The employment rate is higher and unemployment lower with higher education. Among 25–64 year olds, 94.2% of people with tertiary education were in the labour market in 2014; 90.2% of people with upper secondary education and 80.4% of people with basic education. Unemployment was 3.6% among tertiary educated individuals that year, 4.0% among those with education at the upper secondary level and 4.7% among people with basic education.

In 2014, persons aged 2564 with tertiary education were for the first time more numerous than people with education at the upper secondary level in Iceland, or 60,800 and 59,300 respectively. The difference is within the confidence limits. People with tertiary education were 37.0% of the population, 2,000 more than in 2013. A total of 43,900 had completed basic education, i.e. shorter education than the upper secondary level, according to the Statistics Iceland Labour Force Survey. That is 26.7% of the population, down by 1,500 persons from the previous year.

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 21.9% of 25-64 year old residents had only completed basic education, while 44.1% had completed tertiary education. Outside of this area 35.3% of residents had only completed basic education and 24.1% had completed tertiary education.

Educational attainment of the population 25–64 years old 2014  
Percent Total  Males  Females Capital region Outside capital region
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Basic education 26.7 25.8 27.6 21.9 35.3
Upper secondary education 36.1 43.1 29.0 33.8 40.2
Tertiary education 37.0 30.8 43.2 44.1 24.1
Not available 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.4

Younger people have completed more education
In general, younger people have completed more education than older people. In 2014, a total of 23.9% of 30–49 year olds had only completed basic education while 41.7% had completed tertiary education. On the other hand, 45.8% 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. 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 around 80%. 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 2014 was 15,761. When those who had passed away and those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 15,390 persons. The total number of usable answers was 12,142 which correspond to a 78.9% response rate. All results have been weighted by age and sex.


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