In 2015, there was a great increase in lifelong learning, when 27.5% of the population aged 25-64 took part, either in school or with an instructor, 45,700 persons. This is an increase of 3,600 persons and 1.9 percentage points from 2014. The share of the population aged 25-64 taking part in lifelong learning increased somewhat since 2003. In 2003, 22.2% of the population took part in lifelong learning but the proportion was greatest in 2006 when it was 27.6%. The participation in lifelong learning in 2015 is again approaching the level of 2006.
When examining the 16-74 year olds, 75,300 persons attended lifelong learning in 2015, 32.5% of the population in that age group, an increase of 4,500 persons and 1.6 percentage points from the previous year.
Participation in lifelong learning increases with education
Almost 38% of people with tertiary education took part in lifelong learning in 2015, but only around 17% of people with basic education. The proportion of those taking part in lifelong learning increased most from the previous year among persons with tertiary education, but less among persons who have only completed basic education.
The proportion of women taking part in lifelong learning is higher than the proportion of men. In 2015, 32.1% of women aged 25-64 took part in some type of education, including those who attended school, but 23.0% of men. Women were proportionally more numerous among those attending courses, students in school and among those in other types of learning, irrespective of educational attainment.
More than 31 thousand attended courses, lectures or conferences
A total of 31,400 persons took part in lifelong learning outside of school in 2015, e.g. attended courses, lectures or conferences; 18.9% of the 25-64 year old population. Around 16,500 25-64 year olds attended a course and 17,500 took part in other learning with an instructor outside of schools. Lifelong learning outside of formal education is attended more by those who are more educated. Among those who had completed tertiary education, 27.7% took part in lifelong learning outside of school, 14.9% of those who had completed upper secondary education and 11.1% of those who had only completed basic education. In addition, 19,500 25-64 year olds attended school.
Almost 34% of unemployed took part in lifelong learning in 2015
Participation in lifelong learning among 25-64 year olds is proportionally greater among the unemployed and among those who are not in the labour force than among employed people. A total of 33.8% of unemployed 25-64 year olds took part in lifelong learning in 2015, 30.6% of those who were not in the labour force, and 27.0% of employed people. Lifelong learning includes formal education in school, and many young people, who are not in the labour force, are students.
Participation in lifelong learning is greater in Iceland than in most other European countries
Iceland was in fourth place among 33 European countries in participation in lifelong learning among 25-64 year olds in 2015. Only in Denmark (32.1%), Switzerland (31.3%) and Sweden (29.4%) was the rate of participation in lifelong learning greater than in Iceland. The average for the 28 member states in the European Union was 10.7%. Participation in lifelong learning is greater in northwestern Europe than in the southern and eastern parts of the continent.
About the data
The data are based on the Statistics Iceland Labour Force Survey. The Labour Force Survey is based on international definitions and standards. The sample frame includes all Icelandic and foreign citizens aged 16–74 who are registered in the National register of the population and are residing in Iceland. The total sample size in 2015 was 15,808. When those who had passed away and those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 15,417 persons. The total number of usable answers was 11,902 which correspond to a 77.2% response rate. All results have been weighted by age and sex.
Lifelong learning includes all types of education that a person attends, both formal education in school and education out of school, such as a course, lecture or a conference.