In 2014, 42,100 persons aged 25-64 took part in lifelong learning, either in school or with an instructor, 25.6% of the population. This is an increase of 500 persons from 2013. 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%.

When examining the 16-74 year old age group 70,800 persons attended lifelong learning in 2014, 30.9% of the population, an increase of 1,200 persons from the previous year.

Participation in lifelong learning increases with education
More than one-third of those who have completed tertiary education took part in lifelong learning in 2014, but more than 17% of those who had only completed basic education.

The proportion of women taking part in lifelong learning is higher than among men. In 2014, 30.0% of women aged 25-64 took part in some type of education, including those who attended school, but 21.2% 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.

Participation of 25-64 year olds in lifelong learning by sex and educational attainment in 2014
Percent Total  Males  Females
       
Total  25.6 21.2 30.0
Basic education 17.2 14.9 19.4
Upper secondary education 22.5 18.2 28.8
Tertiary education 34.9 31.0 37.8

People with more education are more likely to participate in lifelong learning outside of school
A total of 28,400 persons took part in lifelong learning outside of school in 2014, e.g. attended courses, lectures or conferences; 17.3% of the 25-64 year old population. Lifelong learning outside of formal education is attended more by those who are more educated. Among those who had completed tertiary education, 26.2% took part in lifelong learning outside of school, 13.6% of those who had completed upper secondary education and 9.9% of those who had only completed basic education.

 


More than 37% of unemployed took part in lifelong learning in 2014
Participation in lifelong learning is greater among the unemployed and among those who are not in the labour force than among employed people. A total of 37.1% of unemployed 16-74 year olds took part in lifelong learning in 2014, 33.4% of those who were not in the labour force, and 29.9% 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 2014. Only in Denmark (31.7%), Switzerland (31.7%) and Sweden (28.9%) 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. 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.

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.

Statistics