The literacy rate in Tamil Nadu has touched a new high at 80.33 per cent. This is much higher than the country's average of 74.04 per cent, according to Census 2011.

The literacy rate, which is the number of literates per 100 population of aged 7+, in Tamil Nadu increased by nearly 7 percentage points in the last decade.

Among the major States, Tamil Nadu was only behind leader Kerala (literacy rate of 93.91 per cent) and Maharashtra (82.91 per cent).

The literacy rate for India is 74.04 per cent - with 82.14 for males and 65.46 for females.

Incidentally, Tamil Nadu has a directorate for Non Formal and Adult Education to make all the illiterates in the age group 15 and above to attain literacy in Tamil Nadu.

Among the districts in Tamil Nadu, Kaniyakumari district has reported the highest literacy rate of 92.14 per cent while Dharmapuri district accounts for the lowest rate of 64.71 per cent.

Among the males, 86.81 per cent are literates whereas among the females the rate is 73.86 per cent. The corresponding rates in 2001 were 82.42 per cent for males and 64.43 per cent for females.

It was observed that over three fourth of the population is literate among males in all the districts except Dharmapuri. Similarly, over two third of the population is literate among females in all the districts exception of 8 districts namely Dharmapuri (60.03), Krishnagiri (64.86), Tiruvannamalai (65.71), Villupuram (63.51), Salem (65.43), Erode (65.07), Perambalur (66.11) and Ariyalur (62.22).

The Census said that16 districts registered higher literacy rates than the State average. 16 districts are below the State average.