In 2013 45,400 persons aged 25-64 had at most completed basic education, i.e. shorter education than upper secondary level, according to the Statistics Iceland Labour Force Survey. That is 27.8% of the population of Iceland, down from 34.4% in 2003. There were 3,800 fewer inhabitants who had only completed basic education in 2013 than in 2003, and 1,700 fewer than in 2012. A total of 36.1% of inhabitants had completed upper secondary education or education at the post-secondary non-tertiary level, which includes educational programmes with a minimum duration of two years after basic education, 58,900 persons. A similar number, 58,700 persons had completed tertiary education, 36.0% of the population. The population with education at the tertiary level increased by 19,400 since 2003, when they were 27.5% of the population.

Considerable differences were observed in the educational attainment of residents in the capital city region and in other parts of the country. In the capital city region 22.7% of 25-64 year old residents had only completed basic education, while 42.3% had completed tertiary education. Outside of this area 37.0% of residents had only completed basic education and 24.7% had completed tertiary education.

Educational attainment of the population 25-64 years old 2013
  Total  Males  Females Capital region Outside capital region
Basic education 27.8% 26.1% 29.6% 22.7% 37.0%
Upper secondary education 36.1% 44.2% 27.9% 35.0% 38.2%
Tertiary education 36.0% 29.6% 42.5% 42.3% 24.7%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%



Younger people have completed more education
In general, younger people had completed more education than older people. In 2013, a total of 23.7% of 30-49 year olds had only completed basic education while 41.4% had completed tertiary education. On the other hand, 45.3% of the 65-74 year old age group had only completed basic education while 18.9% had completed tertiary education.

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 classification of education in the survey was changed in 2003 so data from before 2003 are not totally comparable with data from 2003 and later.

Since 2003 Statistics Iceland has conducted a continuous Labour Force Survey with quarterly results. The sample size is around 3,800 individuals with a response rate of 80-85%. 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 2013 was 15,692. When those who had passed away and those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 15,335 persons. The total number of usable answers was 12,398 which correspond to an 80.8% response rate. All results have been weighted by age and sex.