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33. How many adults have a low level of education?

Indicator 3050: adults with lower level education attainment
Figure 33 Adults with lower level of educational attainment (%)

Education attainment, measured by qualifications obtained, is an important factor determining, amongst other things, both the chances of being in employment and wage levels.

The indicator reported here is defined as the share of adults (aged 25-64) with low education (i.e. at most a lower secondary qualification, ISCED 2 or below).

Figure 33: Adults with lower level of educational attainment (%)

Source: Eurostat, EU labour force survey.

Key points

In 2016, 23.0% of people aged 25-64 in the EU had a low level of education attainment, at or below ISCED 2. In 2016, Malta had the highest percentage of adults with low education attainment at 54.8%, followed by Portugal (53.1%). Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Latvia had the lowest percentages of low-educated adults (below 10% in 2016).

Between 2010 and 2016 the EU percentage of adults (25-64) with low education attainment fell by 4.3 percentage points. This positive trend was observed in all EU Member States.

Among the non-EU countries for which data are available, Turkey (at 64.4% in 2016) had a high share of low-educated adults, higher than any of the EU Member States.

Table 33: Adults with lower level of educational attainment (%)

Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative trend based on more than two data points and of magnitude 0.1 per year or more. Trends based on more than two data points but of smaller magnitude are indicated by →; trends based on two points only are marked ▪. Trends are estimated by means of regression models.
The 2014 “b” flags in the Eurostat online tables have been ignored on the basis of other relevant Eurostat metadata.
(b) Break after 2010. Therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: "low reliability". (z) Eurostat: "not applicable". (e) Eurostat: "estimated".

Source: Eurostat, EU labour force survey.

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Annex 1: short description of indicators and additional notes

EN73.45 Ko

Annex 2: Reading the indicator statistical overviews

EN39.51 Ko