Number of people in EU with higher education is rising: report

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Among people with higher education in the European Union, there is a clear difference between the two genders. It turns out that among women aged 25 to 34, the index with higher education is 46 percent, compared to only 35 percent among men.

Although the share of men with higher education has grown in the last 10 years, this growth rate was slower than in the case of women. As a result, the difference between the genders grew to 10.8-percentage points in 2020 from 9.4 percentage points in 2011.

EU member state had declared a goal of increasing the index of people aged 25 to 34 who had completed higher education to amount to 45 percent by 2030. 11 EU member states have already achieved this result. In 5 of these countries, more than half of the people in that age group had completed higher education in 2020: Luxembourg (61 percent), Ireland and Cyprus (58 percent), Lithuania (56 percent) and the Netherlands (52 percent). The remaining countries which have already surpassed the 2030 goal are Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

The lowest indexes were recorded in Romania (25 percent), Italy (29 percent), Hungary (31 percent) and Bulgaria and Czechia (33 percent).

In Poland, the index of people aged 25 to 34 with higher education was slightly above 42 percent, which puts Poland in the middle of the ranking. Compared to 2019, the index of people with higher education in this age group in Poland decreased by 1.1-percentage points, down from 43.5 percent.

When looking at differences between age groups, there is a clear distinction when it comes to higher education. Among people aged 25 to 54, 36 percent of the EU population has higher education. Among older EU citizens, the level of education was much lower. Only 22 percent of people aged 55 to 74 have higher education.

The greatest differences in this category were noted in Ireland (25 percentage point difference), Luxembourg and Cyprus (24 percentage points), Poland (22) and Malta (21).

Only four countries had differences lower than 10-percentage points: Bulgaria and Hungary (9) and Germany and Estonia (6).

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