The literates exclude children in the age group 0 - 6 who are by definition treated as illiterate. The literacy rate is the number of literates per 100 population of aged 7 +.
The literacy rate for Tamil Nadu in 2011 has increased to 80.33 % from 73.45 % returned in the 2001 Census. Among the males, 86.81% are literates whereas among the females the rate is 73.86%. The corresponding rates in 2001 were 82.42% for males and 64.43% for females. It may be observed that more than three fourth of the population is literate among males in all the districts (except Dharmapuri), while more than 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 literacy rate for India
is 74.04 for persons 82.14 for males and 65.46 for females. The 2001 rates for India stand at 64.8 for persons; 75.3 for males and 53.7 for females.
Among the districts, Kanniyakumari district has reported the highest literacy rate of 92.14% while Dharmapuri district accounts for the lowest rate of 64.71%. The five districts namely Kanniyakumari (92.14%), Chennai (90.33%), Thoothukudi (86.52%), The Nilgiris (85.65%) and Kancheepuram (85.29%) have recorded very high literacy rates. As such, 16 districts have registered higher literacy rates than the State average. Sixteen districts are below the State average.