In 2017 the yearly total median income for individuals with basic education was 4.1 million ISK, 5.1 million ISK for individuals with secondary education and 7.5 million ISK for those with tertiary education. This is the total income of individuals 16 years and older according to yearly tax returns.

A comparison of the medians for total income, for the age group 25-74 years, shows that yearly total income for individuals with basic education is 4.9 million ISK or 409 thousand ISK per month. Individuals with upper secondary education had 486 thousand ISK per month, a 19% higher total income and those with tertiary education had 633 thousand ISK per month or 55% higher total income than those with basic education.

This is a comparison of the total income of individuals by education, regardless of whether the individuals are on the labour market. Total income is defined as the total income from work, capital income and other income. Other income may include pension payments, benefits and unemployment benefits.

mynd1 Monthly median total income by highest education in the age group 25 to 74 years old. Basic education (1), upper secondary education (2), vocational education at the upper secondary level (21), general education at the upper secondary level (22), tertiary education (3), short-cycle tertiary education (31), Bachelor’s or equivalent level (32), Master’s or equivalent level (33) and doctoral or equivalent level (34).

The median income from work for the period 1990-2017 for individuals aged 25 to 74 shows a considerable difference in income of individuals with basic education and those with higher education. However, the difference has been less in recent years than in the beginning of the period. It should be noted that the proportion of individuals in each educational group has changed over the years, for example the proportion of individuals with basic education was 45% in 1990 but was only 24% in 2017.

Income from work is defined as the median of the sum of wages and other work related income such as car benefits, daily allowance and other benefits, calculated renumeration and income from abroad. It should be noted that this is a simple approach to measure the difference in income between different educational groups. In this comparison other factors that might influence the income, such as working hours, are not considered.

mynd2 Monthly conditional median income from work by highest education for individuals aged 25 to 74. Income is in 2017 prices. Basic education (1), general education at the upper secondary level (2) og tertiary education (3).

About income statistics from tax returns
Statistics Iceland now publishes for the first time information on income for the period 1990 to 2017 by education, sex and age. This comprises total income as well as income from earnings, capital gains and disposable income including other income and taxes. Results are based on individuals’ tax returns. Education is classified according to the international classification of education ISCED 2011. The data are preliminary.

Statistics

Income by education, sex and age 1990-2017