Adults' statistical literacy: Meanings, components, responsibilities

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Statistical literacy is a key ability expected of citizens in information-laden societies, and is often touted as au expected outcome of schooling and as a necessary component of adults' numeracy and literacy. Yet, its meaning and building blocks have received little explicit attention. This paper proposes a conceptualization of statistical literacy and describes its key components. Statistical literacy is portrayed as the ability to interpret, critically evaluate, and communicate about statistical information and messages. It is argued that statistically literate behavior is predicated on the joint activation of five interrelated knowledge bases (literacy, statistical, mathematical, context, and critical), together with a cluster of supporting dispositions and enabling beliefs. Educational and research implications are discussed, and responsibilities facing educators, statisticians, and other stakeholders are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Statistical Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2002


  • Adult education
  • Educational policy
  • Numeracy
  • Statistical reasoning
  • Statistics education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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