Financial Literacy Statistics for 2023

People can only make wise money management decisions by understanding basic financial concepts, spending less on transaction fees, accumulating less debt, and paying lower interest rates on loans. Being financially literate allows you to make sound decisions about saving, investing, borrowing, and budgeting more effectively.

This post reveals financial literacy statistics and facts you need to know in 2023. We examine global variations in financial literacy by country, gender, and generation, with particular attention to financial knowledge and capability among kids and young adults. How many Americans are financially literate? What about the UK? Let’s grasp essential statistics on financial literacy. 

Financial Literacy Statistics Highlights

  • Only 33% of adults are financially literate globally and only 57% of adults are financially literate in the US. Meanwhile, only 27% of Brits passed the financial literacy test.
  • The United States ranks 14th in financial literacy globally
  • Gen Z has the lowest level of financial literacy in the US
  • 77% of Americans are financially anxious
  • Only 23% of children frequently talk about money with their parents
  • British men are more financially literate than women

Global Financial Literacy Statistics and Facts

  • Only 33% of adults are financially literate worldwide [1]. It indicates that 3.5 billion adults globally don’t understand basic financial concepts, implying significant inequalities in financial knowledge. This emphasizes the need for additional financial education and literacy initiatives to assist people in grasping fundamental financial concepts to make better financial decisions and enhance their overall financial well-being.
  • 65% or more of adults are financially literate in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom [2].  The statistics reveal that these developed countries have the highest financial literacy rates worldwide. The study also found that Northern Europe best understands economic principles. At the same time, South Asia had the lowest financial literacy rates, with only a quarter or even fewer people being financially knowledgeable. 
  • The United States ranks 14th in financial literacy globally [3]. While this is not the lowest score in the world, it is disturbing given that the United States is the world’s most prosperous country. Denmark ranks first in the world for financial literacy, with around 71% of all adults considered financially literate.
  • There is a persistent gender gap, with a much higher proportion of women with low financial literacy globally [4]. According to the Allianz research, women had 3.7 accurate answers out of nine questions assessing their level of financial literacy, while men had 4.5 correct answers. Consequently, men generally outnumber women in the high financial literacy category. However, one country has a “positive” gender gap, with more women (22%) than men (10%) in the high financial literacy category: Germany. 
  • On a global scale, financial literacy increases with age [5]. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have a higher concentration of high financial literacy (21%) than the others (average 15%), particularly when compared to the younger generations of Gen-Z (born in 1997-2021) – 6%, and Millennials (born in 1981-1996) – 11%.

Financial Literacy Statistics in the United States

Financial Literacy Facts and Statistics Among US adults

  • Only 57% of adults in the US are financially literate [6]. It is a 19% decrease from a decade ago, owing to generational disparities in financial knowledge. Due to a lack of sufficient education or a struggling economy, many Americans are experiencing financial hardship and trying to make ends meet daily.
  • 77% of Americans are financially anxious [7]. Three of every four Americans are concerned about their financial situation; money is the most common source of anxiety. Economic anxiety is at an all-time high with growing inflation, a coming recession, and skyrocketing debt. Women, young people, and persons of color are disproportionately affected by the problem.
  • Asian and white Americans have the highest scores on financial literacy tests , answering 53.3% of questions correctly [8]. Asian and White Americans correctly answered 3.2 out of 6 financial literacy questions. While Hispanic Americans have 2.6 correct answers for six questions (43.3%), Black Americans correctly answered 2.3 out of 6 (38.3%).
  • Americans lose $1,819 annually due to a lack of financial literacy [9]. Because of a lack of financial knowledge, 15% of Americans lost more than $10,000 last year, while 38% lost at least $500 for the same reason. When applied to the 254 million adults in the United States, financial illiteracy costs Americans more than $436 billion per year. It has a negative impact not only on Americans’ finances but also on the economy as a whole.
  • Despite working full-time, 35% of American families cannot afford basic needs [10]. Brandeis University research found that a third of working families in the United States can’t afford the amount needed to finance housing, food, transportation, medical care, and other household expenses. The economic situation is significantly worse for working black and Hispanic families; more than 50% cannot afford the necessities.
  • Americans owe $986 billion in credit card debt [11]. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released in May 2023, US consumers’ credit card debt rises, approaching $1 trillion. It is a 17% increase from a year ago and a record high. According to financial experts, the debt is partly piling up because consistently high inflation drives consumers to rely on credit cards to fund monthly expenses. 
  • Gen Z has the lowest level of financial literacy in the US [12]. According to a new report by the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University (GW) School of Business, financial literacy is low in each of the five generations—the Silent Generation (55%), Baby Boomers (55%), Gen X (49%), Gen Y(48%), but it is lowest in Gen Z with 43%. These findings suggest individuals often begin adulthood with little financial literacy, which improves with time. 
  • U.S. adults with greater financial literacy have better economic well-being [13]. Six years of data from the TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) reveal that adult Americans with greater financial literacy also have better retirement preparation, a subset of economic well-being. Furthermore, it demonstrates that retirement preparation links to longevity literacy. Better financial literacy generally leads to greater financial well-being and makes ends easier. 
  • The financial literacy of American women frequently lags below that of men [14]. Based on The P-Fin Index, analogous to overall financial literacy, women’s functional areas knowledge levels are behind men’s, and the gender difference is statistically significant across all functional areas, such as borrowing, saving, consuming, earning, investing, insuring, and comprehending risk. 
  • Americans with a college degree are much more financially knowledgeable than those without one (74% vs. 55%) [15]. According to an Ipsos poll conducted for Money Masters, Americans with a college degree (6.7) believe they are more financially savvy than those without one (5.7). These findings suggest that financial literacy tends to increase in direct proportion to the level of education. 

Facts about US Kids’ and Youth’s Financial Knowledge and Capability

  • 74% of US teens lack confidence and knowledge about personal finance [16]. Three of four American teenagers are not confident about their financial literacy. Almost half of all teens (49%) have never prepared a budget. 32% of kids can’t tell the difference between a credit and debit card, and 41% are unsure whether they must pay taxes.
  • 73% of American teenagers want more financial education [17]. Most teenagers understand the importance of financial literacy and are interested in personal finance and investing (86%). Teens seeking education turn to social media for investment advice (48%). They are particularly interested in personal finance and investing information on YouTube (38%), TikTok (33%), and Instagram (25%). These financial literacy facts demonstrate a need for formal financial education for US kids and teens. 
  • Only 23% of children frequently talk about money with their parents [18]. According to the Money Confident Kids Survey, less than a quarter of children have meaningful financial discussions at home. As financial communication with parents is lacking, financial education in school becomes even more critical for developing teenagers.
  • 40.2% of high schoolers with low levels of financial literacy rely on parents, friends, and acquaintances as the primary source of financial knowledge [19]. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that teens with low financial knowledge rely more on parents and friends than those with high financial literacy (20.8%). When kids learn about money informally, they don’t get consistent instructions on critical money matters, such as saving, spending, allowances, etc. 
  • The gender gap in financial knowledge emerges at the age of 13 [20]. Only 21% of girls are confident about their personal finance knowledge, compared to 33% of boys. Compared to 55% of boys, only 47% of girls are interested in investing. Girls are more likely than boys to learn about contributing and giving (42% vs. 29%), although the latter are more likely to know about stock investing (41% vs. 30%).
  • 23 US states require high schools to teach financial literacy [21]. In 2023, six more states have imposed Personal Finance graduation requirements of at least one semester. This policy is now in effect or is being implemented in 17 states for future school years. These states that have made Personal Finance graduation requirements are having a good impact on financial education access for students nationwide.

Statistics on Financial Literacy in the UK

  • Only 27% of Brits passed the financial literacy test [22]. Shepherds Friendly Society polled 2,000 people in the UK about their understanding of ISAs, investing, and basic personal finance, asking 38 questions. The findings show that 73% of people in the UK struggle with financial literacy in these areas, with only a quarter of respondents answering half or more of the questions correctly. 
  • Similarly, 73% fall below the Financial Literacy Benchmark [23]. British online investment service Wealthify and the economic think tank CEBR created a barometer to measure financial literacy across the UK. They surveyed 2,250 Britons about ten often discussed financial subjects, including inflation, taxes, pensions, and savings, to assess knowledge across different age groups and geographies. Three-thirds of the respondents (73%) fall below this benchmark, exposing the UK as a poor performer in financial literacy compared to France, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • Conversely, 41% of Britons consider themselves well-informed about their finances [24]. According to the Statista 2023 online survey, the majority of UK respondents chose “I’m well informed about my personal financial situation” as an answer when questioned about “Attitudes towards personal finances.” At the same, 34% worry about their financial future. 
  • Respondents aged 55 and above perform the best on the money quiz [25]. Breaking the results of the money literacy test down by generation, individuals aged 55 and over achieve the best, while those aged 18-24 suffer the most. Despite this, both generations do poorly on general personal finance topics, with only 19% of 18-24 year olds and 34% of those aged 55+ correctly answering half or more of our questions. These findings suggest that money literacy increases with age.
  • There is a strong link between financial understanding and behaviors [26]. According to the findings of a survey conducted by the British online investment service Wealthify and the economic think tank CEBR, there is a strong link between financial understanding and behavior, with 7 out of 10 respondents with the highest level of financial literacy contributing to a pension to save for the future. 13% of those at the top of the benchmark scale also save much more than those at the bottom.
  • British men are more financially literate than women [27]. The Shepherd Friendly survey results show that men are more economically educated than women, with 31% of male respondents correctly answering half or more of our questions, compared to 24% of women. Surprisingly, both men and women outperform on questions concerning investment, with 47% of men and 34% of women correctly answering half or more of the questions. Both genders perform poorly on broad personal finances questions. 
  • Southampton residents are the most financially literate in the UK [28]. According to the findings, Southampton people are the most financially literate, with 38% correctly answering half or more of our questions. Cardiff follows Southampton in second place, and Liverpool is third. On the opposite end of the spectrum, respondents in Glasgow struggled the most with the money quiz, with only 16% getting half or more questions correct, followed by Sheffield and Belfast.

Final Thoughts

The abovementioned facts and statistics demonstrate that the global financial literacy rate among adults has room for improvement. Older generations show more profound financial knowledge, suggesting that economic literacy develops with age. At the same time, most teens crave more financial education, proving the importance of financial literacy courses at high schools. A higher level of financial literacy is linked to behavior, stimulating individuals to save for the future, which ultimately translates into greater financial well-being. 


[3], [8]
[4], [5]
[12], [13], [14]
[16], [20]
[22], [25], [28], [27]

Stacey M.
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