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Indicators of Well-being in Canada


Learning - Educational Attainment

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Educational attainment reflects what skills are available to society and the labour market. Several categories are used to measure educational attainment: without high school diploma, with high school diploma, some post-secondary education, and post-secondary certification. Post-secondary certification includes trade certifications, college diplomas, and university degrees.

Summary

  • National Picture — In 2012, about 53.6% of Canadians aged 15 and over had trade certificates, college diplomas and university degrees. This was an increase of 20.9 percentage points since 1990. 
  • Gender — In 2012, a higher percentage of women (73.2%) than men (65.1%) aged 25 to 44 years had completed a post-secondary education.  
  • Age — In 2012, 69.2% of those aged 25 to 44 years and 59.2% of those aged 45 to 64 years were post-secondary graduates.
  • Aboriginal People — In 2006, 41% of the Aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 years had post-secondary certification; of which only 8% had a university degree.
  • Recent Immigrants — In 2006, a higher proportion of recent immigrants aged 25 to 64 years reported having university degrees (51%) compared to the Canadian population (19%).
  • Regions — The percentage of the population 15 years of age and over with college, trade, or post-secondary certification other than a university degree was fairly consistent across the country in 2012, ranging from 28.3% in Manitoba to 37.3% in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • International Picture — In 2010, Canada had the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates (51%) in the 25 to 64 years age group among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G7.

National Picture

The percentage of persons 15 years of age and over without high school diplomas decreased from 37.8% in 1990 to 19.1% in 2012. This is consistent with the increase in the percentage of the population with post-secondary certification. Between 1990 and 2012, the proportion of individuals who had obtained college or trade certification increased 9.6 percentage points, to 31.4%. Meanwhile, the percentage of individuals with university degrees rose from 10.9% in 1990 to 22.2% in 2012.


This Chart contains data for Level of education, 15 years of age and over, 1990-2012. Information is available in table below 2012 (Without high school diploma) = 19.1 2011 (Without high school diploma) = 19.5 2010 (Without high school diploma) = 20.2 2009 (Without high school diploma) = 21.0 2008 (Without high school diploma) = 21.7 2007 (Without high school diploma) = 22.3 2006 (Without high school diploma) = 23.4 2005 (Without high school diploma) = 23.7 2004 (Without high school diploma) = 24.5 2003 (Without high school diploma) = 25.0 2002 (Without high school diploma) = 26.3 2001 (Without high school diploma) = 27.2 2000 (Without high school diploma) = 28.2 1999 (Without high school diploma) = 29.3 1998 (Without high school diploma) = 30.1 1997 (Without high school diploma) = 30.8 1996 (Without high school diploma) = 32.0 1995 (Without high school diploma) = 32.9 1994 (Without high school diploma) = 33.8 1993 (Without high school diploma) = 34.2 1992 (Without high school diploma) = 35.8 1991 (Without high school diploma) = 37.1 1990 (Without high school diploma) = 37.8 2012 (High school diploma) = 19.9 2011 (High school diploma) = 19.8 2010 (High school diploma) = 19.7 2009 (High school diploma) = 20.0 2008 (High school diploma) = 19.6 2007 (High school diploma) = 19.7 2006 (High school diploma) = 19.9 2005 (High school diploma) = 19.9 2004 (High school diploma) = 19.3 2003 (High school diploma) = 19.2 2002 (High school diploma) = 19.4 2001 (High school diploma) = 19.4 2000 (High school diploma) = 19.6 1999 (High school diploma) = 19.2 1998 (High school diploma) = 19.0 1997 (High school diploma) = 18.8 1996 (High school diploma) = 19.8 1995 (High school diploma) = 19.6 1994 (High school diploma) = 19.9 1993 (High school diploma) = 21.4 1992 (High school diploma) = 21.2 1991 (High school diploma) = 20.9 1990 (High school diploma) = 20.6 2012 (Some post-secondary) = 7.4 2011 (Some post-secondary) = 8.0 2010 (Some post-secondary) = 8.3 2009 (Some post-secondary) = 8.3 2008 (Some post-secondary) = 8.5 2007 (Some post-secondary) = 8.1 2006 (Some post-secondary) = 8.1 2005 (Some post-secondary) = 8.6 2004 (Some post-secondary) = 9.7 2003 (Some post-secondary) = 9.8 2002 (Some post-secondary) = 9.2 2001 (Some post-secondary) = 9.2 2000 (Some post-secondary) = 9.4 1999 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1998 (Some post-secondary) = 9.0 1997 (Some post-secondary) = 9.1 1996 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1995 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1994 (Some post-secondary) = 8.7 1993 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1992 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1991 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 1990 (Some post-secondary) = 8.9 2012 (College or trade certification) = 31.4 2011 (College or trade certification) = 31.2 2010 (College or trade certification) = 30.9 2009 (College or trade certification) = 30.6 2008 (College or trade certification) = 30.4 2007 (College or trade certification) = 30.4 2006 (College or trade certification) = 29.9 2005 (College or trade certification) = 29.8 2004 (College or trade certification) = 29.3 2003 (College or trade certification) = 28.9 2002 (College or trade certification) = 28.7 2001 (College or trade certification) = 28.3 2000 (College or trade certification) = 27.3 1999 (College or trade certification) = 27.7 1998 (College or trade certification) = 27.7 1997 (College or trade certification) = 27.3 1996 (College or trade certification) = 25.8 1995 (College or trade certification) = 25.4 1994 (College or trade certification) = 24.6 1993 (College or trade certification) = 23.0 1992 (College or trade certification) = 22.3 1991 (College or trade certification) = 21.9 1990 (College or trade certification) = 21.8 2012 (University degree) = 22.2 2011 (University degree) = 21.5 2010 (University degree) = 20.9 2009 (University degree) = 20.1 2008 (University degree) = 19.8 2007 (University degree) = 19.3 2006 (University degree) = 18.8 2005 (University degree) = 18.1 2004 (University degree) = 17.2 2003 (University degree) = 17.1 2002 (University degree) = 16.4 2001 (University degree) = 16.0 2000 (University degree) = 15.5 1999 (University degree) = 14.8 1998 (University degree) = 14.2 1997 (University degree) = 14.0 1996 (University degree) = 13.5 1995 (University degree) = 13.3 1994 (University degree) = 13.1 1993 (University degree) = 12.6 1992 (University degree) = 11.9 1991 (University degree) = 11.2 1990 (University degree) = 10.9 (percent) Level of education, 15 years of age and over, 1990-2012

Source: HRSDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 282-0004 - Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Level of education, 15 years of age and over, 1990-2012 (percent)
19901991199219931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012
Without high school diploma37.837.135.834.233.832.932.030.830.129.328.227.226.325.024.523.723.422.321.721.020.219.519.1
High school diploma20.620.921.221.419.919.619.818.819.019.219.619.419.419.219.319.919.919.719.620.019.719.819.9
Some post-secondary8.98.98.98.98.78.98.99.19.08.99.49.29.29.89.78.68.18.18.58.38.38.07.4
College or trade certification21.821.922.323.024.625.425.827.327.727.727.328.328.728.929.329.829.930.430.430.630.931.231.4
University degree10.911.211.912.613.113.313.514.014.214.815.516.016.417.117.218.118.819.319.820.120.921.522.2

Gender

In 2012, more women (73.2%) than men (65.1%) aged 25 to 44 years of age had completed post-secondary education. The percentages for this age group are in stark contrast to those of the group 65 years of age and over, in which only 35.4% of women and 45.9% of men had completed post-secondary education.


This Chart contains data for Completion of post-secondary education, by age and gender, 2012. Information is available in table below 65+ years (Wowen) = 35.4 65+ years (Men) = 45.9 25-44 years (Wowen) = 73.2 25-44 years (Men) = 65.1 (percent) Completion of post-secondary education, by age and gender, 2012

Source: HRSDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 282-0004 - Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Completion of post-secondary education, by age and gender, 2012 (percent)
25-44 years65+ years
Men65.145.9
Wowen73.235.4

Age

The trend toward higher education is noticeable in the highest level of education achieved by each age group. In 2012, 69.2% of those aged 25 to 44, and 59.2% of those aged 45 to 64, had obtained some form of post-secondary certification. These age groups also had the lowest proportions of individuals without high school diplomas: 7.9% of those aged 25 to 44, and 13.8% of those aged 45 to 64. The group 65 years and over had the largest proportion of individuals without high school diplomas (37.0%), and by far the lowest proportion with post-secondary certification (40.1%). The percentage of individuals with high school diplomas without any post-secondary studies varied only slightly among age groups: 17.1% for those aged 25 to 44; 21.9% for those aged 45 to 64 years old and 18.9% for those 65 years of age and older.


This Chart contains data for Level of education, by age, 2012. Information is available in table below 65+ years (University degree) = 14.7 65+ years (College or trade certification) = 25.4 65+ years (Some post-secondary) = 4.0 65+ years (High school diploma) = 18.9 65+ years (Without high school diploma) = 37.0 45-64 years (University degree) = 23.5 45-64 years (College or trade certification) = 35.7 45-64 years (Some post-secondary) = 5.0 45-64 years (High school diploma) = 21.9 45-64 years (Without high school diploma) = 13.8 25-44 years (University degree) = 32.1 25-44 years (College or trade certification) = 37.1 25-44 years (Some post-secondary) = 5.8 25-44 years (High school diploma) = 17.1 25-44 years (Without high school diploma) = 7.9 (percent) Level of education, by age, 2012

Source: HRSDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 282-0004 - Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Level of education, by age, 2012 (percent)
25-44 years45-64 years65+ years
Without high school diploma7.913.837.0
High school diploma17.121.918.9
Some post-secondary5.85.04.0
College or trade certification37.135.725.4
University degree32.123.514.7

Aboriginal People

In 2006, the proportion of the Aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 years without a high school diploma (34%) was 19 percentage points higher than the proportion of the non-Aboriginal population of the same age group (15%).

There is no disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups for college and trade certification; certification was obtained by 33% of both populations. Whereas 23% of the non-Aboriginal population had successfully completed a university degree, only 8% of the Aboriginal population reported completing a university education.


This Chart contains data for Level of education, non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal populations, aged 25-64 years, 2006. Information is available in table below University degree (Non-Aboriginal population) = 23 University degree (Aboriginal population) = 8 College or trade certification (Non-Aboriginal population) = 33 College or trade certification (Aboriginal population) = 33 Some post-secondary (Non-Aboriginal population) = 5 Some post-secondary (Aboriginal population) = 4 High school diploma (Non-Aboriginal population) = 24 High school diploma (Aboriginal population) = 21 Without high school diploma (Non-Aboriginal population) = 15 Without high school diploma (Aboriginal population) = 34 (percent) Level of education, non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal populations, aged 25-64 years, 2006

Source: Statistics Canada. Educational Portrait of Canada, Census 2006. Ottawa, Statistics Canada, 2008 (Cat. No. 97-560-X2006001).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Level of education, non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal populations, aged 25-64 years, 2006 (percent)
Without high school diplomaHigh school diplomaSome post-secondaryCollege or trade certificationUniversity degree
Aboriginal population34214338
Non-Aboriginal population152453323

Recent Immigrants

Recent immigrants are those individuals who immigrated to Canada in the 5 years before the last Census (i.e., between 2001 and 2006). In 2006, a greater proportion of recent immigrants to Canada had completed a university degree (51%) compared to the overall Canadian average (19%). The reverse was true for college and trade certification, with 16% of recent immigrants having received certification compared to 30% of the total Canadian population. A lower proportion of recent immigrants was also without a high school diploma (9%) compared to the Canadian average (23%).


This Chart contains data for Level of education, recent immigrant population, aged 25-64 years, 2006. Information is available in table below University degree (Recent immigrant population) = 51 University degree (Canadian population) = 19 College or trade certification (Recent immigrant population) = 16 College or trade certification (Canadian population) = 30 Some post-secondary (Recent immigrant population) = 9 Some post-secondary (Canadian population) = 8 High school diploma (Recent immigrant population) = 15 High school diploma (Canadian population) = 20 Without high school diploma (Recent immigrant population) = 9 Without high school diploma (Canadian population) = 23 (percent) Level of education, recent immigrant population, aged 25-64 years, 2006

Source: Statistics Canada. Educational Portrait of Canada, Census 2006. Ottawa, Statistics Canada, 2008 (Cat. No. 97-560-X2006001).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Level of education, recent immigrant population, aged 25-64 years, 2006 (percent)
Without high school diplomaHigh school diplomaSome post-secondaryCollege or trade certificationUniversity degree
Canadian population232083019
Recent immigrant population91591651

Regions

The percentage of the population aged 15 years and over with college, trade, or post-secondary certification other than a university degree was fairly consistent across the country in 2012, ranging from 28.3% in Manitoba to 37.3% in Newfoundland and Labrador. Both nationally and in the provinces, a smaller proportion of the population had completed university degrees. Ontario had the highest percentage of persons with university degrees in 2012, at 24.7%, while Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick had the lowest percentages (14.6% and 14.7% respectively).


This Chart contains data for Post-secondary certification, by region, 2012. Information is available in table below BC (University) = 23.4 BC (College or trade certification) = 29.3 AB (University) = 20.1 AB (College or trade certification) = 31.8 SK (University) = 17.5 SK (College or trade certification) = 29.9 MB (University) = 18.5 MB (College or trade certification) = 28.3 ON (University) = 24.7 ON (College or trade certification) = 29.2 QC (University) = 20.8 QC (College or trade certification) = 35.8 NB (University) = 14.7 NB (College or trade certification) = 33.2 NS (University) = 20.8 NS (College or trade certification) = 33.6 PE (University) = 17.9 PE (College or trade certification) = 32.9 NL (University) = 14.6 NL (College or trade certification) = 37.3 CAN (University) = 22.2 CAN (College or trade certification) = 31.4 (percent) Post-secondary certification, by region, 2012

Note: National average does not include information for the territories.

Source: HRSDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 282-0004 - Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Post-secondary certification, by region, 2012 (percent)
CANNLPENSNBQCONMBSKABBC
College or trade certification31.437.332.933.633.235.829.228.329.931.829.3
University22.214.617.920.814.720.824.718.517.520.123.4

International Picture

Among Canada's adult population aged 25 to 64, 51% had completed post-secondary education in 2010, the highest percentage among OECD member countries, and well above the OECD average of 31%. Italy reported the lowest percentage of post-secondary graduates at 15%.


This Chart contains data for Completion of post-secondary education, population 25-64 years, Canada, G7 countries and OECD average, 2010. Information is available in table below Canada = 51 Japan = 45 United States = 42 United Kingdom = 38 OECD - 34 = 31 France = 29 Germany = 27 Italy = 15 (percent) Completion of post-secondary education, population 25-64 years, Canada, G7 countries and OECD average, 2010

Note: The OECD definition of tertiary education does not include trade or vocational certification.

Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Education at a Glance 2012, (see table A1.3a) Population that has attained tertiary education (2010). OECD Statistics. Available from: Education at a Glance 2012 [cited March 4, 2012].


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Completion of post-secondary education, population 25-64 years, Canada, G7 countries and OECD average, 2010 (percent)
ItalyGermanyFranceOECD - 34United KingdomUnited StatesJapanCanada
1527293138424551

 

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Date Modified:
2014-04-16