Most people involved in DC policy and advocacy know Susie Cambria (link is to her Twitter profile). I will say on a personal note that I admire Susie and want to be her when I grow up.
Susie has a local-focus budget and policy blog. This morning, she posted some facts about literacy in the DC area: Poor literacy affects 1 in 5 DC residents. You should definitely hop over and read the post; she links to a video of a C-Span segment (disclosure: I have not watched the video myself yet) and other information about literacy.
The title of her post comes from the the statistic that 1 in 5 adult residents of DC lack basic prose literacy skills. As an aside, I am glad that poetry literacy is not included in "basic literacy," or I would have to be considered illiterate, much to the dismay of my aunt. However, in all seriousness, Susie's title understates the effect of poor literacy skills. Poor literacy affects not just the adult, but the members of his or her family. A parent with poor literacy is unable to help his or her child with homework, to read to the child, even perhaps to budget or read a cookbook to make healthy meals. A parent with poor literacy is likely to be unemployed or underemployed, with the family living in poverty. All these affect the children in the home, other family members who might need to take the children--or the entire family--in, and the community as a whole.
So while 1 in 5 adult residents may have poor literacy skills, poor literacy affects us all.