Statistics on Education Levels and Achievements

Content

1. Average years of schooling
2. Primary education
3. Secondary education
4. Post-secondary education
5. Test scores
6. Education and immigration
7. The link between education and spending on education
8. Intergenerational comparisons of education levels

1. Average years of schooling

In 2010, the world population aged 15 and over had an average 7.8 years of schooling, increasing steadily from 3.2 years in 1950 and 5.3 years in 1980. The rise in average years of schooling from 1950 to 2010 was from 6.2 to 11.0 years in high-income countries and from 2.1 to 7.1 years in low-income countries. Thus in 2010 the gap between rich and poor countries in average years of schooling remained at 4 years, having narrowed by less than 1 year since 1960. (source)

average years of schooling by education level

(source)

years of education

(source)

At the same time, 57 million children are out of school worldwide, and half of those will probably never set foot in a classroom (source).

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2. Primary education

Primary enrollment has climbed from 47 percent to 87 percent since 1950. Almost everywhere in the world, there are now more children receiving primary education than 15 years ago. Enrollment rates of primary school age children have increased markedly in sub-Saharan Africa, from 58 to 76 per cent between 1999 and 2010. The primary school completion rate for ten Sub- Saharan countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Cape Verde, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, and Togo) more than doubled between 1990 and 2010. The lowest net primary enrolment ratio is found in Eritrea (34%); the highest is in Rwanda (99%).

However, all in all there are still about 15% of all children in the world who do not go to primary school; in sub-Saharan Africa that’s 25% of children (37% of girls). 1 in 5 young people in developing countries has not completed primary school. 61 million children are still out of primary school. 32 million of them are girls.

enrolment in primary schoo

(source)

It’s estimated that only 56% of countries are likely to reach Universal Primary Education in 2015.

children receiving primary education

Although there has been progress in the proportions of children of primary school age actually receiving and completing primary education, about 100 million children worldwide are still denied this right. Not surprisingly, most of these children live in developing countries. See this graph (expressed in millions):
More Than 100 Million Children of Primary School Age Are Out of School

(source)

More than half of those are in Africa.

towards universal primary education in africa

(source)

African girls still have less primary education compared to boys:

gender parity in primary-education in africa

(source)

Worldwide, 89% of girls complete primary school. In Africa, it’s 67%.

There has been global progress in gender parity: per 100 boys, 97 girls were enrolled in primary education in 2010 – up from 91 girls per 100 boys in 1999.

Female school enrollment isn’t just a problem in primary education. This graph shows that in many countries, less than half the girls aged 5 to 19 are in school. That’s the percentage which we saw in the US in 1900!

female school enrollment

(source)

Some more data on secondary education below.

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3. Secondary education

Rates for secondary education are obviously lower than rates for primary education, yet here as well there has been progress: rates of enrollment in secondary education have gone from 37 to 60 percent in India and from 38 to 80 percent in China over the two decades since 1990.

children attending secondary school

(source)

educational attainment by region

As usual, there’s a gender disparity, although of course it’s better to have some disparity at a high level of achievement than equality at a low level of achievement:

secondary school attendance rates for girls

(source, click image to enlarge)

Here are some data for the U.S.:

educational attainment in the US

(source)

As is so often the case in the U.S., there’s a racial discrepancy, albeit a diminishing one:

high school education rates US

(source)

SDT-racial-relations-08-2013-03-05

US high school drop-out rate by race and socio-economic status

US high school drop-out rate by race and socio-economic status

(source)

Apart from the (decreasing) racial disparity, there’s also an interesting difference between the north and the south of the U.S.:

higher education in the us

(source)
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4. Post-secondary education

population with post-secondary education

university degree attainment

(source)

tertiary and secondary education levels

(source)

Some data for the U.S.:

ST_13.12.12_GenderWorkSlideshow_1a

(source)

This is the racial breakdown of college degrees in the U.S.:

college degree by race

(source)

college education US

(source)

college-grad-rates

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5. Test scores

If we want to look beyond years of schooling and degrees and focus on the quality of education, then the PISA tests are the benchmark, at least for the developed countries. These test, in which 470,000 15-year-olds across different developed countries are tested for numeracy, literacy and science, produce the OECD rankings of national education systems. These knowledge tests allow for international comparisons of the quality of education:

PISA-rankings-within-OECD

(source)

Here are scores for the U.S., with a breakdown by race (national, non-PISA scores):

education achievement gap

The race gap is closing, also for reading:

race gap in education

(source)

Unfortunately, the education gap between wealthy and poor children goes the other way.

Another measure of the quality of education, perhaps more useful in developing countries, is the degree of absenteeism of teachers:

GCR_education

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6. Education and immigration

Some data showing the difference between education levels of immigrants and natives:

Migrants to rich countries have generally spent longer in education than their native-born peers, according to a new report by the OECD. Since 2000 the proportion of recent migrants to OECD countries who have graduated from university has risen five percentage points to 31%; among the native-born population the proportion has risen four percentage points to 29%. Over 50% of immigrants to Canada and 47% of those to Britain have completed tertiary education, the highest levels among rich countries. By contrast, only 11% of immigrants to Italy and 13% to Greece have a degree. (source)

university graduates among immigrants

(source)

Some data specifically for the U.S. show the difference between education levels of immigrants and natives:

high school dropouts immigrants

(source)

socio-economic status of natives and mexican immigrants in the us

(source)
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7. The link between education and spending on education

The correlation seems to be strong:

link between education and spending on education

(source)

Or not, if you take other types of scores:

reading performance and spending on education

(source)

Spending alone doesn’t improve education. Other factors, such as having educated parents, are better predictors of education levels:

reading performance and parents' education

(source)
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8. Intergenerational comparisons of education levels

education slowdown in the US

(source unknown)

percentage of age group that has finished university

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3 thoughts on “Statistics on Education Levels and Achievements

  1. Pingback: Human Rights Facts (90): Index of Child Wellbeing « P.A.P. Blog - Politics, Art and Philosophy

  2. Pingback: Human Rights Maps (48): Which Countries Will Achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015? « P.A.P. Blog - Politics, Art and Philosophy

  3. Pingback: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics (24): Mistakes in the Direction of Causation « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.

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