In 2012 47.100 persons aged 25-64 have at most completed basic education, i.e. shorter education than upper secondary level, according to the Statistics Iceland labour force survey. That is 29.3% of the population of Iceland, down from 34.6% in 2003. A total of 35.8% of inhabitants have 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, 57,600 persons. In addition, 56,300 persons have completed tertiary education, 35.0% of the population. The share of the population with education at the tertiary level has increased since 2003, when they were 27.7% of the population.

Considerable differences are observed in the educational attainment of residents in the capital city region and in other parts of the country. In the capital city region 24.2% of 25-64 year old residents have only completed basic education, while 40.9% have completed tertiary education. Outside of this area 37.8% of residents have only completed basic education and 24.7% have completed tertiary education.

Educational attainment of the population 25-64 years old 2012
  Total  Males  Females Capital region Outside capital region
Basic education 29% 27% 31% 24% 38%
Upper secondary education 36% 44% 28% 35% 37%
Tertiary education 35% 29% 41% 41% 25%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%


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 2012 was 15.631. When those who had passed away and those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 15.284 persons. The total number of usable answers was 12.687 which correspond to an 83.2% response rate. All results have been weighted by age and sex.