Scandinavia-based adults, more so than their U.K. and U.S. peers, know their compound interest from their inflation and risk diversification, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' latest global financial literacy survey shows.
Those in Denmark, Sweden and Norway scored at the top of S&P's ranking of more than 150,000 adults across 148 countries. S&P tested adults on their knowledge of arithmetic, interest compounding, inflation and risk diversification.
Across the Group of Seven countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and U.S. — 55% of adults were categorized as being financially literate. In Denmark, Sweden and Norway, 71% of adults were deemed to be finanically literate.
The U.K. ranked sixth overall, with 67% of U.K. adults classed as financially literate. U.S. adults ranked 14th, with 57%.
The worst ranking country for financial literacy was Yemen, at 13%.
When it comes to financial literacy and the gender gap, the U.K. was the only country in Western Europe in which women ranked higher than men. On average, 35% of men were financially literate, compared with 30% of women; in the U.K., the figures are 68% of women vs. 66% of men.
The study was supported by the World Bank Development Research Group, and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Centre at the George Washington University.
The survey results are available on the center's website.