Singapore and other countries from Southeast Asia did not find a place in a list of Top Ten literate nations in the world.
A study that considers factors beyond reading ability has found that no country from the Pacific Rim region found a place among the top 25.
The study conducted by the Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, found that Nordic countries occupied the first five spots in the list.
Indonesia was ranked at 60 among 61 countries surveyed, Botswana being the last. Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden made up the first five positions in the study, which looked at literacy and literate behavior characteristics in 200 countries.
The searchers found that only 61 of those countries had the relevant data sets to make a meaningful comparison.
Switzerland was in sixth place and the US in seventh, while Canada, France a the UK got 11th, 12th and 17th positions respectively.
"As knowledge increasingly becomes a product as well as tool, the economic welfare of any nation will be ultimately and inextricably tied to the literacy of its citizens," the preface to the study says.
"Societies that do not practice literate behavior are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal and harsh," it adds.
The authors say if they had only ranked nations on their reading assessment results, Singapore would have come on top, followed by Finland, South Korea, Japan and China.
However, the study took a more comprehensive approach, by taking into account factors like educational investment, the numbers of books in libraries and the number of households with computers.
"When factors other than test scores are included, there is not a single Pacific Rim country among the top 25."