clear that the problem of illiteracy is far from solved, and the efforts so far have not been crowned with success.

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