Basic financial numeracy is the foundation for financial literacy and, with it, the road to financial inclusion. Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) measures and tracks basic financial literacy in all countries, assessing the degree to which the population is numerate, as well as the connectivity between numeracy, literacy, and desirable financial mechanisms.
Measuring basic financial numeracy captures the ability to complete basic mathematical functions including addition, division, and savings and loan interest. Answering all of the questions correctly places the respondent in the high range, answering half or more correctly comprises the middle range, and less than half equals the low range.
There are large differences in financial numeracy levels across FII countries. In India, two-thirds of adults (65%) have a high level of numeracy, compared with only one in five adults (23%) in Uganda. Uganda is particularly troubling, with two in five adults (40%) having a low level of numeracy; Tanzania follows with 14% of adults having a low level of financial numeracy. All other countries have less than 10% in the low category. Demographic breakdowns follow the same patterns as financial inclusion overall—with female, rural, and below-poverty-line groups having lower numeracy abilities than their counterparts. Education and technology are the two major avenues to increasing the ability to navigate the way to financial inclusion.