Population by educational attainment level

  • More than 8 out of 10 inhabitants of Flanders between 25 and 64 have followed upper secondary or higher education

    In 2019, 18.4% of the Flemish inhabitants aged 25 to 64 had a low level of educational attainment, 40.6% a medium level and 41.0% a high level of education. Persons with a low level of education are persons with at most a lower-secondary qualification. Persons with a medium level of education have successfully completed upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and have not attained tertiary education. Persons with a high level of education are persons with a tertiary education qualification.

    The share of persons with a low level of educational attainment dropped between 1999 and 2019 from 42.3% to 18.4%. A reverse trend is seen for persons with a  medium and high level of education: in comparison with 1999, the proportions of people with a medium and high level of education have risen markedly.

  • Women more highly qualified than men

    Women are more highly qualified than men. In 2019, 45.5% of women had a high level of educational attainment compared to 36.6% of the men. On the other hand, 20.0% of men had a low level of educational attainment compared to 16.8% of women.

  • Nearly half of Flemish population aged 25 to 44 are highly qualified

    In 2019, nearly half of the Flemish inhabitants aged 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 had a high level of educational attainment. In the age group of 55 to 64, 3 in 10 were highly educated. In this age group, 3 in 10 had a low level of educational attainment. This is markedly less in the younger age categories.

  • Employed more often high educated, non-actives are more often low educated

    In 2019, 46.6% of the employed 25-64 year-olds had a high level of educational attainment. Among the unemployed, 32.0% were highly educated. Among the non-actives (people who are not in work and also those who are not looking for a job), this stare stood at 20,1%

    Conversely, 12.8% of the employed had a low level of education. That proportion is 24.2% among the unemployed and 39.6% among the non-actives.

  • Persons born outside the EU more likely to be lowly educated

    In 2019, more than 4 out of 10 persons born in Belgium were highly educated (42.9%). For persons born in another country of the European Union (EU), this was slightly less (37.7%). For persons born outside the EU, the figure stood at 26.0%.

    Conversely, the proportion of lowly educated persons born outside the EU (39.3%) is clearly higher than among persons born in Belgium (15,9%) or in another EU country (21.8%).

  • More highly educated persons in Flanders than on average in European Union

    In 2019, the share of highly educated persons in the Flemish Region (41.0%) was between that of the Brussels-Capital Region (47.1%) and the Walloon Region (37.7%).

    In the countries of the European Union (EU), on average 3 out of 10 inhabitants were highly educated. In the Flemish Region, this share is higher. There are considerable differences in this respect among the EU countries. In Ireland, around 47.3% of the population is highly educated; in Romania and Italy the share was below 20.0%.

Publication date

16 June 2020

Next update

May 2021

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