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6.8.2022 | Estonia

Estonian women still among the most educated in Europe

Text Mark Taylor
Photo Andrei Chertkov

Estonian women still among the most educated in Europe

 

In a blog by Statistics Estonia, leading analyst Triinu Aug writes that Estonian women are still among the most educated in Europe. More precisely, Estonians women rank  3rd in Europe in terms of the share of them attaining higher education.

During the population and housing census that took place in 2021, information on the highest level of education attained by inhabitants of Estonia was gathered and data was compared with that of other countries in Europe and beyond. Estonia has seen an increase in the proportion of people with a higher education, while the share of persons with basic education has decreased.

As of 2021, the average proportion of 25–64-year-olds in the European Union with a higher education is 33 per cent, whereas census data reveals that in Estonia, 43.2 per cent of people in this age group have a higher education. This puts Estonia’s population in 7th place in Europe in terms of the share of people with a higher education.

Ireland has the highest proportion of people with a higher education (52.7 per cent), followed by Luxembourg (50.5 per cent). The lowest shares of people with a higher education in the EU were recorded in Italy (20 per cent) and Romania (18.8 per cent). Finland and Latvia are slightly behind Estonia at 42.4 and 39 per cent respectively.

Although Estonia continues to rank well, it has slipped down since the last census in 2011, when it ranked in 5th place. This is because although the proportion of people obtaining higher education in Estonia is rising (up from 36.9 per cent in 2011 to 43.2 per cent today), the rate has risen much faster in Europe as a whole. To put this into perspective in 2011 Estonia was outperformed only by Finland (39.3 per cent), Ireland (39.2 per cent), Cyprus (37.7 per cent), and Luxembourg (37 per cent).

In Estonia, women are much more likely to pursue higher education than men. This was also the case at the time of the previous census. In the 25–64 age group, 53 per cent of women and 34 per cent of men have higher education. The corresponding figures in the previous census were 47 per cent and 30% per cent. However, nearly a third of men in Estonia have obtained a vocational qualification along with or in addition to secondary education.

When comparing Estonian men and women with their European Union counterparts, it is clear that women in Estonia are highly educated. In 2021, an average of 36 per cent of women aged 25–64 in the EU have attained higher education, compared with Estonia’s 53 per cent, which puts Estonia in 3rd place in this ranking. Only Ireland (57 per cent) and Sweden (54 per cent) have more women with higher education than Estonia. At the beginning of 2011, however, Estonian women ranked 2nd behind Finland, 45.2 per cent of Estonian and 45.7 per cent of Finnish women had a higher education. The European average was 26.4 per cent at the time.

Among men, the share of those with higher education in 2021 is only slightly higher than the European average. In Estonia, the proportion of men with higher education in the 25–64 age group is 34 per cent, whereas the European average is 31%. At the beginning of 2011, 28 per cent of men in Estonia had a higher education, while the average in Europe was 24 per cent. In 2011, Estonia was ranked 11th but has now dropped to 13th. 

 

Source Statistics Estonia 

 

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