41% of the young adult population in the EU had a higher education degree in 2021, according to data

41% of young adults in European Member States have completed higher education, with women being the dominant sex.

According to the European statistics office, Eurostat, 47% of women and 36% of men aged 25 to 34 graduated in 2021, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.

“While the proportion of men with higher education has increased over the past ten years, the rate of growth has been somewhat slower than for women. As a result, the gender gap has widened slightly over time,” says Eurostat.

The 27-nation bloc has set itself the target of increasing the share of the EU population in this age group who have completed tertiary education to 45% by 2030.

The majority of EU member states have already achieved this target, with Luxembourg having the highest percentage of the population aged 25-34 having completed tertiary education – a total of 62.6%.

Ireland follows, with 61.7% of the population of young adults holding a tertiary education, while Cyprus ranks third with 58.3% of the population having a tertiary education.

However, the countries with the lowest percentages are Romania (23.3%), Italy (28.3%) and Hungary (32.9%).

Furthermore, Bulgaria and Czechia both scored less than 35 percentage points – 33.6% and 34.9%, respectively, while Croatia and Germany have identical rates of young adults having completed their education superior. Specifically, 35.7% of the population in Croatia and Germany have completed this level of education.

Between countries with lower rates, such as Romania and Italy, are countries with less than 45 percent of the young adult population who have completed tertiary education, which is as follows:

  • Slovakia (39.5%)
  • Finland (40.1%)
  • Poland (40.6%)
  • Austria and Malta (42.4%)
  • Estonia (43.2%)
  • Greece (44.2%)

Latvia topped the 45% mark by 0.5%, while Portugal and Slovenia scored 47.5% and 47.9% respectively.

Other countries include some of the countries with the highest percentage rates, and the majority are Western European countries such as France (50.3%), the Netherlands (55.6%) and Belgium (50.9%).

In contrast, Denmark (49.1%), Sweden (49.3%) and Lithuania (57.5%) all topped the list, while Spain was at 48.7%.

Norway and Switzerland recorded high rates of young adults with tertiary education – 55.1% and 52.3%, while Iceland’s population of young adults with tertiary education peaked at 41.5 %.

Helen D. Jessen